Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, libraries lost the opportunity to interact directly with their visitors so most of them are currently trying to provide as many remote services as possible by keeping in touch with the existing users and attracting new ones.

The English conversation club LET’S TALK of Gabrielė Petkevičaitė-Bitė Public Library (Lithuania) has been proven to be especially needed in the time of pandemic. The club provides the visitors with the opportunity to practise conversational skills in a foreign language, meet new people, and meaningfully spend leisure time.

The club has been attracting English language enthusiasts, professionals and people who are willing to learn for two continuous years. Each meeting is a new adventure, a new topic, and a new challenge. The need to communicate directly with like-minded people and the common goal to improve English conversation skills has brought together over thirty enthusiasts over the years.

Since March, the club’s activities have been moved into the virtual space. They are taking place on different platforms, such as ZOOM, Skype, Messenger several times a week in smaller groups (4-5 people). The specifics of working in small groups have provided new opportunities.

The opportunity to communicate remotely was not limited to the existing members who did not want to miss the opportunity to continue practising English speaking skills. New members have also joined. Four separate groups are participating in the online meetings at the present time.

Participants of the meetings appreciate the opportunity to communicate remotely. While some visitors say that the advantages include better time-management opportunities and an opportunity to look after the family members while learning remotely, others find it challenging because they miss the direct communication. The outcome is positive, however. The remote activities help to leave the comfort zone, keep the participants safe, and teach new ways to deal with the current situation.

Virginija Švedienė
Let‘s Talk Club moderator