Virtual Programming: Learning Library Videos

I feel very lucky that I was able to start library work in August 2019. It gave me the opportunity to complete the entire training regimen, even if there are still some gaps in my knowledge and practice. It wasn’t long, however, until COVID-19 closed our system, and I had to adapt quickly to a new working environment.

When our system closed on March 16th, 2020, workers were neither furloughed nor given particular tasks while those in charge took some time to figure out what to do. In that time, I began investigating the resources I had at home, which included several devices — a desktop computer, an iPad, my phone — and learning how to screen-record and edit video in iMovie. Within a week or two, I had made my first video for what became our system’s online Learning Library catalog, Online Collection Apps. I focused on our online collection apps because I wanted our patrons to be able to access our collection even when the buildings were closed.

The second video I created came about with the help of my brilliant mother-in-law, an avid reader who lives in a different state. I made a FaceTime Instructional Video so that other folks living apart from their loved ones during lockdown could learn how to easily video chat with one another.

A screenshot from the FaceTime Instructional Video featuring my mother-in-law showing off her latest favorite book, Tomi Adeyemi's Children of Blood and Bone

Another video I made around this time, No-Sew Face Mask, was so that people without sewing skills or other resources could cover their mouths and noses for quick errands.

Of course, our library system took some time in reopening, trying to do it safely and incrementally. While most buildings remained closed, several larger branches opened for curbside service so patrons could access materials and prints. Later, some of the smaller branches opened for limited computer use. In early August, nearly every branch opened for browsing, computer use, and socially distanced help, but we still do not offer in-person programming yet. Our patrons miss a lot of these programs, especially craft ones, but I did make a No-Sew T-Shirt Craft video that might help them (and you!) refresh their wardrobes at home without having to buy something new.

While I’d agree that videos are not a complete replacement for face to face interaction, I think they’re still a great way to learn something new and gain some inspiration and motivation for trying new skills. I don’t know how to crochet or play the ukelele or design in 3D, but several of my talented coworkers have also been creating videos to share their programming virtually, and I’m excited to fail at them all.