Greetings, Friends of the Encino-Tarzana Library!
It doesn’t seem as if there’s anything I can say about the peculiarity of the 2020 holiday season that wouldn’t sound cliché. We already know that, in March, when the libraries turned to a virtual model of service, we didn’t expect to be in this pattern in December. But winter is upon us, and we’re still here.
In my last note to you, I mentioned some of the creative ways our librarians and support staff have been reaching out to our patrons. Our own Elisabeth Calla marshalled the energy of our Teens to create special handmade “Thank you” cards for our Friends. Maggi shared a photo of these via email with all of you. If you should like to receive your actual card, we would be happy to mail it to you. Just share your address with Elisabeth email@example.com, and she’ll send it via post.
Much of my time and Adult Librarian Judith Jones’s time has been spent working on our collection, making room for new materials that will be coming in when we resume our physical operations. Shokoufeh, our Children’s Librarian, is collaborating on story times and craft programs with colleagues throughout the system. A big gain with digital programs is that they are available to patrons throughout the city, whether they live two blocks or twenty miles from our branch. We know the digital option will continue even when our direct services are restored because so many people have told us how valuable this kind of contact with the library has been to them.
We have learned so many lessons during the pandemic that, I believe, have made us more valuable to our patrons and to each other. Staff have taken numerous trainings on everything from communication skills to institutional racism to supporting library volunteers. We also meet every week as a team via Zoom, and while much of our conversation is about library business, we always set aside time to hear how our colleagues are doing, and what they might need from the rest of us.
The Pandemic has been a strange time, but it has not been lost time. We at the branch are hoping we come out of this better than we were before our doors closed. We will have learned more about ourselves, each other, and our profession, and we’ll be ready to put our new knowledge and skills to work for our patrons and for our Friends.
This time an investment in our library and in our future. By staying safe, we are making sure that we will all be together next year for a better, richer holiday.
With warm regards,