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Public Library Adaptations
COVID-19 came and changed the way we were living, forcing all of us around the world to adapt in several aspects of our own lives. The digital world has shown that it is hard, mainly for businesses, to survive without it.
Public libraries, which by some, can sometimes be viewed as outdated, have shown everyone exactly the opposite. They adapted their services in order to serve their community as always and they are doing a great job!
In this blog, some initiatives from public libraries will be shared but also services and products that might be useful during these unstable times.
Kota Government Public Library responds to COVID-19
The Kota Government Public Library responds to COVID-19 through its “Knowledge at your Doorstep” Initiative on WhatsApp.
Complete lock down measures have restricted all persons to their homes. The public started using social media over their smart phones. The circulation of news related to COVID-19 was overwhelming and threatened to raise the level of anxiety and tension people were feeling. Thereafter IFLA released an advisory to stop the spread of unauthorized news and fake news. Information can be found at https://www.ifla.org/covid-19-and-libraries.
Dr. Deepak Srivastava, a divisional librarian at Divisional Public Library in Kota Rajasthan, India, took an initiative by creating a WhatsApp group called “KNOWLEDGE AT YOUR DOORSTEP.” Keeping in mind the concept of “bibliotherapy” this group connects people across all age groups to have access to digital content in the form of e-books and e-journals. To minimize the effect of the digital divide, books and reading material are being provided in PDF format. One can send their name, contact number, email address and other details to connect with this WhatsApp group: 9694783261.
In the digital collection, members can find e-newspapers such Financial Express, Indian Express and The Economic Times, adults e-books from Alchemist, Godan and Gaban and there are also e-books for children written by Champak, Lotpot and Abhiman. Students preparing for exams have access to tab links for 56 books of important subjects; e-resources for students who are self-learning are also available such as Swayam Prabha (For Science Students), Consortium for Education Communication (CEC), and National Digital Library.
There are also 10 websites for the following topics: career building, improving technical skills, free online education, and interview preparation—providing every user multiple sources to choose from. They are always available to provide books for regular readers as per their interest.
Self-Service Printing Solution
Princh is a user-friendly printing solution that allows library visitors to serve themselves by easily printing and paying from their own devices (phones, tablets and laptops) without requiring interaction with library staff (maintaining social distance practices). They also have access to multiple options for payment: Bank cards, PayPal or mobile apps.
Currently, Princh is helping libraries open safely or provide curbside services during COVID-19, because it can help protect both staff and visitors by:
- Reducing physical interaction
- Eliminating manual over-the-counter payments
- Reducing the use of public computers
This time has been challenging in many ways, and particularly for libraries and library staff. The library has always been a safe space where every individual is welcome to participate in groups, seek knowledge and develop themselves. Princh is one of the tools libraries can use to provide services to the public while still ensuring their facilities remain a safe place for all.
Food Banks at Toronto Public Library Branches
Staff members at the Toronto Public Library knew from the beginning of this pandemic that members of their communities needed their help, specifically because many of them were laid-off or furloughed. As public libraries are always ready to help their communities, they didn’t want to stop, so they decided to become food banks.
Also, these libraries became aware of the situation due to the fact that the Daily Bread Food Banks reported their clients increased by 53%. Everyday library staff packed between 500 and 600 bags of food, with the help of donations.
Public WIFI at Arizona Libraries
As COVID-19 kept everyone at home including students, who had to have their lessons at home, it created an issue for households without WIFI. The State of Arizona partnered with Cisco to install new external wireless access points at local libraries, to provide this vital service in a time where having internet access was essential to learning.
This initiative allowed students to access reliable internet from outside the libraries´ buildings, helping to facilitate distance learning. Of course, this initiative was not only for students, but also for anyone and everyone needing access to online resources.
Public libraries are not just spaces where people can pick up books, they do so much more than that, offering essential services to their community. During the COVID-19 situation, they adapted their services to maintain contact with their visitors in the best way possible, through different initiatives, only a few of which we have covered in this post: Services to help libraries during and after COVID-19 and Services to help libraries during and after COVID-19 (Part 2).
We will be back next week with another interesting article from the library world!
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