Engagement at a Distance

Tools and tips for virtual programming and services

March 1, 2021

Librarian's Library by Araceli Mendez Hintermeister

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the ways in which librarians do their jobs—from everyday tasks to community outreach and beyond. These books offer a variety of resources to help adjust to our new reality.



Cover of Pivoting during the PandemicPivoting during the Pandemic: Ideas for Serving Your Community Anytime, Anywhere
Edited by Kathleen M. Hughes and Jamie Santoro

This collection includes 22 reflections from library staffers across the US on how public libraries have responded to challenges posed by COVID-19. Whether you seek to serve specific patron groups, address larger community needs, or reimagine programming, you will find innovative models and services that many libraries have used in their communities, including homebound delivery, virtual reference, remote readers’ advisory, and setting up Wi-Fi hotspots. Pivoting during the health crisis requires far more than just putting programming online, and this collection will help readers develop new ideas and strengthen existing ones. Public Library Association, 2021. 112 p. $29.99. PBK. 978-0-8389-4974-0. (Also available as an ebook.)

Transitioning to Virtual and Hybrid Events: How to Create, Adapt, and Market an Engaging Online ExperienceTransitioning to Virtual and Hybrid Events: How to Create, Adapt, and Market an Engaging Online Experience
By Ben Chodor with Gabriella Cyranski

Chodor has presented virtual programs in the digital media space for more than 20 years. Drawing on that experience, he digs deep into how to become a more efficient host, understand your audience, and use media beyond videoconferencing. His approach creates an intimacy that allows event attendees to feel directly engaged rather than just looking at their screens. This book includes comprehensive checklists, best practices, and tips for hosting events. Wiley, 2020. 208 p. $25. PBK. 978-1-119-74717-8. (Also available as an ebook.)

Cover of The Collection All AroundThe Collection All Around: Sharing Our Cities, Towns, and Natural Places
By Jeffrey T. Davis

One of the library’s greatest strengths is its ability to connect patrons to resources, and this book shows how that skill goes beyond a building’s walls. By focusing on what surrounds a library, Davis asks readers to consider nearby parks, nature, and places in their community as part of their collection. This is not to say libraries should embed in the community; rather, it is about making the places around their users more comprehensible, familiar, and accessible to everyone. The lessons will assist library workers as they guide patrons in discovering the treasures around them. ALA Editions, 2017. 152 p. $57. PBK. 978-0-8389-1505-9. (Also available as an ebook.)

Cover of Healthy Living at the LibraryHealthy Living at the Library: Programs for All Ages
By Noah Lenstra

Lenstra provides resources to help integrate healthy living and wellness practices into library programming, whether through garden plots, StoryWalks, or fitness classes. Healthy Living at the Library outlines how to develop a program, engage in community partnerships, and eventually run a program, and it concludes with advice on how to make new initiatives permanent. Lenstra includes information about liability waivers, strategic plans, and assessment tools that will support these offerings every step of the way. Libraries Unlimited, 2020. 225 p. $45. PBK. 978-1-4408-6314-1. (Also available as an ebook.)

Cover of Coronavirus: Leadership and RecoveryCoronavirus: Leadership and Recovery
By Harvard Business Review, Martin Reeves, Nancy F. Koehn, Tsedal Neeley, and Scott Berinato

It can be difficult for libraries to embrace changes instituted because of COVID-19, especially when they may be required to transition back to traditional services at any moment. Through the lens of business management, Coronavirus: Leadership and Recovery motivates readers to think through these unprecedented challenges while maintaining a foundation that will allow them to emerge stronger at the end of the pandemic. Broken into sections that address leadership, management, and strategic planning, the book presents case studies that explore how other businesses in multiple industries are addressing everything from workers calling in sick to communicating with customers. Harvard Business Review, 2020. 192 p. $23. PBK. 978-1-6478-2049-7. (Also available as an ebook.)

Cover of Library Services for Online Patrons: A Manual for Facilitating Access, Learning, and EngagementLibrary Services for Online Patrons: A Manual for Facilitating Access, Learning, and Engagement
Edited by Joelle E. Pitts, Laura Bonella, Jason M. Coleman, and Adam Wathen

Access, learning, and engagement are at the core of this manual, which offers a holistic approach to initiating and enhancing library resources and services to online patrons. The book looks at reference, instruction, and marketing through the lens of online users and guides readers through the process of making intentional considerations. While this book focuses on academic libraries, its lessons on designing services will help readers navigate and address the needs of any online patron, even if those needs may not be entirely apparent at first. Libraries Unlimited, 2019. 200 p. $55. PBK. 978-1-4408-5952- 6. (Also available as an ebook.)


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