We Empower Discovery is a poster in the 2020 PNLA Virtual Poster Session. We encourage you to engage in discussion by leaving a comment on the page. The author of the poster will respond to comments the week of August 4-7, 2020.

Presenter: Meghan Alcala, Lauren Hayes, & Timothy Madsen

Track: Public Library

Abstract: During the time of our district closure, the Community Library Network developed a plan of action to stay connected with the communities we serve; to keep families and youth engaged in their library during a time of unforeseen circumstances, while maintaining safety and distancing guidelines. We implemented district-wide services, some of which started as early as the week we closed our doors.

When our Summer Reading Program began June 1st, we conducted weekly virtual programs with coordinating “Grab & Go Kits,” which were made available curbside at all seven library locations. Weekly programs included story time, outdoor gardening, STEAM-based activities, and LEGO club. Other programs included Readers Advisory, Summer Reading presenters, KaBoom! Science, and Adopt a Dragon.

To make programs feel more familiar, we created separate Facebook Groups for several programs, where members were encouraged to share photos of their completed crafts and activities. The group pages allowed staff to engage with our members more easily and they could communicate with each other. To best serve everyone, each “Grab & Go Kit” included materials and instructions to complete the activity, meaning members could participate with or without access to the virtual programs. Libraries also had additional LEGO and STEAM kits available for check out.

The Community Library Network Youth Services team focused on keeping our communities positively engaged with their libraries and each other during a time when we could not physically connect. Families across the district have responded with gratitude by participating and enjoying the opportunity to still share some time with the public library.


About the Presenter:
Lauren Hayes has worked in Youth Services at the Community Library Network in Hayden, Idaho, for 8 years specializing in outreach and in-house services for early learners. She attended Washington State University and earned a Master’s of Science in Information Studies from the University of Texas.

Meghan Alcala is a Youth Services Specialist at the Community Library Network, where he specializes in both outreach and in-house services for children and their families. Meghan has her BA in English and has earned a Master’s of Library Science and Information Studies.

Timothy Madsen is a Youth Services Specialist at the Community Library Network, where he focuses on STEM activities. This includes hands-on learning, classroom visits, and after school programs. Tim has an AA in American Sign Language studies and is working towards his Bachelor of Science in ASL/English interpreting.

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Pam Henley
3 years ago

Love the posters – photos are a wonderful addition! Having participants post their own content to a FB group is a great way to generate interest. And the videos demonstrating an activity are so helpful too – I could see things like that continuing even after the pandemic has moved on. Thanks so much for being part of the virtual conference!

Reply to  Pam Henley
3 years ago

Thank you, Pam. We do have plans to continue virtual programs, even one we are able to host in-person programs again.

3 years ago

Inspiring presentation! I’m interested in hearing more about how you gave instructions for your Stop Motion Animation activity, please.

Timothy Madsen
Reply to  Patricia
3 years ago

We used an app called Stop Motion studio. It’s a free app that does most of the work for you. It’s available on Android and Apple products, and I think most other phones and devices. All the student does is take the pictures and the app strings them together for you. There is options to speed up or slow down the video and some premium paid options as well.

3 years ago

It looks like you had a great response to your quick pivoting to online programming. Were there any unexpected discoveries along the way of going virtual?

3 years ago

Wow. So inspired. I really think these could be adapted for college-age audience as well. Academic libraries want to engage with their patrons as well. A lego video club or STEM activities club would be welcome I bet for diversion — but also many of our students are parents as well.

Reply to  Rick
3 years ago

Hi Rick, this would be a great way to reach a younger audience at an academic library. It is difficult to reach our members right now, but I’m sure both students and parents would enjoy participating in STEM activities online together and you may gain new members as well. Thank you for viewing our poster.