Not Your Old-Fashioned Bookworms: How Librarians Became Digital Connoisseurs In Pandemic

Dec 28, 2020

Public libraries are age-old institutions. Their communities called on them in news ways this year to provide community connections and digital resources during the pandemic.
Credit Boston Public Library

This March, our world turned digital. Zoom meetings, virtual school and video chats dominated work, school and home life. To ease this transition to computer-based life, the state’s public libraries stepped up for their communities.

 

Hugh Davis is director of the Albemarle Regional Library, which serves the northeastern counties of Hertford, Bertie, Gates and Northampton. Working in counties that the Hertford County-native described as “internet deserts,” Davis had his work cut out for him. He took the director position in March as the pandemic moved into full swing, and his brief time has been spent connecting patrons with hotspots, computer classes and e-books.

Both Davis and Iredell County Public Library Youth Services Manager Carole Dennis say the libraries have always had useful online resources, and the pandemic encouraged people to seek them out and use them to their full potential. Their libraries also acted as important community connection points as pandemic isolation set in. Dennis and her staff created “Maker Videos” on Facebook to give parents and kids fun home activities.

Host Anita Rao talks with Davis and Dennis about their experiences as librarians during the pandemic and the books that helped them along the way.

 

Hugh and Carole's Book Recommendations:

 

"Even at the Grave" by Lisa Saunders

 

Davis: [Saunders] was talking about how she's come to view life differently having had to deliver sermons and eulogies. And I think that especially as I look back on the year, that's a book that helps me think about some of the losses we've had, but how we can best appreciate them. 

 

"Going Down Home With Daddy" by Kelly Starling Lyons

 

Dennis: It's about going back to your parents' home for a family reunion. And it spoke to me about going and visiting the home place, and Gates County in summers, and hanging out and the different relationships that you have with family and just how much we're missing that all this year.