COVID conditions in 2021 led the library to re-imagine all of our services, striving to serve our city residents with what they needed most:
  • All RPL locations provided free face masks and COVID test kits to patrons.
  • Vaccine information and appointment help were provided at all locations.
  • The Arnett, Lincoln, Lyell and Maplewood branches served as vaccination sites in 2021. Thousands in our community received their vaccinations at libraries and recreation centers.

The Sully Branch had the WIC (Women, Infants & Children program) mobile unit visit with its curbside food market. One patron who visited the WIC mobile told Branch Supervisor Maria Heeks-Heinlein, “this market is going to make my life easier” and thought it would do very well at Sully.

The Business Insight Center (BIC) started several new initiatives in 2021:

  • Professional Hours with Tracy Jong Law Firm began in February and patrons of the Carlson Center who received free intellectual property consultations had nothing but good things to say about this new service.
  • BIC launched a new podcast called The Selden Files discussing their services and resources, with a focus on business startups.
  • With recreational cannabis now being legal, BIC offered many programs for cannabis entrepreneurs.
With COVID conditions discouraging indoor gatherings at many times during 2021, library staff got creative in planning and presenting programs for patrons:
  • At the Central Library, the Technology Center began hosting an open Dungeons and Dragons program on Saturdays. Most of the players were infrequent library users. Some were homeless, non-binary, or face personal challenges, but all found a safe space and a growing sense of community. The parents of some participants appreciated the provision of a welcoming environment that offered an opportunity for self-expression and personal growth.
  • RPL children’s services staff offered summer Pop-Up in the Park programs. The Children’s Institute’s Grow Bus was available for developmental screenings for children under five and Librarian Katie Powell offered storytimes at Highland Park, along with the opportunity to check out the library’s Nature Backpacks.
  • At the Toy Library at the Lincoln Branch, the Virtual Playtime program was a great way for kids to play together during the lockdown. Each week staff began with a puppet show or game like hide-and-seek. Afterwards, each child would get to introduce a toy they brought and Mr. Matt then helped them all play and interact with each other online.

Annual Report Highlights