The pandemic has altered how Tulsa’s library system operates, sparking creative solutions to the innumerable and largely in-person services offered to Tulsans.
“A lot of people just assume that if we’re not open to the public then that means we’re not doing anything when in fact we are very, very active,” says Rebecca Harrison, adult services manager and one of four assistant managers at Central Library, 400 Civic Center.
Social media has been key to making events and services remote. Virtual events are held on Facebook Live, and archived videos are available on Facebook and YouTube after the event streams.
One virtual program addition is a weekly event called “What to Read Next,” which gives custom recommendations to participants. A librarian posts on the TCCL Facebook page, readers comment with books they’ve enjoyed, and the librarian recommends items available digitally.
Author events have been held virtually, as well, like the “One Book, One Tulsa” events that invite authors to speak and answer questions from readers. In September, Jacqueline Woodson discussed her book “Red to the Bone” on Facebook Live. More virtual author events are planned for 2021, Harrison says.
One service that has cropped up since the pandemic hit: curbside pickup. While you can pick up books checked out from the library website, Harrison also says crafting kits are available as a socially distant replacement for the library’s “maker” events. Check the library social media channels for more information.
Harrison says the library is looking forward to 2021 events, including author visits and commemorating the Tulsa Race Massacre centennial.
“We have a committee here that is planning events aimed at increasing education, empathy and healing — that’s the theme of the event,” Harrison says.
Additionally, the library will host Unite Tulsa in April, a PechaKucha-style event (presentations have 20 slides and 20 seconds per slide) featuring local artists and changemakers talking about race relations, diversity and anti-racism.
“We also have a virtual exhibit planned to educate folks about the Massacre,” Harrison says. “We’re really looking forward to an active spring.”
Virtual services for library card holders include access to Mango, a language-learning platform; Lynda.com and Universal Class, which host classes ranging from computer programming to arts and crafts; test preparation courses; and music lessons. TCCL also offers a seed library that enables cardholders to check out seeds and plant at home.