If you had asked me in January what new skill I was looking forward to mastering I would not have answered Zoom! But fast forward a few months and the King County Library System’s last open day due to COVID-19 was March 13.
After evaluating our options, we created a 10 person Zoom team to produce central programming. Almost 8 weeks later, here are the best practices we’ve adopted.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Shifting your programming online is an iterative process! We have one-stop where staff can find everything they need to know.
- Live Programming: Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Facebook Live, Conference Calls
- Recorded Programming: YouTube and our website
- Best Practices
Shared Central Calendar
With 50 branches used to only looking at their calendar, we needed to pivot to a more central approach. We want to offer story times, but we don’t want to have similar programs competing against one another. When staff submits a request, they identify 3 time slots that work for their expected audience.
- We will not schedule more than 3 programs at the same time.
- We will not schedule more than 5 programs per audience each day.
Submitting a Zoom Request
Program Librarians work with their Librarian Services Manager on program ideas. Once an idea is approved, they submit a Web Help Desk ticket that includes all the program details. I check the request against the calendar and select the date. Program details are shared with the Zoom Producers on Microsoft Teams. Once it’s claimed I email the Program Librarian and the Zoom Producer an introduction.
What Does a Zoom Producer Do?
- Schedules the program in Zoom and sends the link to the Program Librarian.
- Runs a short test program with the Program Librarian and any presenters. Is audio/video/lighting effective? Test the pacing, review the event flow. We had been running a training session for each event but this is proving to be too time-consuming. Starting next week we’ll be running weekly webinar and meeting training sessions.
- Launches and runs Zoom aspects of the live program.
- Manages chat (meeting) or Q&A (webinar) to assist branch staff.
- Sends the number of unique participants after the event.
But What About Zoomboming?
- We create a unique meeting ID for each program, even events in a series.
- The meeting link is not included in our online calendar. There is a deadline for patrons to register for the event through BiblioEvents.
- The Program Librarian emails the event link before the event.
- Find more tips in the Meeting Safety section of the May 20 Security Report.
Looking for more details?
Please contact me and I’d be happy to share the current version of our workflow.
Zoom allows libraries to “[d]eliver programs outside or inside the library to meet users where they are, addressing community and educational needs, including those of unserved and underserved populations.” (ALSC Competency III.7)
Writing this post for the Public Awareness Committee is Angela Nolet. She is an Online Library Services Librarian at King County Library System. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.