The Prince George Public Library hosted over 250 virtual programs for children and teens since March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the library’s ability to offer in-person programs. This number comes from the library’s annual Youth Services Report which highlights the library’s impact on children and teens; the report is released every year during Family Literacy Week.
The library’s youth team transitioned quickly to virtual programs after the library closed its doors on March 17. By the following week, Storytime, Double Digits and other programs had moved online. Staff also found themselves using more online resources than ever before to connect with the library’s youngest patrons – including Zoom, Discord, Facebook, YouTube, Steam, and Roll20. In addition, with the team working from home, staff created home studios for virtual programs – using household items in new and ingenious ways. Luckily, the library received a one-time grant from the provincial government in April to enhance digital services and resources – which made it possible to purchase tripods and other necessary equipment.
In 2020, the library had over 8,000 library cardholders 18 years and younger. Students in grades 3-12 had access to 252 hours of free tutoring through Homework Help. Library staff also continued to work with local schools, lending 470 subject-specific books to support learning outcomes.
“This year’s Youth Services Report is a little different than past reports. For example, you’ll notice that we’ve highlighted the number of times people’s pets interrupted online programs,” said Amy Dhanjal, Manager of Communications and Engagement, in a news release. “It’s a testament to how unusual things were in 2020, and how dedicated our staff were as they continued to serve local youth.”
The theme for Family Literacy Week in 2021 is Let’s Be Active! Move * Play * Learn. It focuses on the lifelong and life-wide benefits of being active.