While most libraries across the country have closed their buildings to the public in the interest of community health and safety, they are open for business online, providing the virtual services and digital content their communities need now more than ever. Many libraries have expanded their access to digital content, found innovative ways to continue their programming virtually, or transformed their physical spaces into safe havens.
So in honor of National Library Week (April 19 - 25, 2020), we decided that there's no better way to celebrate than by shining a light on the courageous and innovative work our colleagues around the country are doing during this unprecedented time.
Because “Eureka” Moments Happen Here
When a surgeon from Atrium Health emailed the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library asking about their 3D printer capacity, they quickly jumped into action.
Using a design from a local doctor, she was seeking community help in printing materials to assemble face shields urgently needed in area hospitals.
With libraries closed and the city sheltering in place, 3D printers were quickly moved from Library makerspaces to staff members’ homes, and round-the-clock production began immediately. Read More
Because More Than A Quarter of U.S. Households Don’t Have a Computer with An Internet Connection
Knowing that many people in their community relied on the library for internet access, the Williamsburg Regional Library (VA) equipped cargo vans with traveling hotspots to meet demand while their buildings are closed to the public.
Library director Betsy Fowler stated “In these uncertain times, it’s critical that everyone in our community has access to vital government resources from the Social Security Administration, the Virginia Employment Commission, the census, and many others.” Read More
Because Libraries Bring People Together Even When We Have to Stay Apart
“As people worldwide adapt to strict “stay home” orders meant to stem the spread of COVID-19, Camas Public Library (WA) staff have established a call center to connect those in need of medicine or grocery pickups — or even just a friendly voice on the other end of the phone line — with volunteers willing to help.
“It’s almost like an old-fashioned bulletin board,” said Camas Library Director Connie Urquhart of the library’s new call center. “There are so many people out there who want to help … with this system, they can volunteer to pick up groceries, pick up medicine or just be somebody to talk to on the phone.” Read More
Because Transformation is Essential to the Communities We Serve
With an injection of state funding and local ingenuity, the downtown Spokane Public Library (WA) opened as a temporary shelter for adults experiencing homelessness on to support the region’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Even during an emergency like we’re experiencing right now, we want to make sure that our vulnerable population has access to resources and the services that they’re used to getting, but also some of them may be connected for the very first time,” said Mayor Nadine Woodward. Read More
Because Learning Can Happen Anytime, Anywhere
In these anxious times of social distancing, libraries and communities are finding new ways to learn, create and share. Evanston Public Library (IL) is working with residents to collect recipes and create the Cozy Evanston Community Cookbook. When complete, the cookbook will be made freely available online with a printed copy to be available at the Library for the historical record. Read More
Because Libraries are Always Here for You
St. Louis County Library has partnered with Operation Food Search and the St. Louis Area Diaper Bank to provide drive-thru food and diaper pick-up for families. Located in the heart of their communities, participating branches provide two shelf-stable breakfasts and two lunches three days a week, with diaper pick-up available once a week. Read More
Because Punctuation Without Imagination Makes a Sentence, Not a Story
Encouraging residents to use their voice, Spartanburg County Library is assembling a time capsule that tells the story of how the pandemic is impacting individuals, families and the community at large.
This shared experience creates an opportunity for residents to submit photos, drawings, physical creations - think Play-Doh, Legos, knitting, etc., creative "fiction" writing or not so creative "non-fiction" writing, video, or audio files to commemorate this unprecedented time. Read More