Library Responses to COVID-19: What I Observed

The COVID-19 pandemic has been quite disruptive to many aspects of our lives. As we all struggle to manage the new reality, our libraries are also doing their best to continue providing services to their communities during this trying time. I have been following library responses to the COVID-19 crisis on social media and here are some of my observations and experiences.

  • American Library Association (ALA)’s Pandemic Preparedness page has a lot of great resources that could help libraries better understand how to respond to the crisis.
    ala
  • Libraries establish specific pages that list COVID-19 related resources that are reliable and trustworthy, such as the one from Portland State University Library.
    portland
  • A creative librarian from Hoover Library at McDaniel College put on book displays in his/her own home, reminding people that these books are all available through the library’s eBook collection.
    hoover
    (image source: Hoover Library’s FaceBook Page)
  • Storytimes have gone virtual! A police officer from Puyallup, WA, a frequent guest at Puyallup Public Library’s storytime, recorded a virtual one for kids.
    puyallup
    (image source: Puyallup Police Department FaceBook Page)
  • Libraries’ 3D printers have new uses now – they can print face shields for health care providers.
    toronto
    (image source: blogto.com)
  • Although the physical location is closed, some libraries still continue to provide curbside delivery services to help patrons check out materials. Woburn Library even made TikTok video to promote this service to their community!
    woburn
    (image source: Woburn Public Library FaceBook Page)
  • Libraries are considering turning bookmobiles into free WiFi trucks – what a thoughtful idea!
    vice
    (image source: vice.com)

Despite all the challenges the pandemic has posed, it does provide opportunities for libraries to highlight their wonderful online resources. My local library, San Jose Public Library, has done a fantastic job in that regard. Since the closure of the library building three weeks ago, they have been sending a weekly email to stay in touch with everybody and encourage people to use their online resources.

Week 1, an email containing Frequently Asked Questions that really helped keeping us informed and putting our minds at ease. It’s a relief to know that all of our book will be automatically renewed till after the library reopens.

week1

Week 2, an email emphasizing SJPL’s online sources specifically oriented to K-12 kids and educators, such as tutor.com and a bunch of EBSCO databases.

week2

Week 3, an email reminding us that if we don’t have a library card already, we can apply for an eLibrary Card online, so that we can freely use the library’s online resources.

week3

The most recent week, an email giving us a summary about how people are actively using the library’s online services such as virtual reference, which has been extended to 24/7, and participating the Spring into Reading program, an program that encourages people to use the library’s eBooks and other eResources.

week4

These emails always bring a smile to my face. 🙂

Our libraries and librarians are the best!

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