Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, libraries lost the opportunity to interact directly with their visitors. This only seemed to further encourage creativity of the librarians and made some activities more flexible. Most libraries are currently trying to provide as many remote services as possible by keeping in touch with the existing users and attracting new ones.
Priorities and new opportunities
One of the priorities of today’s library, and one of the major focus areas of Gabrielė Petkevičaitė-Bitė Public Library is adult education. That is why the library organises many educational activities for library visitors. Some of them moved into virtual space.
The English conversation club LET’S TALK has been proven to be especially needed in the time of pandemic. The club provides the visitors with the opportunity to practise conversational skills in a foreign language, meet new people, and meaningfully spend leisure time.
Before and during the pandemic
The club has been attracting English language enthusiasts, professionals and people who are willing to learn for two continuous years. Each meeting is a new adventure, a new topic, and a new challenge. The need to communicate directly with like-minded people and the common goal to improve English conversation skills has brought together over thirty enthusiasts over the years. Most of them are residents of Panevėžys and Panevėžys region, but occasionally special guests also attend the meetings.
Since March, the club’s activities have been moved into the virtual space. They are taking place on different platforms, such as ZOOM, Skype, Messenger several times a week in smaller groups (4-5 people). The specifics of working in small groups have provided new opportunities. Since the club moderator becomes an immediate participant in the conversation, people can get to know each other even better. Currently, the club moderator is Virginija Švedienė, an employee of Panevėžys County Gabrielė Petkevičaitė-Bitė Public Library.
The opportunity to communicate remotely was not limited to the existing members who did not want to miss the opportunity to continue practising English speaking skills. New members have also joined. Four separate groups are participating in the online meetings at the present time.
Positive outcomes and reactions
Participants of the meetings appreciate the opportunity to communicate remotely. While some visitors say that the advantages include better time-management opportunities and an opportunity to look after the family members while learning remotely, others find it challenging because they miss the direct communication. The outcome is positive, however. The remote activities help to leave the comfort zone, keep the participants safe, and teach new ways to deal with the current situation.
Everyone is welcome to participate! The club meetings are held every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 5.15 pm, or other time, arranged in advance. Participation is free of charge.
For more information, contact the club’s moderator Virginija Švedienė
by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org