June 9, 2020
Libraries are beginning to update services and even reopen in the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. This might mean beginning (or continuing) curbside service, offering readers’ advisory hours on the phone or social media, or even offering video reference services or storytimes. Perhaps your library has begun a form-based RA service, a newsletter about new hobbies for patrons staying home, or online resources for students now conducting their learning online.
What is clear is that libraries are increasingly necessary as community hubs — and at the very center of that community is your staff! Now more than ever it is important to get the word out to your community and to your staff.
We are all experiencing continuous updates and changes to protocol. Your staff should be at the top of your list when communicating updates. Email newsletters are an effective way to make a meaningful connection with your library community, and the same is true for connecting with your staff, especially in these times of social distancing.
What to communicate with your staff? It’s important to communicate what you know and what you don’t know so staff don’t speculate. Try to communicate as much information as you can as soon as you can so staff can be better prepared for their return to work.
Don’t forget to communicate with your volunteers. As book drops begin to overflow and curbside pickup schedules get booked out for weeks, your volunteers can play an essential role in helping the library meet the demands of the community. Communicate regularly with your volunteers to remind them how much they are appreciated. Poll your volunteers to see where they can contribute in your most needed areas.
Chauna Wall, President of Metrolina Association for Volunteer Administrators, said in an interview with NoveList, “Remember that volunteers are stakeholders in the library, advocates, and potential donors. It’s a best practice to include them in your communication plans early and share information about opening before it goes out to the public. This helps volunteers feel like insiders.”
In the past few months, many libraries have ramped up continuing education and training for staff. Alert your staff to webinars to improve their RA skills, link to tutorials for their favorite tools and products, and share your own internal training by creating a training newsletter to keep staff skills up to date or add a training section to your current newsletter. While you’re at it, encourage your staff to subscribe to our newsletter to stay up-to-date on all things helping readers.
Are you ready to try email marketing at your library? We created LibraryAware especially for libraries, so you’ll find thousands of library-specific templates and graphics. LibraryAware also includes unlimited users, subscribers, and email sends to meet your growing needs. Learn more!
Watch a replay of our webinar Library Newsletters: Best Practices.
Lori Reed is the Marketing Specialist for NoveList. She is currently reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.