topic_interest is exactly learning experience
2020-12-31I am a children's librarian in rural Louisiana. We are approximately two hours away from all major forms of entertainment, so the library acts as not only a community hub but a place for children to learn and participate in extracurricular activities year-round... until Covid. Though our community hardly noticed the virus itself, the effects of being locked down soon took hold, and we were left with a community of children, families, and elderly people more isolated than they usually were. The depression set in. And my director had the fabulous notion to take what we did to the airwaves... Or rather the internet. Our seriously underutilized Facebook Page became the hub of activity, and overnight we went from librarians to Youtubers leading digital craft and art classes, Zoom creative writing workshops, and nightly bedtime stories. What initially began as a means to cheer up the children soon developed into full-fledged outreach. Local politicians, law-enforcement, and other community leaders read stories for us on our page as a means to connect with the people in our community. We did special digital story hours with schools once they opened back up in the fall, and also read stories to patients in the nursing home. Continuing with this train of thought, we partnered with our local American Legion Hall, which is located on a main thoroughfare and has large windows clearly visible from the road, to set up our annual "Christmas Around the World" exhibit (which features Christmas traditions from many different countries as well as Kwanzaa and Hanukah traditions) since there was no way to feature the display in our small meeting room safely. Every program was modified, digitized, and brought to the people of our community in the best possible way they could be... which turned the 'year of the plague' into a year of learning, cooperation, and ingenuity for us.