Northeast Ohio libraries offer a variety of digital services

Libraries have become more digital since the pandemic. With many more moving further in the direction of technology many libraries offer digital services as well as modern technology for check out.

Euclid Public Library offers a variety of digital options for patrons.

Before the pandemic, the library offered virtual tours via personalized VR head sets, among them a popular virtual reality tour of the Anne Frank house.

Due to the pandemic the tours were canceled, however the library has plans to bring the feature back soon with extra sanitary procedures.

“We are always very excited to share our podcasts,” said Karla Bowman, adult services manager for Euclid Public Library. “The Checked Out podcast is something we offer where our hosts discuss local writers, newsworthy events and so much more.”

The Checked Out podcast is hosted by library Director Kacie V. Armstrong and Assistant Manager Mike Stein where they discuss books, movies, library services and upcoming events. Armstrong and Stein will often interview a guest from the Euclid area, whether it is a local writer, political official or member of the library. Each episode of the podcast concludes with entertaining or humorous news.

“This is something we enjoy providing,” said Jean Robinson, communications and multimedia specialist for the library. “Stein and Armstrong are very talented and interesting hosts. They know how to connect to our audience, and it is always very fun to hear them interact with the guests.”

The podcasts come out once a month and are available on the Euclid Public Library website or Podacastaddict.com.

Mentor Public Library offers a variety of digital and tech programs as well.

Among the services Mentor Public Library offers are monthly classes to teach those who are less technologically inclined how to operate programs such as Excel or even how to access the internet.

“Almost every day we are meeting people who have never used a computer before. We help people set up an email, basic day-to-day skills that are so easily taken for granted,” said Jason Lea, coordinator of community outreach for the library. “We want to teach here that learning a new skill is not bigger than what they are capable of. You just need to allow yourself the confidence to accrue the confidence.”

Lea said that a lot of their monthly classes are filled with young and old people wanting to learn a new computer skill or gain experience with programs. Lea said that even the simplest skill can help elevate the lives of their patrons especially older ones.

“Teaching an older person about technology can greatly increase the quality of their lives,” Lea said. “The simplest thing can change their lives like the ability to log onto Facebook to see their grandkid’s photos.”

Patrons learn how to use computers during a free class at Mentor Public Library. (Courtesy of Mentor Public Library)

Willoughby-Eastlake Public Library also needed to branch out during the pandemic, switching to new ways to bring information and connection to their patrons.

When schools switched to online learning, some students in the area found that their Wi-Fi connection was not sufficient.

The library system would work alongside local schools to offer hotspot devices for students in areas where their connection was weak.

“We not only have hotspots, but we also have bundles that have a hotspot and a chrome book, so that people can borrow that and be able to complete the work,” said Sarah Vargo, children’s services manager for Willoughby-Eastlake Public Library. “It is one of the ways we try to help people connect to the information they need.”

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