Chapter 2


There is a growing number of independent adults and adolescents who are eager to self-educate and preferably in an informal way and not bound to an institution. We provide the Development & Fulfilment Program for these individuals. We encourage this type of informal learning by offering a setting that invites people to participate. When all locations had to close on 23 March due to the national coronavirus measures, we identified alternative ways to provide service through the Development & Fulfilment Program. Reading out loud went online, people could ring the poetry line, and we sought contact with our senior library members by telephone. Art and Culture Circles (Kunst en Cultuur Cirkels) also commenced in this period. Read about these and other highlights from our 2020 Development & Fulfilment Program below.

Kunst & Cultuur Cirkel (Art & Culture Circle)

The drastic coronavirus measures severely restricted our social lives. We wanted to offer something from the library that would inspire, challenge, and unite people in a safe and easily accessible way. This became the Kunst & Cultuur Cirkel project. We began with only a few individuals, but the circle grew into a 12-member group who rang each other every fortnight. They would discuss a work of art, poem, painting, sculpture, or video. The library provided accompanying questions to help participants reflect on the artwork in a different way. They also received background information with sources and tips for further reference.

Friendships This new activity resulted in some lovely new friendships. Art goes hand in hand with all aspects of life itself, from loneliness to vacation, from sadness to happiness. One of the group members made a drawing for another member based on a subject discussed earlier. Another member sent a comforting card because life and death go hand in hand. As a result, new meaningful connections were made that differ from those made during a brief visit to the branch. In fact, as time passed, people felt the need to meet each other in person, and these get-togethers were also organized (coronaproof). One of the group members would prepare a subject beforehand, a favorite work of art, and that was then discussed. The Kunst & Cultuur Cirkel meetings face-to-face brought shared pleasure and enthusiasm. Arrangements have now been made to hold these meetings every three months. It was a great successful activity that will also continue after the coronavirus. Although only small-scale, we were able to make a difference in their lives.

AfhaalBieb (Pick-Up Library) Brilliant move

During the lockdowns, it became clear that there was an urgent need for both children and adults to borrow and read books. Library members could of course make use of e-books via the Online Library, but there was also a great demand for printed books. That’s why we launched the AfhaalBieb, initially for young members aged 0 to 14 years. Not only is reading especially important for this group, but also continuous reading. This promotes linguistic skills and reading development. Members were able to indicate their reading level and genre preference simply via a form on the website. A library staff member prepared the requested material, and then a date and time was set for book collection.

"Great what a service! Good timing because I can’t wait to read!"

Adults too However, it soon became clear that adults were also in need of reading material, DVDs and CDs, and so this service was extended. This group could now also make use of the AfhaalBieb. The frail and elderly had the option of having their books delivered to their home. People who found it difficult to know what they wanted to read were able to take advantage of the services of the regional customer service team. The AfhaalBieb turned out to be a hit. Many patrons indicated how important it was for them to be able to borrow a book or DVD, especially now. And the same applied for a short visit to the library to collect materials: just that moment of contact, of feeling a little less isolated. As a result, we were able to hand out 648 bags to our younger members and 666 bags to adults in the period up to 11 May.

The AfhaalBieb reopened when branches were forced again to close during the second lockdown in November. This time it was based on reservations. The effect of this only became clear later. This lockdown had in fact been announced beforehand, which gave members the opportunity to stock up bigtime. The reservation procedure for the AfhaalBieb has turned out to be a success. The number of bookings continues to be 40% higher than usual. Members not that familiar with online reservations were able to receive support from Regional Customer Service so that this group could also continue to read.


bags for youngsters

until May 11th


bags for adults

until May 11th

In brief

Highlights from the Development & Fulfilment Program in 2020

Telephoning seniors

There was a successful telephone campaign for the elderly during the closure of the library in spring. This was repeated during the second lockdown in November. Library staff sought telephone contact with members aged 80 years and older and, if required, assisted them on the use of e-books. Staff always enquired how they were coping and that was always appreciated. It was clear that seniors definitely felt alone at times, and that they experienced the current situation we all share as a difficult one. But when the conversation moved onto books, it almost always ended on a positive note. During the conversations, staff members suggested book titles that might interest them, and if they wanted, a reservation could then be made. Home delivery was organized via the Home Book Service for seniors who could not or were not able to collect their reserved items from the library themselves. Telephone contact with the aged proved to be crucial in this period, but not only to maintain contact with our members; the personal attention given to each member helped to strengthen our contact with them even more. Our staff members reached out to almost 700 senior citizens by keeping in touch with them this way.

‘Beautiful and great initiative! I think our elderly are quickly becoming more efficient on the internet.’

BiebStart (Library Start)

Story time took place again in 2020 during the BiebStart mornings in the Heerhugowaard Centrum, Alkmaar Centrum, Castricum and Alkmaar De Mare branches for children aged 0 to 4 years. Reading out loud is important, especially for very young children. It improves language and speech development. Occasionally, we address a theme, and at other times there is a guest speaker. Young parents learn how to read out loud, and which books are most suited during these sessions. There is also ample opportunity to chat with each other and swap ideas. Collaboration with child health clinics is currently being undertaken. The child health clinics advise parents often to visit the BiebStart mornings. In 2020, 1,564 children and 1,178 parents attended the BiebStart mornings. Story Time Online BiebStart also continued, but then online, throughout the coronavirus period and for children aged 2 to 4 years. A special studio was set up in the Heerhugowaard library for online reading. The reading out loud session always ended with a song and movement game. Sixty-six parents and their children participated in the online BiebStart sessions.

Physical BiebStart mornings


parents / carers



Online BiebStart-mornings


parents / carers and children

CoderDojo Kennemerwaard

A CoderDojo is a place where young people can learn programming. It’s an activity co-run by volunteers. We were still able to meet in person in various locations during the first two months of 2020. After closure of the branches in March, we were quick to make the dojos available online using the name dojo@home, thanks to CoderDojo Nederland and pre-existing international experience. This version proved not only popular with children nearby, but also for children from Friesland, Limburg and South Holland who knew where to find the Kennemerwaard for dojo@home. Children in our community were also able to join in with dojo@home from other libraries in the Netherlands. We were still able to hold a few live dojos in July, August, and September. This really pleased the children and mentors, and of course it only took place in accordance with the measures, but it was a tremendous boost to see each other in person again. We’ll continue to provide dojo@home the coming period.

No. of dojos


No. of participants CoderDojo


Resistance Museum Junior on wheels

The Resistance Museum on wheels rolled into various Kennemerwaard Public Library branches in the 2020 February school holiday break. This mobile feature from the Resistance Museum in Amsterdam is displayed in an almost 11-meter trailer. It was an activity for children aged 8 to 12 years, in the context of ‘75 years of liberation’. A visit to the Resistance Museum on wheels could be made at the Alkmaar Centrum, Alkmaar De Mare, and Heerhugowaard Centrum branches. The children travelled back in time to the year 1940 when the Netherlands was occupied by Nazi Germany, guided by a volunteer and library staff member. Equipped with an exercise book in hand, the children searched for items, photos, documents, and the accompanying narratives, in four different rooms. They were able to discover the true stories about the Jewish refugee Eva; the Dutch NSB girl Nelly; Jan and his parents in the resistance, and about Henk who came from a traditional family. There was a total of 280 visitors in five days and most remained in the trailer for longer than one hour. When the parents collected their children, many said the visit to the trailer had inspired them and that they would plan to travel to Amsterdam at some stage to visit the Resistance Museum or the Anne Frank House with their children. This was a wonderful opportunity for the library to introduce children to history instead of reading a book.


visitors Verzetsmuseum Junior op wielen