Dear Guy and All,
Sorry for the delayed response! In Arkansas, the directive for teleworking occurred late last week; and we began doing so where possible at the State Library on Monday. I’ve been catching up with reading everyone’s responses this morning (yesterday was my b-day, so I took the day off), and I’m grateful for all of the excellent ideas and overall words of encouragement. This may be a great time for all of us to look at our mission statements, and there are only 14 mission statements remaining on the State CfB ~ Mission Statements sheet.
We had to cancel author events on March 16 and 17 we had planned in collaboration with the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission, and we are hopeful to have funding to work again on similar events next year. The Arkansas CfB does not sponsor a book festival; however, we are a supporter this year of the Six Bridges Book Festival in Little Rock (was April 23-26), arranged by the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS). That festival has been postponed to the fall, along with events related to the Big Read grant they had received to bring Tim O’Brien to the state.
I surveyed the 50 book clubs we support around the state prior to our telework mandate. Most of our public libraries are closed while the schools are closed, and of course; our book clubs that are in school libraries are not meeting. I’d like to be able to facilitate some virtual book club meetings, and much will depend on location in the state and connectivity.
I’m in Library Development at the Arkansas State Library, and we have been fielding many questions from our public libraries about connectivity, business continuity, and also on what to do with library materials potentially contaminated. You may be following that ALA has asked the preservation community about library materials and COVID-19, and Jake Nadal’s posting on Sunday to ALCTS has been the most helpful.
I am most concerned about our state-wide read program, If All Arkansas Read the Same Book. Our events are scheduled for July 17 and 18, and I do not think it is too soon for us to consider either rescheduling to later in the fall (if we are able to accrue/otherwise use the LSTA funds for this project after the Federal fiscal year closes), or a streaming/otherwise online option. These events have the most impact with the in-person factor, and I’m hopeful that we may be able to reschedule. But we will adapt! J
You all also probably saw yesterday that the ALA annual conference has been canceled, and hopefully; we will all be together at the end of August for the National Book Festival!
As a lifelong Marylander myself, I wish you all a Happy Maryland Day! https://www.loc.gov/item/today-in-history/march-25?loclr=eatod#maryland-day
All the best,
Coordinator of the Arkansas Center for the Book
Arkansas State Library
In Maryland we've canceled all reading and discussion programs--Literature & Medicine and Veterans Book Groups--until April/May, knowing we'll likely have to cancel all remaining events in the series (March, April, May, June). We were also scheduled to help sponsor and participate in two spring book festivals--CityLit Festival last weekend and Gaithersburg Book Festival on May 16. CityLit was canceled. No word yet on Gaithersburg.
Our statewide one book program begins in September. Our 2020 theme is "friendship," and we selected Lisa See's THE ISLAND OF SEA WOMEN. As of now, all plans for statewide programming and hosting Lisa See for our author tour are proceeding with the same caveats others have mentioned regarding fall program planning.
Our staff will be meeting tomorrow to discuss virtual programming. This may include new ideas as well as working with existing content such as projects from our grantees, videos of past events, etc. As Sharon mentioned, we too will be looking at the delivery of future programs in hopes such a quick pivot won't be necessary again to continue with programming during extreme circumstances.
I am definitely interested in exploring Andersen's suggestion of seeing if there's anything we can do together such as a 24 hour event focused on literature.
From: Center for the Book state centers communication <[log in to unmask]>
on behalf of Medema, Nancy <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, March 24, 2020 12:54 PM
To: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: working in the age of coronavirus
In Iowa the only thing we have that is time sensitive is the Letters About Literature program, we are in the final judging portion of the program. We are holding virtual meetings this week to determine winners. However, we don't know how we will move forward at this point, especially if schools are now closed until the end of the school year. We might not be able to get the W9's we need to actually pay the winners. We've already determined that we won't have a reception as normal to do the awards. It was scheduled for May 1st.
For other programs, we have committees working on the title selection for our All Iowa Reads programs which we don't announce until late fall, so any of those meetings can be virtual.
We were supposed to participate in the DSM Book Festival with a booth and publicity about our All Iowa Reads programs, but that was scheduled for this Saturday, and that has been cancelled.
At this point, we're waiting to see what the financial fallout might be to this, both at the state and federal levels, before we think about starting new programs. And even hiring a new coordinator, although we are scheduling virtual interviews for that. Time will tell.....
On Tue, Mar 24, 2020 at 11:31 AM Lamolinara, Guy <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Hi—thanks for responding, Sharon. Yes—we have had to cancel so many events as well. We are still working on the National Book Festival as planned but of course we don’t know what things will be like come Aug. 29. It has occurred to a number of us that we may have to rethink what a “festival” means but nothing has been decided. Take care and thanks again. As soon as I know more re our online kids weekly offerings, I will share with everyone.
From: Center for the Book state centers communication <[log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of Sharon Shaloo
Sent: Tuesday, March 24, 2020 10:44 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: working in the age of coronavirus
Thanks for opening the convo on this, Guy. I've been interested to read the reports from the field rolling in.
Mass had planned a series of events this year linked to our 20th anniversary -- and we are now not only rethinking all of them but also interrogating our delivery model ... understanding how dangerous it is to have nearly all of our activities culminate in large social gatherings. Even those that are promoted at more of a distance presume that the commonwealth libraries will be open as sites for the promotion ... Diversification in delivery is our new programming priority!
I'm spending the next two weeks catching up on admin tasks and asking our two very part-time folk to keep our book awards (the 20th annual) and lal (yep also 20th annual) programs moving forward while we rethink how we will deliver the performance of them in public. I am betting dollars to doughnuts that we won't have access to the State House (where each of these programs normally culminates) until at least the fall and so we, like Minnesota, are exploring video and how to make it exciting.
I will be eager to get the news about author resources from LOC, Guy. I'm about to darken the commonwealth events calendar we host and replace it with a page of online resources and streaming events and will be happy to have that to add.
Guy, do you think LOC is rethinking National Book Festival? I ask not to be alarmist but to factor in our Great Read announcement and what may or may not happen to that ...
Take care everyone ... last week I felt as if the sky were falling ... now I feel that calamity is easier to deal with after it's arrived than when it was only anticipated.
Regards to all,
On Mon, Mar 23, 2020 at 3:36 PM Lamolinara, Guy <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
It is hard for me sometimes to believe how are lives and work activities have so drastically changed in just the past two weeks!
I just started teleworking last week and am still getting used to the lack of social interchange with my colleagues face-to-face. I have never teleworked before because I have always enjoyed coming into the office each day. It also puts me in a “work” mindset. The constant racket from the construction project next door is a constant and annoying distraction. If you know Alexandria, Va., and its historic district, then you know we all live in rowhouses in a densely populated neighborhood. I live in one of those rowhouses, attached on only one side. Right next door, about 12 feet away, they are erecting a large Sunrise senior living facility on what has been a parking lot for the entire 33 years I have lived in this house. At least when the times comes, I won’t have to move very far!
On a more serious level, I am writing to reach out and learn how all of you are coping, how your work, activities and plans have changed, and what I (and the Library of Congress) can do to support you. I can tell you we are planning to release online later this week the beginning of a series of reading and learning activities with some top authors who have agreed to work with us to reach out to young readers who are home from school. As soon as I have details, I will let you know. Perhaps it is something you can offer your users.
Can you tell us if you are engaging in any novel approaches to reaching your constituencies?
What activities have you been forced to cancel? Are you doing any virtual programming?
Are you involved in a state or local book festival? Are you making contingency plans?
Anything you would like to say to get the conversation going, please share.
Take care. I hope we return to “normal” soon, whatever the new normal may be.