Learning Pods: Providing Safe Spaces to Work and Learn

2021 NACo Achievement Award Winner

Chesterfield County, Va., VA

About the Program

Category: Libraries (Best in Category)

Year: 2021

The Chesterfield County Public Library Learning Pod program is a rapid, iterative response to the post-COVID virtual school learning environment. All ten library branches opened meeting spaces to safely accommodate grassroots learning pods, offering teachers and families a new model for student learning using library technology, safe spaces, and staff expertise. Data-driven analytics of projected staffing needs, combined with meticulous evaluation of the service, allowed for timely innovation and nimble adjustment to the offering. To date, we’ve scheduled almost 12,000 hours of meetings (over 489 days) for over 1,400 students, educators, and those working virtually per week. We are tracking increased library card applications, volume of use, and both staff and customer feedback. Usage has broadened to learning of all kinds – workforce development, community-based learning and sharing initiatives, and adult learning including ESL and literacy trainings. Even as circumstances change and restrictions are modified, the service remains popular with educators, students, and teleworkers alike, and will continue in a post-COVID world.

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