You can teach an old dog new tricks

Everyone I know is trying their best to adapt to the new situation created by Covid-19. On Monday, the Library will start curbside pickup for items placed on hold. Our staff spent this week training to serve patrons in this new way.

I have spent the past three weeks learning about new methods that will enable us to offer Library programs. For the near future, we are moving all Library programs online. This requires different ways of thinking and unfamiliar technology to remotely connect with our patrons. Like it or not, this may be the way we have to do it for several months to keep patrons and staff safe.

I have been working hard to learn how to use the online meeting application Zoom, other live streaming applications, a video camera and audio equipment. I am nervous about all of it, but I am adapting. The first online program we have scheduled is later this month on May 26 at 7 p.m.: Lessons Unlearned: The 1990s and the Army’s Role in Creating the Forever Wars, presented by Col. Pat Proctor. If you would like to participate, please email me at cmcguire@lvplks.org.

Back in the “olden days,” I used a camera that had film. I didn’t have a computer and neither did anyone else except for large corporations, universities or the government. To type papers and reports, I used an IBM Selectric typewriter with built-in eraser tape, typing backwards to erase one letter at a time. Setting tabs was an ordeal, but necessary if you wanted each page to have the same margins. We didn’t have the internet, smart phones or GPS. I went to the library or used an encyclopedia to look up information, used a land-line to call people and a looked at a map for directions. Tablets were bundles of paper with a binding at the top. Zoom was a description for going really fast.

Many of the speakers we have scheduled in the next few months are not experienced with online presentation technology, either. But they are willing to learn so we can provide quality programs as part of the Library’s services. When things return to whatever normal will be in the future, we will offer a combination of in-person and online programs to expand our reach outside the walls of the building.

Inevitably, we will have technical glitches. The training that other staff and I have been working on will hopefully help minimize any issues. We know that it won’t be 100 percent smooth sailing all the time.  We hope you will be patient with us.

I am nervous about moving our programs online. But my worries are miniscule compared to the bigger issues facing the world right now. The Library will provide the most service, the safest way. So, until we can meet again in person, stay healthy and safe, and learn something new by participating in an online Library program. Check our website, leavenworthpubliclibrary.org, during the next few weeks for service updates and program schedules.