My New Year’s edition of “Glad You Asked” is always a nice way to give a glance at the Delaware County District Library’s year in review. While the year provided us with plenty of challenges, it also gave numerous opportunities for us to examine new ways to provide service to our public, many of which will be a part of library services to stay as we move forward.
Prior to 2020, the only branch in the Delaware library system that provided any kind of service without requiring a patron to leave the car was our Orange Branch Library and the drive-up window. We already knew this service was popular and had extended the window’s open hours to meet our commuter population on their drive in to work in the morning.
However, in order to accommodate patrons with their hold requests while branches were closed, curbside pickup was introduced at every other branch – Delaware, Powell and Ostrander. A drive-up window was planned for the new Liberty Branch Library, and the demand for carside services that we’ve discovered in 2020 only affirms that it is the right choice.
Speaking of the Liberty Branch Library, we have been diligently working behind-the-scenes with the construction manager and architects, library staff, DCDL Board of Trustees, Friends of the Library, and members of the public to continue planning for the new branch, set to open to the public in spring 2022.
A small groundbreaking ceremony for the Liberty Branch Library was held on Nov. 18, and we look forward to being able to celebrate our grand opening in 2022 with a larger gathering of our community. The new branch will feature a timeless design that incorporates plenty of natural light, space for reading and studying, organic elements, and accessible features to ensure that we are true to our “service for all” motto.
We’ve always prided ourselves on our technology offerings at the Delaware Library, but 2020 really gave us a chance to take it to the next level. All branches now extend our free, public wireless internet outside our buildings so that whether you’re in the parking lot, a nearby grassy area, or walking by, you can connect for whatever business you need. This same technology has also been integrated onto our DCDL Bookmobile so up to 250 patrons can connect when they’re within 1,000 feet of the Bookmobile during community stops.
Technology has always made it easier for our patrons to communicate with us. Whether it’s through phone or email, or newer methods introduced this year like our website chat feature or Delaware Library app, it’s our goal that you can reach us in whatever way you are comfortable – that is, until we can see you again face-to-face.
In case you haven’t downloaded the DCDL app yet, you can find it on iOS (Apple) and Android platforms simply by searching the app store for “Delaware County District Library.” Users can easily search the catalog, find new recommended titles, get directions, and phone numbers to all library locations, and much more.
While the community was staying at home, at the library we were working on ways to stay engaged. Our social media channels – including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube – were full of wonderful conversations and shared stories of how books and the library transport people to new worlds. Authors like Dan Santat, Minh Le, Vera Brosgol and Fiona Davis visited us virtually. Storytimes shifted to an online platform where they can be watched and experienced over and over (and over and over?) again from your living room. Our videos received more than 12,000 views in 2020 with more than 400 hours of educational and entertaining content viewed.
Finally, the number one reason why libraries are in business – information – was of the utmost importance for our community in 2020. We still managed to check out about 1.5 million items this year. We also helped you register to vote, research political issues and candidates, read credible medical sites and studies, find resources to assist kids with at-home education, learn everything DIY, and dig deeper into histories you never read about in school.
Yes, 2020 was a year of difficulties, but it also was a year of discoveries. It is my wish that you continue to learn and discover in 2021, and that you have a very happy New Year. Keep asking, reading and discovering.
If you have a question that you would like to see answered in this column, mail it to Nicole Fowles, Delaware County District Library, 84 E. Winter St., Delaware, OH 43015, or call us at 740-362-3861. You can also email your questions by visiting the library’s web site at www.delawarelibrary.org or directly to Nicole at firstname.lastname@example.org. No matter how you contact us, we’re always glad you asked!