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From the CLA President

From the CLA President - April 3, 2020

The last two weeks have only shown the vitality, necessity, and resilience of California's libraries!  

Library staff are answering resource and help lines, connecting people to vital resources

Libraries are checking out hot spots for students suddenly facing an online classroom with no connectivity at home

Library staff are using makerspace equipment and skills to do 3D printing of masks and face shields

With the drastic changes in our economy, new legislation regarding employment, funding and other mitigating measures, and a significant portion of California's schools not opening their campus doors again this academic year, we still need to bring our strength to bear and continue work to our communities.

Students and families will need our connectivity, our technology training and our support for the rest of their school year to succeed.

Thousands of small businesses will need connections and navigation assistance to survive, while workers facing unemployment must find the tools and resources they need to succeed.

Everyone needs health resources and education that sorts facts from myths, and reliable sources from sensational ones.

Yet we still have a wide perception that a building full of books is what constitutes a library.  When that building is closed, we are down for the count.

We know better!  

We need to get the word out.

While your local elected officials are not taking in person office hours, most are holding online or telephone town halls - join one to hear what is being said,                  and be ready to offer up what the library is doing to help.

Ensure that your officials are on your mailing lists, and that you are on their Facebook page. 

Copy their offices on your press releases, and send them an email with each new or enhanced way you are serving. 

Be ready with your social media team to push out changes, enhancements, and new ways to serve. 

Sit in on your virtual City Council, County Board of Supervisors, or other government meeting. 

Send information and tips to your local newspaper, see if they are pushing out an online edition.  

Don't let "the library is closed" be the message that lasts, you make it about what the library, the library staff, and the library organization is doing for the community today.  It can be leaving your wi-fi on for all the students suddenly studying online.  I can be enhancing ZipBooks. It can be printing masks. It can be enabling instant e-cards for resources.  It can be staffing a community hotline. It can be making videos. 

The magic of the library is that it can be whatever its community needs it to be.  All of that and more is needed, and the library is here.

Thank you libraries, for all you do!

Hillary Theyer

CLA President