Going Virtual: Programs and Insights from a Time of Crisis

ALA. Feb. 2021. 104p. ISBN 9780838948781. pap. $34.99. PRO MEDIA
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced libraries to reimagine how they serve patrons; from offering patrons curbside pick-up and socially distanced assistance, to providing remote reference and virtual programming, libraries have demonstrated once again that they can adapt to societal changes and unexpected crises to help their communities. Ostman (communications manager, Public Programs Office, ALA; Book Club Reboot: 71 Creative Twists) explores programs that libraries have modified or created during the pandemic, based on a survey she conducted via the ALA’s website and through social media. She divides the book into four categories of programming (learning, conversation, connection, entertainment); in each she summarizes individual libraries’ programs and gives brief guidance about topics like copyright law and videoconferencing platforms. However, unlike many other ALA titles on programming (such as Amy J. Alessio, Katie LaMantia, and Emily Vinci’s Pop Culture-Inspired Programs for Teens, Tweens, and Adults), Ostman’s book—which would have sufficed as a blog post on the ALA website—does not provide substantive, practical information about how to plan and implement the kinds of programs it features.
VERDICT While the premise of the book is interesting, the omission of details about cost, supplies, outcomes, and other helpful data makes this slim, pricey title a marginal purchase.
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