We have been asked a fair bit recently about our choice of Zoom for our online book groups etc. It is not a perfect platform and there are some valid concerns about its security. This post will explain why we chose to use Zoom, why we continue to use it and what our patrons can do to keep themselves and our meetings secure.
We chose Zoom because it is simple to use. Many of our patrons are not comfortable with modern technology. We felt that if we asked them to use anything slightly difficult, they would just choose not to attend. Secondly, Zoom was popular and free to our users. We felt that if families on lockdown would be using it to connect to each other, we shouldn’t use something different. Finally, Zoom works on every device from phones to desktops and on every major operating system. It also allowed telephone participation. We did not want patrons to be excluded from our programs simply because of the device they used to connect to the Internet.
Our decision to use Zoom was made at a chaotic time. It took less than 24 hours to go from discussing whether we should require patrons to use the self-check machine to closing our doors indefinitely. In a confusing and frightening time, our focus was to provide the sense of normalcy and continuity libraries represent as quickly as possible. We did not want to wait to provide a perfect system some time in the future. So we chose Zoom.
We believe that was the right choice. Zoom has had security problems in the past. It may have been cavalier about resolving them. However, as far as we know, there are no security issues now nor have there been any since we started using it. We do know it has worked. There were over 100 attendees for Fiona Davis last Sunday. Our Zoom Practices are well attended. We have not been Zoombombed, yet.
There are some things our patrons should know and should do to continue this success:
- Since many of our patrons find passwords problematic, we are not requiring passwords to enter our meetings.
- We are avoiding Zoombombing by sending out invitations to the meetings the day before. Please don’t share invitations. Rather direct anyone who is interested to the program’s entry on our Monthly Calendar. They can request an invitation there.
- We will never ask to take control of your computer via Zoom. Anyone who purports to be from the Library and who asks to do so is up to no good.
- If you are unfamiliar with Zoom, or know someone who is unfamiliar with it but wants to try it, we have Zoom Practices every Wednesday at 4pm. Invitations are available via our Monthly Calendar.