with Library Director Chris Skaugset
To borrow and adapt the famous words of FDR, “2020 is a year which will go down in infamy.” Of course, the big event was the COVID-19 pandemic, which swept across the world in March, continues even now, and clearly will be affecting our lives in 2021. I have heard many say that in every challenge is an opportunity. Trying to provide library services to the community while being functionally closed to the public was certainly a challenge. However, out of this challenge have arisen some excellent ideas and programs that not only help us through this crisis, but will enrich the library and community it serves, long into the future.
First came Drive-Thru service. Patrons put materials on hold and then staff gathered, checked out, and bagged them to be picked up during our Drive-Thru hours. We have since moved to putting them on a hold shelf, to be checked out when the patrons arrive. It is not unlike pre-COVID, just located at our back door instead of the public service desk. We created online story times and other digital programming, including a weekly garden show and craft videos where the public could pick up craft kits, scan a code and watch the instructional YouTube video. We created Library Samplers, which allow patrons to fill out a form detailing what type of materials they want, which staff then use to select a personalized group of items, to be picked up in the Drive-Thru. Mobile printing allows patrons to send prints to the library printer and pick those up in Drive-Thru as well.
These were all fantastic ideas and developments that will continue into the future, even when we open our doors again. You can expect to see hybrid programs that will feature live and recorded information and presentations. Drive-Thru will continue into the future as well, because this service has been so popular. I am sure there will be even more before this crisis has ended. This is just the beginning of a new and improved Longview Library that will continue to serve the community in every way possible. Thanks go to ALL of the library staff who have been creative, flexible and working tirelessly to make this all happen and always with a smile on their faces. I would especially like to thank Becky Standal who has taken the lead on much of what you have seen. I would also like to thank Daniel Tate and Austin Brigden for all they have done. I need to thank the Friends of the Longview Library and the Longview Library Foundation who have helped fund some of these new programs and the costs related to them.
Finally, I would like to thank you all for being patient with us throughout this situation and for the kind words and thanks that you have bestowed upon us. Thank you for your support both now and in the future. Together, we will make the Longview Public Library serve you better, today and tomorrow.