I don’t know about you, but I had plans to do some things over the past three months that just haven’t happened. Library-related, my plans involved checking out cookbooks and making use of my new kitchen with a gas range (!!!) and taking my one-year-old to storytime. Maybe your library plans included your first-ever comics festival and the closing of the library meant it went online or didn’t happen at all. Maybe on the day you were supposed to have a festival, you were delivering books to people’s cars and wondering how long the virus lives on car door handles. Maybe you were furloughed but are already planning on how you will help change your service offerings – just in case.
No matter your experience, you, your library, and your services have changed. You’re figuring out how to get craft kits to the kids you used to see on your bookmobile route; you’re providing resume help virtually; and you’re asking each patron for their email address for that new newsletter.
Judging from what I’ve seen online (like this story in The Atlantic), I’m not the only one impressed by how libraries are responding to the needs of their community. I have some secret information that The Atlantic doesn’t know about how libraries are responding.
Library staff will be coming back to their reopened buildings with more skills than ever in their back pockets. We know this because we’ve seen views of recordings of NoveList webinars go up an astronomical amount. Library staff around the country are making sure they are up to speed with their genre studies using the Crash Courses NoveList has been putting on with LibraryReads. We’ve had libraries reach out to us following webinars on getting their email newsletters up and running (more important than ever!) and promoting online resources that their community needs right now. And it’s never too early or too late to start promoting your library all day, all year long. Looking for more webinars? You can find all the ones NoveList has hosted on our blog. And don’t forget to sign up for NoveList News to learn about new ones.
These new skills will be needed because libraries are re-opening to different times and in different ways, including curbside pickup, quarantined returns, and social distancing while at the circ desk. The need for collection promotion and marketing is greater than ever. Libraries have resources and their community may not feel comfortable coming into the building to learn about them. Email newsletters, social posts, outreach – it all matters right now. And it will matter more when budget time rolls around. If your library isn’t telling your story of impact, who is?
The IMLS recognized this need for new skills with its new grant opportunity. Libraries support positive socio-economic change and they can support it better with more staff training and more digital engagement. If your library can’t get people into the building, get them using your resources online and from home.
Looking for more professional development for your staff than the many webinars out there? Maybe something more structured and tailored to the needs of your library and your community? Need to learn how to reach patrons in a socially distanced society? NoveList experts are available! Our suite of offerings can easily be adapted for remote training to help prepare your staff for the next stage in supporting your community. Ask us how to make it happen.