The 13 branches of the Capital Area District Libraries function as cooling centers each summer. During the winter, the public can use the library to warm up and charge their electronic devices. For personal crises such as the loss of one’s home or job, the library becomes even more essential.
Faced with an unprecedented crisis in COVID-19, CADL has committed to enhancing its operations to meet the growing divides in the Lansing area all while keeping patrons and library staff safe.
“We haven’t been able to offer our traditional support during a crisis situation,” said Executive Director Scott Duimstra. Traditional support from CADL meant in-person storytimes to advance literacy, entrepreneurial workshops and test prep. Instead, the focus has turned to broadening its digital resources and technology.
This fall, Capital Area College Network will partner with CADL to answer questions for community members pursuing further education. Workshops will cover how to write a college essay, apply for financial aid and campus life.
There were silver linings — such as online storytimes reaching as many as 2,000 viewers or CADL actively helping small businesses develop e-commerce models — but it is important to note that a number of people rely on libraries for internet connection and public technology. With limited operations, Duimstra said, those individuals may be left behind.
“Whether our facilities are open or closed, we kind of know the areas that we need to work on,” said Duimstra. “We need to work on literacy for our area, increasing that. We need to work on access to technology and reliable broadband access as well.”
For more information on CADL and its new online resources, visit cadl.org.
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