The COVID-19 pandemic forced the world to face some unexpected truths. Many of us quickly realized, while quarantined in our living rooms-turned-workspaces, that all the technology in the world could not replace human connection. We missed our neighbors, classmates and colleagues — our sense of community.
Necessity is the mother of invention. With their doors closed to the public, libraries had to find new ways to reach diverse populations and develop meaningful connections during a time of disconnection. Libraries increased digital collections, shifted programs online, and developed curbside services. Staff became Zoom experts and figured out how to turn parking lots into Wi-Fi hotspots. We designed services with the ever-changing needs of our customers in mind.
How did we do it? It was library workers’ knowledge of their communities that enabled them to respond so effectively. Now, as libraries and their staff begin the slow and thoughtful work of reopening, knowledge of the community will be essential to address people’s evolving needs once again.Read more and comment