April 22, 2020

By NEKLS staff

The year 2020 has brought us unprecedented challenges–but it also brings us an opportunity to reevaluate our approach to the Summer Library Program (SLP). What outcomes do you want to see in–and for–your community? How will you strategically use the resources you have to bring about those outcomes?

We think this year is about connection. We need to be more connected than ever–to our patrons, and to each other. Fire up those Facebook accounts!

We suggest that you prepare for an all online SLP, while strategizing how to potentially provide low-contact, small-group in-person events. And take-home options.

At this point, there is no guarantee that it will be healthy and safe to have any sort of in-person events this summer, but you may want to be prepared to do so. Proceed with caution, and bear in mind that distancing protocols are difficult for children to understand and to follow.

Shared programming recommendations

Our current situation has shifted a lot of events to online–which means they can be accessed from anywhere. Our hectic schedules mean we should share and leverage the time staff puts into providing online events for families. After all, there’s no reason a family from Atchison can’t attend an excellent online science demo by Mr. Patrick from Basehor! (Hypothetical example–Mr. Patrick is not obligated to provide any science demos.) NEKLS staff is looking into a method for NEKLS libraries to effectively publish your events to a shared spreadsheet.  See https://nekls.org/online-learning/.

Large group programming recommendations

At this point, we recommend that you not schedule or hold large group events this summer.

If you have already contracted with performers, you might see if they are open to performing online instead of in person–if that would work for your community. NEKLS is offering Zoom grants, if you want to use that platform.

Online registration/tracking/prizes

NEKLS staff looked at Beanstack and Bookpoints, but it’s too late to get either up and running for this summer. We will continue to look into offering an online registration and tracking program for 2021.

For this year, we’re looking at the feasibility of using Google Forms to serve this function, and will be announcing how we are able to help once we know more. 

Summer Food

Plan to follow the guidance of your local health department. These folks represent the medical community and the science behind the virus, along with understanding the local implications.  If there are any local restrictions remaining once restrictions mandated through state executive orders cease, follow them.

Shared Materials in the Library

An excellent article on reopening libraries by John Thill was recently published on Medium. The section “Shared Materials in the Library” is especially pertinent to reopening your children’s area. 

More to Come

Anna is continuing to discuss these matters with the other Youth Consultants across the state. The System Directors meet regularly to assess when and how to reopen. NEKLS staff continue to brainstorm ways we can serve you. Let us know your ideas. 

This is a fluid situation…there will be updates, and we will keep you posted. We will support you!

Questions? Concerns? Anna is ready to talk!