In this new world of social distancing, the Altadena Library District has quickly adapted to meet critical needs for connection, access to information, and technology in the few short months that COVID-19 has drastically changed life as we know it.
Within days of the release of the first Safer at Home orders in March 2020, the Altadena Library team called a virtual meeting with local stakeholders to form Altadena Connections, an informational email service designed to provide hyper-local COVID-19 updates and highlight the efforts of local groups to respond to the pandemic. Throughout the spring, Altadena Connections distributed over 20 informational updates to over 13,000 people highlighting safety, public health, business, civic engagement, and financial resources. More information can be found at www.altadenanews.org.
“It is in challenging periods like this that our community gets to see how adaptive and relevant libraries continue to be,” said Marketing & Community Engagement Manager Chloé Cavelier. “Your local library is a caring connector – a neighbor – that is continually curious about what its community needs and how we in libraries can continue to evolve and respond.”
The libraries’ digital presence did not stop there. From March to July 2020, library staff produced and published over 120 videos on the Altadena Library YouTube channel. Where normally library users would enjoy educational enrichment at their local libraries, now individuals of all ages can enjoy virtual story times, crafting activities, cooking tutorials, poetry readings, author talks, sing-alongs, lectures, and more from the comfort and safety of their homes. A highlight is the video series produced in partnership with the Pasadena Literary Alliance called Open Book On Location, featuring hour-long recordings of world-renowned authors in conversation, including, but not limited to, Leslie Klinger, Cornelia Funke, David Morrell, Laurie King, Patrick Rothfuss, Naomi Hirahara, Gary Phillips, Lee Goldberg, and Nicholas Meyer.
As local public health orders allowed for library staff to return, socially distanced, to the library buildings, the Altadena Libraries rolled out curbside checkout services to great acclaim, checking out 2,125 items to 566 appointments in the first three weeks of service. Through curbside service, take-home activity kits supporting this year’s virtual Summer Reading program were also distributed, providing over 650 families and individuals with free books, crafting materials, and activities to help prevent summer learning slide and provide some much-needed stimulation after months of being Safe at Home. In addition to printed materials, both the Altadena Main Library and Bob Lucas Memorial Branch now offer mobile hotspots and laptops for checkout to help meet critical technology needs, as well as remote 3D printing services.
“In an unincorporated community like Altadena that lacks a typical city’s infrastructure,” said District Director Nikki Winslow, “the Altadena Libraries are proud to be the safe, shared place, even virtually for our community to find accurate local information, essential resources and services, and friendly faces that genuinely care about the well-being of the community they serve.”
About Altadena Library District
For over 90 years, the Altadena Library District has been bringing people and ideas together for an Altadena where all are learning, growing, and thriving together. More information about Altadena Library District and its curbside services is available at www.altadenalibrary.org/curbside.