Call Number Podcast: Pandemic Pivots

Conversations on COVID-19 innovations, three years on

March 13, 2023

Episode 81: Pandemic Pivots

It’s been three years since COVID-19 brought the country to a standstill. In March 2020, the pandemic shuttered library buildings and prompted staffers to shift programming and priorities for a changing world.

In Episode 81, Call Number hears from three libraries that have expanded, altered, and reimagined their offerings to reach community members who needed their services most.

First, American Libraries Editor and Publisher Sanhita SinhaRoy talks with John Schaffer, the voice behind Curbside Larry, the character who went viral in 2020 for his infomercial-style videos advertising curbside services at Harris County (Tex.) Public Library.

Then, American Libraries Managing Editor Terra Dankowski speaks with Ray Baker, director of Miami-Dade Public Library System in Florida, about the Drive-Up Wi-Fi initiative the library started in the early days of the pandemic.

Finally, American Libraries associate editor and Call Number host Diana Panuncial chats with Julie Curry, principal of John K. Hubbard Elementary School in Noble, Oklahoma, and Courtney Gerow, signature services coordinator of Shawnee (Okla.) Public Library. The two are behind Sunday Stars, a tutoring program helping elementary school students across several counties recover from COVID-19 learning loss.

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Call Number Podcast: COVID-19 Mitigation Measures

Episode 58 looks at library efforts to prevent the virus's spread

An illustration depicting COVID-era service adaptations by Gaby FeBland

From Makeshift to Mainstay

What pandemic adaptations taught libraries about community needs