Museums and Libraries in Lafayette Finding Ways to Help the Community Behind Closed Doors

Amelia Lafleur

@lafleur_amelia

Despite the ban on large public gatherings and spaces, some of Lafayette’s museums and the public library are utilizing the internet to serve locals during the COVID-19 pandemic quarantine.

The Lafayette Public Library, the Children’s Museum of Acadiana and the Lafayette Science Museum are all shifting their efforts to create online spaces to post activities and host clubs and forums for people of all ages during the quarantine.

The Lafayette Science Museum has created a portal on their website to watch their weekly planetarium show, “The Sky Tonight” events, as well as their novelty weekly project  “Acadiana Skies” broadcast that is both live and pre-recorded material that covers similar topics. The Learning Portal is an evolving method of virtual education that the museum directors hope to become a valuable asset to the operation. In these portals, there will be short videos on the ongoing research and exhibits we have here at the Lafayette Science Museum.

“This is our way of reaching out while we must all stay in,” said Kevin Krantz, museum director.

The Children’s Museum of Acadiana is taking a different approach to utilizing the internet. They are using social media outlets, such as Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, to post educational and creative activities.

They post tutorials for science experiments, arts and crafts, word puzzles and an array of other material for children of all ages on these platforms several times a week.

Another service that is adapting to an all-online operation is the Lafayette Public Library. The Library’s online services have not changed much, but there has been a 20.7% increase in usage of their Overdrive audiobook database, and they have seen over 11,000 books checked out of the system in March. All students in Lafayette can use their student identification as a library card number.

The library’s website has an array of databases, and they received more resources from their vendor at the beginning of the pandemic to give more to the community. They are considering purchasing them after the quarantine is lifted.

“I’m especially excited about the TumbleBookLibrary, TumbleBookCloud Junior and TeenBookCloud. These three services offer hundreds of interactive eBooks that engage young people with entertainment and education,” said Keith Guidry, Community Relations Coordinator at the Lafayette Public Library.

Since the quarantine began, the library has also moved their Storytime events to Facebook on Wednesdays to substitute for the 20 events they would have at the libraries per week. Lafayette Public Library Director Teresa Elberson said that the Storytime events are one of the most missed aspects of the library.

“The families miss seeing their favorite librarians tell stories. So this addition of an online storytime is familiar to them and fills a need,” said Elberson.

Despite the impact of social distancing, these public services are reaching out to viewers over the internet to provide engaging and entertaining feeds for all citizens of Lafayette. The museums are available to anyone with access to the internet, and the library is free to those with a student identification card or those with library cards.

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