Blogger Kaitlin Frick

To-Go Library Services

How has your library been handling programming in the time of COVID? At Darien, most of what we do – from storytimes to vendor programming – has gone virtual. But as the months wear on, we’ve come to realize that patrons (much like their hard-working librarians) are pretty burnt out on technology. So last month when we reopened to the public, the Youth Services Team rolled out a few fresh ideas for engaging with our community.

Photo features LEGO Challenge Kits and Grab & Go Craft Bags, with a sign explaining the LEGO Challenge Kits.
LEGO Challenge Kits and Grab & Go Craft Bags

First up, we decided to try out grab-and-go book bundles (an idea we’d been considering pre-quarantine, as a way to aid caregivers in finding multiple books on a particular theme/subject). With some great marketing ideas from our Children’s Program Coordinator and the Assistant Head of Teen Services (who jointly thought up the concept of a take-out menu) and a spreadsheet of book recommendations from yours truly, we were ready to go.

Table covered with labelled bags. Sign above table says, “Grab and Go: Take a mystery bag home, no thinking required.” Each bag is filled with 4-5 books on a particular theme.
Take-Out Book Bundles

Each bundle contains 4-5 books on a particular topic or within a genre – for instance, one bag contains first day of school picture books – and each menu showcases a total of 16 possible bundles. Currently, book bundle “menus” are rotated out twice a month, so ideally the selection is new once a patron returns to select another bundle.

Photo of a menu, featuring book lists broken into preschool and school-age columns. Each list matches a bundle with 4-5 books inside that caregivers can take home.
Take-Out Book Bundle Menu

Shortly after rolling out these book bundles, our Children’s Program Coordinator (along with another Children’s Librarian and with a lot of part-time assistance) put together a series of grab & go crafts, LEGO Challenge Kits, and TEA (Technology, Engineering and Art) Room to-go kits, all three of which have been flying out of the library.

A photo of grab & go craft bag selection, featuring a sign with information for caregivers and bags full of supplies for various crafts and engineering activities.
A selection of Grab & Go Craft Bags and TEA Room To-Go Kits

While we don’t have an exact number for each respective type of bag (though we have begun tracking these more carefully, paying particular attention to the popularity of each book bag theme), over 100 book bundles and somewhere around 500 craft, TEA Room, and LEGO kits have gone out since we reopened just over a month ago, making this by far our most popular COVID programming initiative. In fact, our Adult Readers’ Advisory Services Team saw the demand for our book bundles and quickly adapted a take-out menu of their own.

This post addresses the following ALSC Core Competencies: I. Commitment to Client Group and III. Programming Skills.

6 comments

  1. Susan

    I really like the ideas presented in this post Kaitlin. They will be really appreciated by all public library services moving into the phone and loan / click and collect arena and finding new ways to suggest reading and other items while people are unable to physically enter the library. I will be sharing them with my library service.

  2. Krista

    We have also been rolling similar ideas around. Appreciate seeing how you implemented these to-go services.

  3. DAWN

    what a great idea! do you have ask for the LEGOs and other materials in your activity/craft kits back? Would you mind sharing some of the specifics for the other kits you created, particularly those around STEM/STEAM?

    thanks

    1. Kaitlin Frick Post author

      Hi Dawn! If you’d like to email me at kfrick@darienlibrary.org, I’ll pass your question along to our Children’s Programming Coordinator, as she is the person who put these bags together.

  4. Erin

    Can you give a little more information about the craft bags?

    1. Kaitlin Frick Post author

      Hi Erin! If you’d like to email me at kfrick@darienlibrary.org, I’ll pass your question along to our Children’s Programming Coordinator, as she is the person who put these bags together.

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