All through the pandemic, Emma DeVos, a member of the library’s board of trustees, stated there have been numerous library companies that have been more and more utilized by neighborhood members, serving to establish areas the place there’s room for enchancment. Among the many library’s packages and companies which have been rising in recognition embrace bilingual actions, computer systems, kids’s story time, on-line cellular printing and farther-reaching Wi-Fi entry.
Based on DeVos, the variety of folks using the entire library’s companies and packages jumped by greater than 16,000 in 2020 in comparison with 2019.
“Our companies are reaching much more folks now than they have been earlier than,” DeVos stated throughout a latest Metropolis Council assembly. “In 2019, we had an involvement of about 6,600 folks coming to the library. And in 2020, we had 23,600 interactions with our packages. That’s an enormous leap, and this 12 months we’re at about 19,000.”
Since taking up the function because the library director roughly a 12 months in the past, Kevin Kenkel set a objective to convey extra folks to the library and supply extra companies to the neighborhood. Upgrading the know-how companies and computer systems on the library has helped foster the kind of progress that the library has skilled over the previous 12 months, which Kenkel has been doing with the assistance of grant funding.
After securing a $15,000 federal grant by way of the American Rescue Plan, it’s serving to fund upgrades to the library’s current computer systems.
“We’re upgrading our computer systems, and one new service we’re implementing is on-line cellular printers that permit folks to print papers on the library from anyplace on the town, which they then can choose up later,” Kenkel stated.
Whereas many companies and entities have taken successful throughout the pandemic, the library skilled the other. As extra folks turned to computer systems for work and digital interplay, DeVos stated the library grew to become a well-liked area.
“We additionally hit on come workforce areas, as folks come into use these. The computer systems have been serving to folks get again into the workforce as a result of they’re able to are available in and do their resumes,” she stated.
That additionally means Wi-Fi entry is extra necessary than ever for a lot of neighborhood members to navigate by way of the pandemic. To offer extra assets for the neighborhood, DeVos stated the library not too long ago expanded its Wi-Fi to be accessible exterior of the 221 N. Duff St. library constructing such because the parking zone.
“Now you can get Wi-Fi within the parking zone, and that’s very nice for individuals who can’t afford Wi-Fi at residence,” DeVos stated.
DeVos highlighted the broad scale impression of the library’s free pc entry and bilingual packages, which she stated may also help extra individuals who converse one other language study English and change into “extra part of the neighborhood.”