With COVID numbers decreasing, the rollout of vaccines and the weather getting better it can seem like a good time to say goodbye to your camcorder and video editing. I am here to convince you otherwise. Virtual programming should not go anywhere. It is accessible, necessary and important for 21st century libraries.
1. We Already Know How to Do It
Half the barrier for virtual programming in “the before” was not having the proper tools. Think about all the time and money your library has probably invested into virtual programming and how much you have grown since a year ago. Why throw away all of that valuable knowledge?
2. Virtual Programming is Accessible
Virtual programming allows individuals who cannot access the library attend programs, people who need to be able to pause something or add subtitles watch at their own pace, and reaches people outside of your geographic zone. The reach goes above and beyond former programming plans.
3. There is a “New Slate” for Programming Plans at Libraries
It can be easy to say your library is going back to “normal” or a “pre-covid” schedule. However is that what your community needs? Will you ever get the same numbers as before? Now is the time to reevaluate and to make a new schedule that can have a mix of in-person, virtual and hybrid programs.
4. Copyright Issues Can Be Dealt With
Copyright is scary and hard and easy to run away from. Many permissions expire at the end of June. However I urge you to reach out to individual publishers and ask for an indefinite time frame, to use public domain stories and rhymes and to not give up. We can keep doing this. And keep following the rules.
5. Hybrid is a Possibility
I know hybrid programs can seem very intimidating, however can be a very beneficial way to reach patrons ready to come back and patrons staying at home. This could include live streaming a program, or simply recording it and playing later. It’s worth taking a look at the possibilities.
I urge you to not put your microphones away just yet and keep plugging your virtual programs.
If you haven’t taken a look at the ALSC Virtual Storytime Resources Guide http://www.ala.org/alsc/virtual-storytime-services-resource-guide yet, do so now. It’s worth it.
This post meets ALSC Competency III: Programming Skills.