In the early days of the pandemic, when the library made the difficult choice to close its doors and offer services remotely, we received a lot of comments on social media from customers who were also struggling with how to navigate life in quarantine. A common theme that came up was wanting to know what to read while stuck at home. It seemed a great opportunity to create a way to keep our customers well-read and able to access the knowledge and skill applied daily in-person by our librarians.
I reached out to our Learning Central Department and worked with them to develop a new concept: once a week we’d begin a thread on Facebook and Twitter where customers could ask our librarians for recommendations on what to read and we’d reply in realtime to those questions. To my delight, they agreed and Open Hour with a Librarian began on April 9 with five of our librarians ready to field questions from customers from 2–3 p.m. The librarians have received all sorts of questions from “I enjoy books by John Grisham and John Sandford. Can you recommend similar authors?” to “What longer picture books or early chapter books with pictures do you suggest for a 3-year-old?”
During this hour on social media, we’re able to help customers that have health conditions which prevent them from visiting us in-person yet or customers that may still be limiting their activities outside of the home. Even though we’ve opened our doors again, we realize that accessibility to those who may not be able or ready to return to life as normal is still incredibly important. So, if you are in a reading rut, you want to educate yourself on a topic, you have children at home that have read through your entire home library 15 times, or you want an expert opinion on a new-to-you genre, join us on Thursdays on the library’s Facebook or Twitter from 2–3 p.m. for Open Hour With a Librarian.