By: Meghan Holland
With the world shutting down due to COVID-19 restrictions, Siouxland Libraries started opening up to new possibilities.
In March of 2020, Siouxland Libraries shut down for the pandemic, and as they realized that it would be more than just a two-week shutdown, they started brainstorming ideas on how to connect with people and continue providing services.
“We had never done virtual programming,” Jodi Fick, Director of Siouxland Libraries said, but despite having no prior experience, they decided to try it out.
The programs they provide are for all age groups and cover various interests. One of the more prominent programs they present virtually is reading books for storytime.
The city defines public innovation as the process of generating and implementing ideas that create value for the community. The innovation of implementing virtual programs allows for continued customer experience from the isolation of one’s home.
Siouxland Libraries communicated about their virtual programs through their online newsletter that is emailed out, as well as through their social media, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Fick said they went through a period of adjustment when learning about the technology and trying to reach more people.
She said they even had to experiment with the best setup for Facebook lives and Youtube videos.
“It was quite an amateur operation,” Fick said.
Around the same time Siouxland Libraries started these virtual programs, most of the staff also started working from home.
Fick said the staff had to figure out how to present virtual programs from their own homes by adjusting lighting, experimenting with camera angles and testing out how to present a book to their virtual audience.
“I am incredibly proud of the Siouxland Libraries staff,” Fick said. She said they showed dedication, creativity and commitment.
Siouxland Libraries is now open to the public again, but the staff continue to produce virtual programs. Fick said this will continue on in the future, even after the pandemic, to allow more opportunities for people to get involved with programs if they cannot attend a certain event live or if someone from out of state wants to tune in.
Now that they offer more in-person events, Fick said they have decreased the number of virtual programs and increased the quality of those virtual programs.
“We truly are servants, and in the midst of something that none of us could have imagined living through, (the Siouxland Libraries staff) were able to still make human connection,” Fick said. “Virtual programming allowed us to do that.”
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