Dickinson Library’s new virtual programming a success for 2020

Library manager Rita Ennen presented an annual report to the Dickinson city commission on Tuesday, June 15, at its regular meeting at town hall. In 2020, the Dickinson Area Public Library received 38,836 visits to the main library. A total of 1,608 people participated in in-person programs before the March shutdown and the library recorded 58,868 website visits last year.

When the coronavirus pandemic erupted, the Dickinson area public library was forced to close its doors to the public from March 16 to May 31, posing a challenge for staff to invent new ways of delivering services. to the community.

“(Along with) the highlights of the library’s programming, that’s another one of those things where this year was really different,” Ennen said. “So from the start of the year until March, we had our usual schedules. We ran 48 programs in those first two and a half months… So on March 16th we closed and we said, “Okay, we don’t know how long this is going to last, but we think it will. take a while. We started to rethink how we deliver these same types of services, and what we did was a combination of take and make and virtual programming. “

Library Director Rita Ennen addresses the Dickinson Town Council with an annual report from the Dickinson Area Public Library on Tuesday, June 15, 2021 (Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press)

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A month after the start of the pandemic, the library had already hosted storytime sessions via virtual programming on its Facebook page with four different times throughout the week, Ennen said. The virtual programming far surpassed any in-person attendance record of 28,163 total views.

“It was a lot of work and I’m very, very proud of my staff for the way they came together, put in effort and learned to do new things so that we can continue to serve the public,” said she noted.

The library is only open by appointment from June 1 to 26. With its usual summer reading program, the library found a new way to host this program through Beanstack – a virtual reading journal service.

On June 29, 2020, the library reopened, followed by the return of Slope County bookmobile routes in October. The library resumed full regular hours at the main branch on November 9, 2020.

In 2020, the Dickinson Area Public Library was open 3,388 hours, including 2,501 hours at the main library, 168 hours in the bookmobile (80 stops and 4,122 miles) and 719 hours in Medora.

The library’s collections totaled 154,882 in total. Printed materials were 81,819, e-books 38,779, audio / CDs 18,993, video / DVD 12,124 and other items 2,619.

Although the coronavirus pandemic presented persistent challenges, library staff were able to alleviate those barriers while remaining available to the public, Ennen said.

“Coming out of 2020, we really had the opportunity to learn some things and we have things that we will move forward in our services forever,” she added.

Throughout the summer, the library will be doing a few pop-ups during the First on First Dickinson Summer Nights concert series.

Library hours are 9 am to 8 pm Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. For more information call 701-456-7700 or visit dickinsonlibrary.org.


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