Thursday, March 11, 2021

How Should Public Libraries Increase Their Services While COVID is Still a Problem?

There was a recent article in the Wall Street Journal stating that the Brooklyn Public Library will bring reading rooms outdoors.  Does this do patrons much good as they can always go to a park and read there as NYC Parks do have access to Wifi?  Patrons will still not be allowed to browse the stacks. The three public library systems in NYC have a grab-and-go system where patrons can go online and order items that will be delivered to the patron's home branch.  This procedure does work but is somewhat cumbersome as items must be delivered.  A patron can search the library's catalog and limit it to their home branch.  I suggest that if a patron finds an item in their home branch, they can present the title and call number to a page who will retrieve the item.

The Research Libraries of NYPL are still closed to the public.  There are millions of print resources that are not available online.  My suggestion is to allow researchers to make appointments as the documents will be retrieved in advance while the patron can come into the library to read it.  A limited number of people can use this service to allow for social distancing.

I applaud the efforts of public libraries in providing more online resources during the pandemic.

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