The pandemic has changed so much of our everyday lives and routines. Since March, community members have had to deal with temporary closures of their library buildings, interrupted access to physical materials, and cancellation of in-person programs and events.
Yet during this year of upheaval, Oak Parkers have continued to be loyal and frequent users of our public library. As we’ve prioritized people and their health and safety, we’ve created flexible and safe new ways to provide what patrons have come to expect: fast, open access to great amounts of information and resources, supported with knowledgeable and caring personal support — now delivered as safely as possible through your digital library.
Your digital library includes all the virtual services we’ve introduced or expanded since March: experiences such as live Zoom storytimes, meditations, and book groups, plus on-demand videos and tutorials; remote customer support; and 24/7 access to a growing collection of ebooks, digital audiobooks, movies, TV shows, music, magazines, newspapers, and online resources for research and learning. And for the digital library, it has been a very good year. When compared with 2019, the average monthly use of digital collections has increased 90 percent.
What’s new and popular
Virtual customer support – Since March 13, we’ve continued to work remotely and have processed more than 4,000 inquiries via live chat, oppl.org/contact, phone, and social media.
Instant access with a digital-only account – Almost 1,000 new accounts have been created since mid-March. It’s easy: you fill out a form, get an account number, log in at oppl.org, and start reading, watching, and listening to new materials immediately.
Weekly “We suggest” title lists by topic or genre of what to read, watch and listen to next.
Personalized title recommendations from an Oak Park librarian, all done online.
Virtual meeting spaces (supported by our staff) to help you connect with friends and family via Zoom.
More than 3,000 titles added to OverDrive, our most-used platform for ebooks and digital audiobooks, which expanded offerings and reduced wait times.
New virtual learning experiences for kids and families, especially for the age 5 and under crowd and showcasing multicultural experiences.
New program partnerships with Chicago Public Library’s Austin Branch and with Oak Park’s middle school teachers and families that shine a light on antiracism learning.
New training videos to walk you through using resources like Ancestry.com, Consumer Reports, online newspapers, ebooks, digital audiobooks, movies, music, and TV series.
A new elementary school liaison who collaborates with local educators teaching kids remotely.
Virtual summer and winter reading programs for babies through kids in grade 8.
And our latest tech offerings: mobile hotspots by mail, and biweekly tech tips by email.
Your public library is here for you. Contact us at oppl.org/contact, at 708-383-8200, and via live chat on our website. We are available 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Fridays; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays; and 1-6 p.m. Sundays, and we strive to respond to you within 24 hours.
David Seleb is executive director of the Oak Park Public Library. To explore your digital library, get started at oppl.org.