By Alicia Brown
DeKalb County Public Library received the 2018 Georgia Public Library of the Year award for programming that embraced the county’s diverse community. This was evident through programs such as PRIME TIME Preschool, Fine Free Summer and the Human Library Project. However, during the current health pandemic known as COVID-19, DCPL had to come up with ways to continue to provide outstanding service to its patrons that are temporarily not able to visit the branches.
“We are turning lemons into lemonade” said Jonathon Myers, Principle Librarian at Hairston Crossing Library. Staff members at DCPL have been working together to provide fun and interactive programs that the whole family can enjoy while being at home. The DeKalb Library Foundation is providing funding to support some of these offerings created by outside performers. Patrons have been able to watch live story times, DIY craft videos, magic shows and more from the Library’s Facebook page. Not only have these programs helped to keep patrons engaged, it also gives them an opportunity to connect with their local librarian virtually. “Should we pack our swimsuit?” one patron asked on the Facebook post about DCPL’s “Explore More” virtual spring break activities.
DCPL has also made it easy to obtain a temporary digital library card through their website or renew a current card to be able to checkout eBooks, eAudio books and more. During the temporary closure, patrons will not incur overdue fines. DCPL also is allowing patrons who checked out mobile hotspots to keep the devices until we reopen.
Partnerships have been an integral part of the pandemic. DCPL is partnering with the American Red Cross to host several blood drives at various branches to help alleviate critical supply shortages. Although it has been a challenge to come up with ways to connect with patrons across DeKalb County during this difficult time, it has also been rewarding. This new normal has caused many staff members to think outside the box, thus developing programs that will more than likely become staples from now on. The Library’s motto is “Read more. Think more. Play more. Make more. Get more.” Patrons are doing just that through the efforts of DeKalb County Public Library.