When our lives came to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic many turned to their public libraries for resources such as free WI-FI, job assistance, and curbside pickup. Librarians around the world stepped up to the plate and became crucial assets to their communities in a time of need. With life getting back to normal and public libraries resuming their services, how do public libraries welcome their patrons back?
It starts with recognizing that a lot has changed since March 2020. Our public librarians must continue to rethink how their public libraries can best serve their communities. Maintaining successful existing services along with creating new services that engage patrons is a great place to start. Below you will find ideas on how public libraries can welcome their patrons back to the library in creative ways.
Rethink Technology Services For Patrons
The pandemic has forced public libraries to move fast when it comes to meeting the needs of their patrons. Online programming, expanded Wi-Fi access, and easily accessible computer use are all services that should continue to be offered by public libraries. Technology has evolved rapidly over the past year in public libraries and with more people working and playing from home than ever before technology should not be overlooked when it comes to patrons.
Have you heard the term “Library of Things” or LoT? It can be defined as a collection of items for loan that expands the boundaries of traditionally defined library materials. Consider creating a LoT for your patrons, offering tech-savvy, tech toys like VR glasses and drones is a great way to give patrons the opportunity to try and learn more about these technologies without having to purchase them.
Entice Patrons By Sharing On Social Media
Do you have patrons sign up for a library card but then they are never to be heard from again? Promoting your library is the best way to keep your patrons coming back. The easiest way to do this is by creating a social media presence or an email marketing campaign. Both of these options will inform your patrons while making them excited about what your library has to offer.
There are many things that you can do to promote your library. Do you have resources that your patrons can’t get enough of? Share a list of the most popular resources. Does your library have hidden treasures that not many patrons know about? Share how these resources make your library unique and helpful. Building library awareness through these outlets will keep your patrons coming back.
Create New & Exciting Programs
STEAM in public libraries is on the rise across America for kids, teens, and adults. STEAM brings Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math together to create an engaging learning environment. STEAM allows public libraries to offer their patrons programs such as annual embryology where patrons get to watch the progress of eggs hatching. Monthly STEAM challenges where patrons gather and work together to try and figure out the task at hand. Plus, scientist programs where specialists are brought into the library to share topics related to their fields.
STEAM is a great way to create fun, engaging programs. Do you offer any STEAM programs? Now is the time!