Gone Virtual: Closed Buildings, Opened Minds

Date
2020-12-04
Authors
Todd, Danielle
Bengston, Katherine
Young, Jennifer Kauʻi
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The two-month closure of the Hawaiʻi State Public Library System’s 51 branches was a time of uncertainty and stress, but also growth. The COVID-19 pandemic challenged librarians to reconsider public service, and how community and staff connections are made and strengthened. This presentation focuses on one major area of long-term change for HSPLS: the creation of the Virtual Programming Team and its positive impact on how HPSLS staff collaborate, interact and form longstanding professional relationships that benefit the system’s health. Before the closure, HSPLS staff relied on in-house programming and largely sourced program content from libraries’ immediate communities and staff. The closure changed the traditional programming landscape by forcing HSPLS staff to move communication to virtual forums. Through the Teams’ VPT forum, librarians discovered an easy way to reach outside of their immediate circles, trade ideas and maximize content and output in a way that was not prioritized or necessary in the previous model. This resulted in a strong, innovative and imaginative team with a greater versatility of content. It also resulted in fresh perspectives and stronger bonds between staff. This presentation will take you behind-the-scenes, starting back in March 2020 when the Virtual Programming Team first convened. We will show you how we created this service area from scratch, often repurposing personal technology and materials in our homes to bring programming to life. The three presenters represent different areas of public librarianship, on three different islands, and took on three different roles within the team: Danielle as Team Lead, Katherine as Storytime at Home Guru, and Kauʻi as HSPLS Creates Champion. By focusing on our strengths and learning from each other the virtual programming team was able to establish professional relationships and services for our patrons that would not have existed pre-COVID.
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Public libraries, COVID-19 (Disease)--Social aspects
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24 slides
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