There are many public libraries across the United States closed to the public similar to several schools, businesses, and government offices. It looks like this trend will continue for a foreseeable future to slow down the spread of coronavirus. This also means the librarians from the country are working overtime to identify the problems and innovate the best methods to keep their operations going and serve their patrons.
They are using many methods such as raised e-book and audiobook access, live streaming, and hosting book discussions across social media. These are only some of the methods that come to mind. Online services are not the only methods the librarians are using during the coronavirus crisis. Some library directors are saying that they will increase their online presence and their outreach on social media. However, in many cases, there is no substitute for the good old paperbacks.
But the big question is how to get the library book into the hands of the patrons while still supporting the public health containment efforts and maintaining social distance. Some librarians are offering home delivery as the library staff delivers the books to the stuck at home residents. But there are some public health concerns raised during the deliveries so this service is executed intermittently at the moment. Although the home delivery service continues to deliver to the assisted living centers even they have started placing restrictions on the people that could come in. As there is possible contamination, there is a concern raised for sending library employees to the homes of patrons.
Curbside Pickup Programs
Some librarians are arranging a curbside pickup where the patrons will collect the books they have ordered via email or in some other way. The library staff will pack them and have them ready for the patrons at the door. There is no personal contact during this kind of service. This option is being implemented for the first time by San Diego Public Library but was ordered to halt it as the California state government ordered people to shelter in a place. But some other libraries in Idaho and Alabama were using the curbside program before the outbreak and are continuing with it.
Books by Mail
There is another option for the coronavirus crisis and that is books-by-mail which is used by many libraries already especially in the rural areas. This option is used by people living far away from the library and facing problems to visit it regularly. It is also used by people who are suffering from medical conditions or physical disabilities that prevent them from visiting the library normally. Although there is a problem with this. This service is used by seniors and medically unfit people and this provides an opportunity for the coronavirus to spread by using the mail as a medium.
Many librarians and their employees are contemplating various options to find the best ways of extending their services to the people during this unusual time. The professional team of Education Research Partners offers services that can assist libraries and media centers in design and planning.
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