Zoom for Public Libraries

Online meetings are becoming the norm for many of us for a variety of reasons. Some libraries are migrating their in-person programming to online formats using tools like Zoom or Facebook Live. Since some libraries are still are operating in a limited capacity, their physical meeting spaces may be off-limits, but online meeting spaces are still available and being created using tools like Zoom. 

So what exactly is Zoom and how can public libraries use Zoom to meet community needs?

What is Zoom? Zoom is a cloud-based video, audio, and chat communications service that keeps people connected while staying physically distanced. You can attend meetings, classes, and other programs while safely staying at home. It’s free to use, and not hard to set up.

The importance of libraries providing community meeting space has increased over the years. The remote workforce is a growing trend, and workers are looking for spaces to work outside of the home. Library meeting spaces are being used as co-working spaces, school tutoring sessions, group study, community organization meetings, and more. With many libraries closed or operating at limited capacity due to COVID-19, libraries can combine the need for space by shifting the physical meeting rooms to online spaces. 

Zoom video communications is a highly popular service that has become a necessity during the pandemic as people look for ways to connect to coworkers, family, teachers, friends, anyone they’re unable to meet with in person. Zoom provides virtual programming and chats to enable this continued connection.

How can public libraries use Zoom? 

Librarians can offer the library Zoom room reservations in the same way that physical meeting room reservations work. Librarians can also use Zoom for online programming. Record meetings and invite patrons to attend live. They can upload it to their website for later viewing or make the recording link available on Facebook. Zoom can be used for the same type of programming as Facebook live, such as storytime, yoga, book club, or guest speakers.

The main difference is using this platform as an online alternative to reserving a physical room. This offers patrons the same services but just within an online platform. Librarians can use a similar system to their in-person meeting room reservation for Zoom rooms. Be sure to promote this new service in any place you typically communicate about these things such as, Facebook, email, handouts with curbside pickups, or signage in the windows. 

Resources and tips

This article is a great resource for Zoom logistics and management within your library. 

This article is a great resource for Zoom meeting security tips. 

This is a great resource guide for setting up meetings based on type.