Monthly Archives: June 2021

The Best Pieces from Public Libraries Section Webinar

Many of us, myself included, have a tough time coping with the corona crisis. Sometimes however, this crisis also presents us with possibilities and opportunities that we have not thought before. The midterm webinars is such an example.

Between 12-15 April the Literacy and Reading and Public Libraries Sections jointed offered mid-term webinar program offered. You can see all the webinars here.

Normally we would have our mid-term meeting with our section, in my case, the Public Libraries Section and share our knowledge and experiences there with each other. But with the webinars we were able to share this much broader, with more than 1000 participants from over 40 countries as it turns out. Also, this time we had an opportunity to offer a webinar in a different language. Thanks to my colleague in the Public Libraries Section, Adriana Cybele Ferrari, we were able to provide a separate webinar in Portuguese, which was very well received. In our section we try to take steps in achieving the IFLA strategy. These webinar series are a good example how we inspire by sharing knowledge and how we can connect with the field.

I was a co-facilitator at the Public Library Innovations in COVID and enjoyed sharing very different experiences from colleagues around the world. You can find the recording of the webinar here.

Casey and Amanda presented their tutor bus, where they reached kids that were not able to go to school on the off days. You can find their presentation here. A great way to go out and connect to community.

Whitney presented how she connected with elderly people trough their elders check-in calls. A great way for a public library to show how they can make a difference in people’s lives. You can find her presentation here  Elder Calls Project Presentation.

Binoy from India explained how his library used social media to reach a huge number of citizens and creating a great number of products as a result. Great to see how a small team of one, can make a huge impact. You can find his presentation here.

Catharina told us about innovations and a different way of working in her public library in Sweden. Her library reacted to the pandemic with a more flexible and agile way of working. You can find her presentation here


At the end we had some great questions from the participants. I enjoyed it very much and hope we can host a webinar like this soon.

Sander van Kempen

Member of SC Public Libraries

A Toast to Resilience: Bringing Patrons Back After the Pandemic

A year ago this month, we had just opened Curbside Concierge services, and we were celebrating what felt like a victory to us: circulated physical books for the first time since early March. The staff at the Chattanooga Public Library stepped up to the challenge presented by COVID-19. We started delivering virtual programs and services within a week of closing our doors, and we took advantage of our empty buildings to advance major capital projects. Though we had no idea when we would come out on the other side of things, we focused on what we could accomplish in the short-term. 

This June, however, we are looking many months ahead. And the future couldn’t look brighter. We started the month off with our first in-person program in nearly 15 months, and while we limited occupancy and held the event outside, we were not dipping our toes into the waters. We went into our next reopening phase with a cannonball of a splash: a wine tasting put on by our newest adult program, Curiosity Club, sponsored by our Friends of the Chattanooga Public Library and community partners who continued to support our mission throughout the last year. 

It may come as no surprise that the wine tasting was a big success, with overwhelmingly positive feedback from all who attended. But for us, after more than a year of learning how to do things differently, our focus was on what we could learn from this experience. What does an in-person program look like now? Do programs need to be a hybrid of in-person and virtual? How can we leverage events like these to attract more sponsorships through our Friends? 

As we move into our next fiscal year, we have many ambitious goals to achieve that require creative thinking, collaboration, and funding. What we did during the pandemic and what we’re doing now coming out of it, everything we do must be forward thinking. We’ve made our buildings more equitable with ADA compliance upgrades, and we’ve developed new relationships with diverse community partners. We’re seeking long-term program sponsors that will allow us to consistently offer quality programs and diverse services our community needs. 

The pandemic showed us the value of unconventional thinking, of hiring staff with unique skill sets, of investing in tools and technology that allow us to pivot quickly. It seems fitting that our first in-person program was a wine event because I definitely feel like toasting. Here’s to the ever changing, but always impactful public library! 

Corinne Hill, Executive Director Chattanooga Public Library