By EMMA BARTLETT Anyone looking at the Cranston Public Library's event calendar will find that the Central Library and its branches are not lacking for events. Packed with virtual and in-person options for patrons, CPL is continuing to provide
Anyone looking at the Cranston Public Library’s event calendar will find that the Central Library and its branches are not lacking for events. Packed with virtual and in-person options for patrons, CPL is continuing to provide socializing opportunities for individuals.
Always looking to have a full slate of events, Central Library prepared for Covid-19 back in March 2020. Wanting to ensure that they could continue their activities if the library needed to go virtual, the staff prepared themselves by pre-recorded several story times for the younger children. These videos instantly came in handy, because with little training or learning, the staff soon transitioned online and created programs for kids and adults.
Prior to Covid-19, Edward Garcia, the Director of Cranston Public Library, said that Central Library saw between 750 and 1,500 patrons a day – with more attendance Monday through Wednesday since the library would be open for longer hours. Today, the number of individuals visiting per day falls around 400 but has been slowly building over time; Cranston’s branch libraries have seen an even slower return of patrons. After the their closures in March 2020, the Cranston’s libraries finally reopened with revised guidelines in June 2020, and by June 2021, they were back in full operation.
Right now, with a selection of virtual and in-person activity options, the CPL has noted that both types of events are equally attended. The libraries are slowly adding more in-person events, although some have been postponed or put online due to the uptick in Covid-19 cases. For instance, one of the preschool programs has been postponed until late-January and several computer and coding classes have been pushed to February. Still, the library is finding innovative ways to gain attraction to their programs.
For instance, according to Julie Holden, CPL’s Assistant Library Director, Central Library’s STEM Polar Projects on Jan. 8 had a big turnout and was a hit. Kids from grades K through five colored waterproof penguins and worked outside, making frozen bubbles and learning about snow. Holden mentioned that the toddler through school age children are dying for in-person activities, and the parents are looking for in-person socialization for their kids. CPL will host more winter fun events for kids including a winter scene painting at Auburn Library on Jan. 22 at 2:30 p.m. and a PJ Storytime event at William Hall Library on Jan. 25 at 6:30 p.m.
CPL’s book discussion groups were recently asked if they would like to switch to online meetings because of the Covid-19 case increase. All 11 discussion groups chose to maintain in-person meetings; however, people do have the option to Zoom into the meeting.
CPL may not be back to the level of visits that they received prior to the pandemic, but Covid-19 has had some positive impacts – especially when it came to improvising. For instance, during this past summer, William Hall Library, Auburn Library and Central Library held outdoor storytimes and received a grant to purchase canopies for these events. The library liked having the outdoor activity component and would like to continue outdoors story times during warmer weather. Additionally, the virtual storytimes for children have seen a great response and will continue. Lastly, the library started a podcast in April 2020, which now has over 80 episodes and is still going strong. While the means of interaction has altered, CPL has creative and innovative solutions to continuing to reach patrons and keep them actively involved; in the foreseeable future, virtual programs will continue being part of the library’s events.
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