This year, we had planned our annual Día de los Niños celebration at Daly City Public Library, John Daly Branch. Día de los Niños is an annual celebration that emphasizes the importance of literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds. This year, we decided to make it a more participatory event, and we wanted children to not only listen along to stories, but to sing and dance as well! We found those qualities in Cascada de Flores, a bilingual musical, storytelling, and dancing troupe who have performed in over a thousand Western US schools and Libraries reaching over 500,000 children with their educational program. Cascada de Flores is also local, being based in the SF Bay Area, and has performed in other Daly City events in previous years.
In March, our plans shifted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Libraries all around the Bay Area were closing, including ours, limiting programs and services to our surrounding communities. Patricia Delara, the librarian at John Daly Branch, wanted to try another approach to continue the celebration. With the encouragement and support of the Daly City Library staff and the help of Arwen Lawrence from Cascada de Flores, the performance was not cancelled and moved to a fully-online program to be held via Zoom. This was Daly City Library’s first online program to be held via Zoom during the pandemic, and it would serve as a learning tool for future virtual programming. We ensured that our patrons were able to know about the performance as well as how to register and sign up for Zoom. The library staff created a separate webpage for the event so it was easy to promote to our community.
On the day of the event, April 29, we were astonished to learn that we had a total of 46 registrants for the program! To ensure patron confidentiality and safety, program attendees did not have video turned on. However, the event was still participatory in that attendees were able to chat with the performers, speak with them directly via audio and microphone, and use the “Raise Hand” feature. It was a delight to hear our patrons enjoying the program!
Overall, we are overjoyed that the response and reception to our Día de los Niños program was overwhelmingly positive. It had exceeded our expectations! Choosing to continue the performance online was a challenging yet rewarding success.
Patricia Delara, Daly City Public Library