Why Libraries Matter: Essential Services

The Institute of Museum and Library Services recently created an infographic titled How Public Libraries Adapted to Serve Their Communities at the Start of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Here are some highlights.

  • 93% continued to provide services to the public even while their buildings were closed.
  • 88% of libraries provided “outside” service for checking out physical materials (e.g., books, DVDs) while buildings were closed to the public.
  • 65% increased the electronic materials available to the public (e.g., e-books, downloadable audiobooks).
  • 68% offered electronic library cards, more than twice as many as before the pandemic.

The Chickasha Public Library adapted and expanded many services during COVID-19, including all of those listed above.

Additionally, the Chickasha Public Library continues to offer virtual cards to Grady County residents. These allow access to the library’s virtual services, databases, and ebooks through the Oklahoma Virtual Library. Curbside service is also still available. To receive curbside service, park in the designated spot and then call the library and let staff know what you need (pick up holds, have a document notarized, print a document that was sent to the library’s printing email address, etc.).

In other library news, here are two stories about national library organizations providing technology access to rural and underserved communities:

FCC and IMLS Sign Agreement to Promote Broadband Access
PLA awards $1.1 million to 160 public libraries to conduct digital literacy workshops 

This is important because internet access is needed for so many life tasks – job applications, finances, communication, and more – and libraries provide that access to everyone. In addition, digital literacy is becoming more important because of the vast amounts of information available online. Libraries help to connect people with information in its many and ever-changing formats.