Page 3 - - Lincoln 55 Plus Seniors Paper
P. 3

Our Libraries and You during the Pandemic - by Gail McNair

             How do I love thee?   Let        low-income                                           many lost their     of value to you, it’s probably
          me count the ways!   These          individuals with-                                    only access to      important to others as well.
          aren’t typically phrases used       out many                                             the internet.          The secret to future suc-
          when thinking about Libraries,      options, but it’s                                    Luckily in          cess, whether for our libraries
          but these unusual times have        just not feasible                                    Lincoln, the        or for us as patrons, is
          provided an opportunity for all     this year due to                                     access points       Flexibility.  The pandemic has
          of us time to review what’s         the close con-                                       are inside the      created a very positive cus-
          important to us!   Family and       tact for long                                        buildings, but      tomer service experience for
          friends are always on the top       periods of time.                                     often can be        patrons.   Concierge service
          of our lists, but during a pan-        There has                                         accessed 24/7       has been especially appreciat-
          demic when our favorites            been no limit to                                     in our parking      ed by seniors, persons with
          weren’t available to us, new        the imagination                                      lots, close to      disabilities, commuters, and
          options rose to the top!            of library staff                                     the buildings.      young parents.   It remains to
          Libraries have been important       on what they                                         It’s definitely     be seen if it will be feasible to
          to a lot for years.   However,      have been able                                       not the ideal,      maintain this level of personal
          many of us have come to real-       to bring to our                                      but it certainly    service, as Libraries return to
          ize that life is definitely         patrons virtually                                    provides oppor-     normal activity and work-loads.
          enhanced because of the             and they are                                         tunities – out-     Library staff continues to eval-
          options provided by our public      now looking to the future, as        side the “box….  or building!”      uate services, as well as the
          libraries!                          this is only the beginning of the  Libraries have proven to be           patron response, and working
             The pandemic has brought         options that will be available to    essential to us individually and    together we will be able to
          out the best in our Libraries, as  all of us with our library card!      our community.  We need our         expand library usage and build
          they have been there to serve       Many patrons have indicated          libraries open.   We need to        on services provided. The pan-
          us, in or out of the buildings!     that now that they have been         support distance learning and       demic has illustrated the need
          Libraries are in a good position    “forced to learn” how to do it,      telework to expand ur econom-       for adaptability, which will only
          to help during the pandemic,        they will never stop.   The old      ic recovery services for impact-    grow as our world returns to
          as they are one of the top          adage – “let our fingers do the      ed business and workers.  We        the new normal.
          trusted sources of information,     walking” – used to apply to the      need to advance digital inclu-         Library staff has no way of
          especially for those of us in the  phone, now it also is part of         sion and facilitate connectivity,   knowing whether the library of
          older population.                   our library experience.              as well as keeping everyone,        2019 will return in 2021 or 22.
             The staff has worked dili-          Libraries are now really con-     employees and patrons, safe!           It’s probably a mistake to
          gently to provide library service  venient!   Through Zoom,                                                       think that we will return to
          to seniors, the most vulnerable     library programs, such as                                                     the pre-2020 world, but
          population throughout the           Lunch at the Library                                                          we have the capacity to
          world that was affected by the      have expanded beyond                                                          make it an even better
          virus.  According to the Center     the walls, enabling the                                                       world.   We have all
          for Disease Control (CDC), 8        libraries to invite authors                                                   endured a lot and have
          out of 10 deaths related to         throughout the Nebraska                                                       survived!   Libraries will
          COVID-19 are individuals 65         and the U.S. to take part                                                     continue to play an essen-
          years and older.                    in the presentations.                                                         tial role in our society and
             Libraries have been adapt-       Zoom has also enabled                                                         each one of us is impor-
          ing and evolving over the past      patrons to attend library                                                     tant to the rebuild.  As
          few decades to meet patron          programs for the first                                                        patrons, our needs have
          needs and to adapt to technol-      time, because they could                                                      changed because of the
          ogy upgrades, and the pan-          watch from home.                                                              new skills we have
          demic has forced a faster           FaceBook and social                                                           learned and actually enjoy
          change.  Our Libraries get          medial has provided the                                                       using.  As we go forward
          calls daily from people wanting     opportunity to interact                                                       with returned freedoms,
          to use the computers, from          with more people.                       As we prepare for a new          library staff and library patrons
          people wanting help with               The pandemic has                  central library and needed ren-     need to be open to change
          uploading books to their            increased awareness of servic-       ovations to libraries throughout    and willing to experiment with
          phones and tablets, and inquir-     es that have been available for      the system, we need to rely on      new programs and practices.
          ing on how to access online         years.   Many of us didn’t know  what we have learned, and it’s          This is actually a very exciting
          programs.   The American            what to do or how to do it.          A LOT!  The pandemic has            opportunity for us all!   With all
          Library Association dis-                                                        had each of us redefine      of us working together, our
          covered that 74% of                                                             the spaces in which we       Libraries can function more
          survey respondents                                                              live and work.  “Six         effectively and efficiently, and
          have expanded their                                                             Feet Please” has             as patrons, we can better uti-
          library usage to include                                                        become the mantra,           lize our newly learned skills
          E-books and streaming                                                           which is dictating traffic   and expand our learning envi-
          media and 61% partici-                                                          pathways, table sizes,       ronment.
          pated in virtual pro-                                                           seating at tables, and          We want to take this oppor-
          gramming.                                                                       event attendance.   We       tunity to thank Keith Larsen
             Unfortunately, the                                                           can only guess what          and 55+ for providing an ongo-
          changes haven’t all                                                             the 2022 and beyond          ing opportunity to share library
          been positive.  Many                                                            patron will want, but        news with our community!  We
          have come to depend                                                             using what we learned        look forward to building a new
          upon free tax service at                                                        is essential to future       future for all of us to share!
          our Libraries, but                                                              planning.  I think we        Lincoln is better because of
          because of the pan-                                                             can safely predict that      our past AND because of all of
          demic, this service is                                                          none of us will easily       us who are committed to an
          not offered this year.  It’s a      Now that we have been stuck          give up our new library con-        exciting, productive future!!
          really sad byproduct of the         at home, we’ve had the time          veniences.
          pandemic, as it’s an especially     and a reason to learn what’s         We need your
          valuable service to seniors and     new, different, and exciting!        help going
                                              Our Libraries continue to con-       forward.   If
                                              nect with our community, but in  you value a
                                              different ways!   Phone, Text,       service,
                                              and E-mail usage is growing          please let us
                                              and will be even more impor-         know!
                                              tant as technology usage                We can all
                                              expands and changes.  With           be part of the
                                              more than 20 million people          solutions to
                                              without broadband access, our        ensure that
                                              libraries are often the only         our communi-
                                              source of free access to com-        ty needs are
                                              puters and the interest.   When      being met.   If
                                              the Libraries were closed,           something is

                      Lincoln 55+ Seniors Paper      Time and Temp - 402-476-9211          Spring 2021 - Page - 3
   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8