The Bookmark About Libraries and Friends

by Jill Forman

Bad news first; let’s get it out of the way. Due to the pandemic level rising again to Purple, computer access at the libraries has been temporarily suspended. The computers were in great demand, per Karen Cruze of Adult Services, especially the ones at Foster and Hill Road. They will be available again as soon as it is safe.

Online event: On December 8 at 6:00 p.m., the library is hosting an author event with Amy Alessio, who writes popular mysteries. From the library: “Enjoy time traveling to holidays past in this humorous, nostalgic look at favorite holiday desserts from past decades. From yule logs to ribbon candies and gingerbread, learn what was popular from cookbook collector and mystery author Amy Alessio. All participants will get an emailed set of recipes to enjoy. Alessio is an award-winning librarian with a black belt in karate. Her fiction includes the Alana O’Neill mysteries with vintage recipes.”

One of the most creative adaptations the library made was the revamping of the web site, to help the community isolated by the pandemic. Barbara Eales, Web Librarian, says “The pandemic really brought our online outreach to a new level… Leadership asked for recommendations on who would need to telework to keep as many services available online as possible.

To my knowledge, the web changes were initially inspired by the Children’s Team members who are also Web Team folks (Phillip Yocham, Sharon Dykstra, and Sienna Sydlaske ) who did the lion’s share of the content changes on the Youth section pages.”

“Besides emphasizing our eLibrary, cloudLibrary, and online catalog, it gave us the opportunity to take programming online. And the Youth Services team, led by Molly Krill, stepped up to work with the Web Team…delivering “Storytimes” online on Facebook Live and YouTube.

March and April were incredibly busy as we went from just a few of us on social media to well over 15 people with their hands in some online capacity. Consistency, technological ease, and adapting to the online format were the initial challenges.

“We have teams and sub-teams…worked together to quickly get up-to-speed. The group is a collaborative effort of the Children’s and Web, about 20 people.”

The teams switched the homepage to “Your Library at Home” with many new pages, especially in the Youth section, expanding to Zoom events for adults as well.

Eales has high praise for staff Mayra Benitez-Tadillo and Sherry Leal-Ryan, who helped create the “Recursos en Espanol” page with their translation skills.

The members of these teams are “… passionate library staff working in various positions in the library, most all directly with the public. In addition to all their normal library tasks, they have taken on the extra work of keeping the web pages current, accurate, and easy-to-use. This is a big extra job!”

The Web Team’s vision is: “Maintain our online presence in support of the library’s mission – striving for usability, accessibility, consistency, and accuracy.”

In these ever-changing times, we at the Ventura library and the Friends are here to serve the community.

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