Virtual Services: Partnerships & Collaborations

Reading is Instrumental

Berkeley Public Library (BPL) helped facilitate the virtual program "Reading is Instrumental", which gives us an example of community partnerships. Four groups from the Berkeley community came together to produce a unique Storytime program. The Berkeley Library Foundation has been active since the 1990s and "raises the funds needed for innovations, literacy projects, and building improvements", produced the Storytime for people stuck at home during the pandemic (Berkeley Public Library Foundation, n.d.). The Berkeley Symphony, established in 1971 is known for "its commitment to innovation, community, and excellence", had a musician introduce an instrument to Storytime viewers (Berkeley Symphony, n.d.). The musician also played their instrument during the Storytime reading. A bay-area celebrity was cast to read one of their favorite books. Lastly, BPL provided their Facebook page as the platform for the live broadcast. All four members of the Berkeley community came together to fulfill a need. A need that surfaced in the community during the pandemic. People were not able to visit concert venues and/or libraries. Libraries need to change as their communities' needs change and "need to be less autonomous and adopt more collaborative approaches to engaging with and building partnerships across the community" (Garmer, 2014, p. 34).

Popping the Science Bubble

Popping the Science Bubble (PtSB) is a student organization. PtSB is made up of PhD students from UC Berkeley. PtSB organizes talks once a month with other graduate students & postdocs from UC Berkeley and other research institutions from the Bay Area. PtSB has covered many subjects including Cell Biology, Engineering, Virology, Math, Plant Biology, Computer Science, Public Health, Chemistry, Psychology, Astronomy, Neuroscience, Climate and Resource Sciences, Earth Science, and Microbiology (Popping the Science Bubble). PtSB has partnered with BPL to use their Facebook platform to show their talks to a wider audience. This program touches basis on the "Library as Platform" concept. It taps into "Connecting people seeking information to the resources, people or organizations that can provide it" and "Facilitating discovery and serendipitous encounters with information" to "Helping people solve local problems" (Garmer, 2014, p. 17-18).

Cooking Matters at Home

The Cooking Matters at Home virtual program is a collaboration between BPL and 18 Reasons. 18 Reasons wants to help their community by giving them the knowhow "to buy, cook, and eat good food everyday" and functions as a nonprofit cooking school (, n.d.). BPL provides free ingredients to accompany the virtual cooking sessions. Library users need to make appointments to pick up their ingredients and can register for only two individual classes. The program is designed for people who have limited resources and are looking to cook healthy meals. This program runs on Friday's every two weeks (Cooking Matters at Home, n.d.). This programs functions on the Library as Platform because it "creates community dialogue that makes way for new expertise and creates social knowledge" and "radically reshapes the library's daily activities, shifting away from the old model of organizing and 'lending' the world's knowledge toward a new vision of the library as a central hub for learning and community connections" (Garmer, 2014, p. 18).

-Felipe Arida

Social Media: Facebook

"Libraries are using social media to share events and pictures, educate people about services, and highlight their collections....(Bacon, 2017)." BPL has created effective and informative social media content with their attractive and well-organized Facebook page. The primary purpose of the page is to promote various activities happening at the library and feature trends in literature or libraries. Digital programming occurs on the Facebook page through storytimes, craft demonstrations and etc. The BPL Facebook page has been extremely instrumental in involving patrons in unique and interactive ways during library closures due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Patrons can use the page to find information about different branches' hours, locations and contact information. BPL also uses Facebook to advertise employment opportunities within the library. In this course we learned how social media is an alternative to the old method of advertising via flyers, word of mouth or exclusively within the library.  Patrons can access information related to library services in real time through these unique digital resources.

 These images are of recent BPL Facebook posts and video collections:

Image 1: Patrons browsing books outside of the library during the Covid-19 pandemic 

Image 2: Book suggestions for Asian and Pacific American Heritage Month

Image 3: Post featuring the BPL's vinyl record collection

Image 4: Virtual storytime collection

-Paige Stringham

References (n.d.). About us.

18 Reasons. (n.d.). Cooking Matters At Home: Berkeley Public Library [Video]. YouTube.

Bacon, M. (2017). How libraries use social media. TechSoup. Retrieved from:

Berkeley Public Library. (n.d.) Cooking Matters at Home.

Berkeley Public Library. (n.d.). Popping the Science Bubble [Video]. Facebook.  

Berkeley Public Library . (n.d.). Reading Is Instrumental [Video]. Facebook. 

Berkeley Public Library. (n.d.). Reading Is Instrumental: All-Star Storytime.

Berkeley Public Library Foundation. (n.d.). Who We Are.

Berkeley Symphony. (n.d.). Mission & History.

Garmer, A. K. (2014, October). Rising to the challenge: Re-envisioning public libraries. Aspen Institute.

Popping the Science Bubble. (n.d.). Who We Are.

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