Marigold update: April 6, 2020

Apr 06, 2020 Michelle Toombs, CEO

It has been three weeks since the COVID situation significantly changed our day-to-day lives.   Sincerely hope that you are all well and making the best of this unprecedented situation.  Marigold is taking all the necessary precautions to be compliant with the containment efforts suggested by health organizations and the governments, and the good news is that we are all well and very busy. Marigold’s Business Continuity Plan served us well as we transitioned to new ways of communicating and providing service, for which the public is grateful.  Here are several comments that the public has shared with us lately:

I really appreciate the help and effort you are putting into this right now to make our lives a bit better during this tough time! Thank you, Nancy!

It’s so great to hear a voice since we’ve been isolated.” 

Thank you! Certainly challenging times and we appreciate the work you are doing.

Because of the March 17 provincial announcement to close municipal library services to the public, several Marigold operations have temporarily ceased, such as regular van deliveries, L2U mail service and filling interlibrary loans.  Fortunately, other normal operations can be maintained remotely.  HQ staff are still ordering and cataloguing new materials, supporting IT networks and equipment, doing website and social media updates, supporting and troubleshooting access to online services, communicating with members, delivering web-based training, preparing for Board and committee meetings, interacting with vendors, paying bills, and planning online programming.  Our drivers have a long list of tasks to perform that include maintenance of our building, grounds and vehicles.

eResources use has skyrocketed throughout Alberta and so has the need for public and library staff support.  Here is a sampling of the use impact on eResources, which Marigold provides and supports, in the last couple of weeks:

  • Overdrive: 178% increase in new users, 23% increase in title downloads, almost 800 new titles added by Marigold staff
  • cloudLibrary: 317% increase in new users, 77% increase in title downloads, 350 new titles added by Marigold staff
  • Freegal:  63% increase in songs streamed
  • Niche Academy: 155% increase in tutorials viewed
  • Tumblebook Library:  150% increase in book views
  • World Book:  1050% increase in content views

There is a library card membership form posted on Marigold and member websites.  Marigold staff are registering and renewing library cards, with 670 registrations completed between March 17 and March 31.

Marigold staff are taking advantage of this situation to prepare for the move to the new building, including sprucing up our property for eventual sale, converting paper files to digital storage and discarding obsolete furniture and equipment.  All staff have tasks, such as online courses and file purging, which typically get lost at the bottom of our long to do lists. And we are all taking the phishing training that is mandatory for everyone with a Marigold-assigned email address. We stay in touch with our colleagues in other library systems with weekly teleconferences and are collaborating on projects using remote technologies.  And planning is well in-hand for the expected deluge of work when libraries open again and when we will need all hands-on-deck.

Speaking of important work, the work on our new building continues with plenty of investigation and facilitation.  Considering all that is happening, we are at an advantageous stage. Town planners and our architect are wrapping up work on the Development Permit, and the tender documents are being prepared.  Ground-breaking could begin later this spring.  We won’t be able to have a public celebration to honour the occasion, but we’ll record and share this milestone in pictures and video.

At this critical time, I would ask you to promote virtual library service as much as possible. Here are some suggestions:  tell you family and friends about the services and work that Marigold supports during the COVID crisis and how much that is valued by families who are isolated.  Forward what you see in social media and take every opportunity to try out and brag about Marigold’s eResources.  Your support is very much appreciated.

Michelle Toombs, CEO
Marigold Library System
Email:  michelle@marigold.ab.ca
Phone: (403) 404-0010