GOING VIRTUAL – TALLINN CENTRAL LIBRARY ONLINE
During the coronavirus pandemic, offering e-services and online communication is more essential than ever for public libraries. Tallinn Central Library shares some of its experiences.
In March 2020, after a state of emergency was declared in Estonia, Tallinn Central Library had to close its doors to visitors for more than two months. The librarians quickly adapted, creating virtual alternatives for most of the library services. In addition to expanding and promoting e-collections, we began offering online trainings, tutoring and counseling for all age groups, as well as different activities via Skype and various social media platforms. Many programs had participants from all over Estonia, like the “Read for You” project (for children whose parents work from home) and “Senior Skype Chat Club” (for senior citizens who couldn’t meet in real life). When schools transitioned to distance learning, online classes with different topics by librarians also became very popular.
Nearly everything created in Tallinn Central Library during the “corona spring” can and will be used in the future – even after the pandemic. The feedback has showed that although the public library in its physical form remains important, people expect more and more services that can be used without leaving home.