At the Library 5/27/21
By Bryna Walker
“Public Libraries Pivot”
In a recent survey by the Public Library Association (PLA), and ALA division, a survey was given to public libraries across the country as to how they had to change when the pandemic came upon us and we were required to lock their doors. 99% of respondents confirmed that when libraries had closed, most of them had extended online renewal policies, expanded online checkout services, and added virtual programming. Many libraries distributed such materials as free craft supplies and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) kits, supported distance learning, and significantly boosted their technology to offer Wi-fi hotspots and extending Wi-fi to parking lots (ALA 2021).
At the Washington Public Library we have for the past year been doing this and more. We are proud to say we never really “closed.” We became virtual and led creative programs via Zoom such as story times, cooking demos, technology virtual help, Washington Writers Workshop, Sticks and Strings among a few. We already had wi-fi available 24 hours a day outside of the library. We also added three new hotspots for circulation. We distributed books via curbside and that will continue for the foreseeable future.
Now, that our doors our open, we will continue all that we have learned this year about helping to equate the digital divide. We will continue adding technology to support learning. We will also continue to offer educational and job resources through our databases called Brainfuse and Workforce Development. If you ever need a community resource, we have brochures with all of these but never hesitate to call the library with any questions. We are here for you!!