This next phase of the “new normal” as I so often hear it phrased, means indoor programs are on the horizon. Of course, there are many heroic libraries and librarians that have been doing in-person and indoor programs for many months, or maybe over a year. Indoor programs and relaunching a regular service of programs brings a lot of feelings and emotions to the front of my mind. Now that I am in management, I won’t have to do any of the programs, but I want to ensure that my staff feels safe and comfortable. However, I also want to provide an opportunity for education and fun at the library for youth and their families.
- This is an opportunity to rethink the programs that you have offerered, and try something new!
- An end to the “story time monster” (my definition of library systems and communities that want a million story times at every hour)
- Think about the communities you don’t reach and can try to allocate resources to them
- Start slow, you can always add more programs later (so staff can slowly, and thoughtfully connect back)
- Use some other resources, maybe a projection to screen online stories or mats/parachutes to delinate spaces.
- The pandemic is still happening and safety is a HIGH concern!
- The public is ready for anything and everything and they want it all, yesterday (high demand for normalcy).
- Many systems are short-staffed (more than usual), and may be doing a different variety of jobs right now
- Kids under 12 aren’t vaccinated, how do we keep them and ourselves safe?
- The challenge of planning for the future when everything is unknown (this is always true, but more so with how the pandemic has changed everything)
Other things I am thinking about:
- Does indoor programming mean the end of passive/self-directed programming or virtual programming?
- Should we ask for preregistration for programming?
- Should there be limits on attendance, if so, what should they be?
- Do we need to refresh story time rules and behavior rules?
- Can we offer programming in another room or space?
- Are my staff ready and comfortable with this new directive? If not, how can I help? If so, what are their ideas?
These are just some ideas and questions to ponder as I think about indoor programs and how they might look. If you have been doing indoor programming or are thinking about these decisions, please share best practices in the comments!