Sustaining Community Connections through Outdoor Oriented Programming During COVID-19
Date: October 14, 2020 Format: Conference Session
As the COVID-19 Pandemic set in and shelter in place ordinances went into place, public libraries throughout the U.S. and Canada sought to continue to engage their communities in person by enhancing and augmenting outdoor programming that did not require face-to-face contact. This programming included StoryWalk initiatives that involve deconstructing storybooks and posting the pages along a walking path (or along a downtown business corridor), obstacle courses and chalk art contests on sidewalks, posting things in library windows to animate those who safely walk by, and setting up and enhancing library green spaces, including community and butterfly gardens. This intense focus on starting or sustaining outdoor oriented programming during 2020 builds upon a rich history of nature-based public library programming, which has been supported since 2010 by the national non-profit the Children & Nature Network and their Nature Smart Libraries initiative, among many other initiatives. This presention shares the history and current state of outdoor oriented public library programming, particularly that which focuses on fostering and sustaining environmental awareness and a love of nature, and includes “shovel-ready” ideas that all participants can take away to begin outdoor oriented programming at their libraries, including DIY StoryWalks, simple ways to spruce up your library’s greenspace, and easy to follow steps to begin the process of partnering with groups like Parks & Recreation, Conservation Foundations, and other outdoor oriented groups and institutions in your public library’s service area.