Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Virtual Summer Reading 2021

cartoon image of child with vr goggles on on a solar system background

Summer Reading Virtual Once More

So, for most of us, summer reading 2021 will be virtual once more. For some, it meant outsourcing virtual programming, with others flipping coins to see who’d go in front of the green screen. But overall, this is the future of public library programming. Need some help? Read on, fellow green screeners!

Best Practices

Understand that best practices are still being established, and represents an evolving skillset.  We are understanding the platforms and their capabilities as we go along.  When it comes to producing content, though, many standard best practices for streaming and broadcast apply. 

Appears to be a combo of equipment and broadcast practices broadly applicable to streaming in general: Streamer and moderator best practices Consistency with schedule Marketing and promo Equipment and software It’s a communication tool, not a vault Organization is key Library specific recommendation is to connect with local servers to promote programs Don’t @everyone Keep posting, keep it active Create a welcoming environment 
Parents' Ultimate Guide to Twitch | Common Sense Media
A solid infrastructure for Discord | - A Ubisoft company


Discord; Discord Nitro – great for teen programming online (Apple and Android compatible apps avail). 

Pros and Cons:

  • Groups are limited to up to 10 users at a time 
  • Can also be used as an effective tool for professional communication or communication within a library.  Set up servers for staff on certain projects or depts.; use for interdepartmental communication 
  • Gives you the ability to make a server that you can invite participants to 
  • Within the server, the creator can assign people roles and create limits and boundaries 
  • Create text and voice chat channels 
  • Quick, informal conversation organized into text channels 
  • Enables small group voice chat 
  • Ideal for small-group discussion 
  • Originally created by gamers so they could chat while playing team games 
  • Text-based sharing 
  • More privacy than many other social media platforms 
  • Program ideas include role-playing games and digital escape rooms 
  • Teen advisory council meetings 
  • Teen writer’s workshop 
  • MST3K-type programming: play a B-movie and heckle it in realtime 

Public Libraries using Discord:


  • Livestreaming platform 
  • Allows audience to interact with the stream host via live chat 
  • Over half of Twitch users are aged 24 and up 
  • Great for gaming, e-sports, online workshops, art programs, book clubs and guest speakers 
  • Not just a performance space – allows for interaction with the performer 
  • Can be used for language learning, lectures, coding demos, and even office hours 

More Platforms!

  • Facebook Live 
  • Instagram 
  • Instagram Stories 
  • Zoom 
  • GoToMeeting 
  • YouTube 

Evaluation & Suggestion of Equipment


  • Minimum requirements: broadband internet access, computer or device with integrated webcam and microphone 
  • More elaborate setups can include extra webcams, a microphone, lights and more 
  • Basic Twitch Studio (does not need encoder) or for more elaborate layouts an encoder such as OBS 
  • Mobile app with streaming capability available for smartphones 


  • Computer with video or microphone.  Or smartphone 

Direction for local and or System-wide Programming

Local programming: 

  • Craft instructions, crafting videos, or crafting ideas 
  • Crafting or experiments using household objects 
  • Online craft hangout – patrons knit, crochet, quilt, etc, while socializing online 
  • Online trivia nights – Kahoot can be utilized to create/host live trivia nights 
  • Record DIY programs from your kitchen
  • Greener cleaners 
  • Natural deodorants 
  • Cooking 
Maitland Public Library rocks the cooking in the library world!
  • Flower arranging 
  • Organize an online poetry reading, open mic or poetry slam 
  • Preschool, toddler and hora de cuento en familia (historieta) storytimes 
Some dork named Jonathan Dolce doing an online storytime
  • Live readers advisory – all ages 
  • Highlight digital collections (Hoopla, Overdrive) 
  • Online reading challenge group(s) – tip: explore new genres and authors each month 
  • Virtual painting (guided) class


Specifically system-wide

  • Virtual counseling session with a college and local pediatrician(s), MDs concerning COVID or other topics 
  • Mayoral candidate debate
  • Synchronous online book clubs – think also for events, such as Big Read, or mirroring Reese Witherspoon’s or Oprah’s book clubs 
  • Recruit local businesses or community members to create DIY videos for the library 
  • Ask local organizations to co-host a webinar/online event on important community topics 
  • Celebrate poetry month online 
  • Discussion leader posts a question that people respond to online via Facebook, or other social media platform(s) 
  • Pinterest page highlighting patrons submitted photos of creative projects 
  • Virtual reference and or call center 
  • Google Chat can be used to coordinate answering questions posed by viewers 
  • Post about your state poet laureate 
  • Brief YouTube tutorials highlighting e-resources 
  • Technology classes 
  • Workforce readiness classes 
  • Writing cover letters, resumes 
  • Job searching 
  • Online job applications 
  • Practice interviews 


  1. Lina Crowell

    Wow, so many good ideas! Before everything shut down last year we were getting ready to launch sensory storytime, which of course has been on hold since last March. I like the idea of the sensory backpacks and will add them to our collection of activity kits. Thank-you for sharing such great ideas!

  2. Jonathan Dolce

    So happy I could help inspire you! This is still a work in progress, is it not?

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