As we look back at 2020, the OrangeBoy team extends our deepest sympathies to each member of our community impacted personally or professionally by the ongoing pandemic. As 2020 comes to an end, the challenges we faced this year are not. We continue to offer our support and guidance to all of our partner libraries that are delivering critical services to communities across the world.
In any normal year, the OrangeBoy team would take time to reflect on lessons learned during the previous twelve months in preparation for a productive restart in January. This year, however, we are struck by a mixture of profound sadness for the incalculable loss caused by the pandemic, deep humility for the many and continued unknowns we all face, and a strong sense of pride for the incredible spirit that has led to countless innovations that were created, designed and delivered in record time by libraries to ensure that vital services remained in place to those most in need.
We recently celebrated the announcement of the 2020 Opie Award. The award, which celebrates libraries that are serving their communities in inspiring and innovative ways, took on special meaning this year when it became clear to our independent review board just how many libraries were worthy of recognition. As a result, the award was expanded and we were thrilled to be able to honor eight recipient libraries that each embodied the collective energy that has been engaged throughout the country to ensure vital library services continue unabated.
The entire OrangeBoy team was inspired by the Opie Award process, and we look forward to working closely with our partner libraries to continue to innovate through the challenges that lie ahead. As we prepare for the new year, we are sharing several key trends worth keeping a close eye on for the new year:
- Cardholder Behavior has Changed, and Will Change Again- As we have previously reported, the pandemic dramatically shifted cardholder behavior to some new methods of interacting with library offerings and also accelerated trends that existed pre-pandemic. Libraries have redeployed internal resources to match these shifts, resulting in a new balance. When the pandemic finally recedes, behaviors will shift again in an unpredictable way. Some behaviors accelerated by the pandemic, like digital downloads of eBooks, will likely continue, while many others, like preferences between virtual and in-person programming post-pandemic, remain unknown. We are entering 2021 encouraging our partner libraries to keep a close eye on data trends via Savannah and to take a nimble mindset into planning so that quick reactions can be made as society starts to return to a more normal footing.
- Embrace New Strategies- Libraries around the country invested in a variety of new strategies to meet community needs during the pandemic. Some of these strategies may turn out to be time period specific, but most have the opportunity to have lasting benefit. Taking the time now to evaluate strategies employed during the past year for both effectiveness and application in the post-pandemic environment will allow your library to resume operations with a more refined approach to meet organizational goals.
- Prepare for a Surge, Plan for a Gradual Build- We are looking forward with hope as the possibility of a return to a new normal appears to be on the horizon. As cardholders begin to feel comfortable with returning to normal activities, a short-term spike in in-person visits will be likely. However, the path back to normal will take time as different portions of the community will return to normal activity at different speeds. Using cardholder data to track how different groups are engaging with your library will allow resources to be allocated effectively during this extended transition period.
The OrangeBoy team is thankful for the opportunity to work with each of our partner libraries through a truly unique and challenging year. While there are many challenges ahead, we hope each of you will have the opportunity for time and reflection during this time and wish everyone a healthy, happy holiday season.