It’s been two weeks since the end of Spring Break. Two weeks since this great Remote Learning adventure started. Two weeks of a new kind of normal.
It’s also been two weeks of Zoom meetings and chats and working from home. One thing I’ve been grateful for is knowing that my librarian friends and colleagues are in this exact same situation, and our ability to share resources and ideas. One thing we talked about in a gathering of those of us with supervisory or director responsibilities was how we kept our administration and faculty up-to-date on what we’re doing as we work from home. It’s important for many reasons, including the fact that few ever really learn about the library, even in those administrative training courses.
There was a list floating around years ago about what people thought librarians did all day. Of course reading was on the list. So was shhing. Shelving. Maybe tending cats and plants. Today, that list might include teaching a class in research or helping with citations. The important thing is, people think 99% of our job requires us to be in the library.
The reality is that maybe 10% of our job requires that (less if there’s great access to ebooks in all genres). So what are we doing all day? We set up a digital portal and encourage students and faculty to use it. We’re adding non-fiction ebooks to help students do research. In lieu of displays we’re upping our outreach on Instagram, email and our LMS. We’ve updated our Resource Guides to highlight remote learning. We’re helping students with citations and finding resources, and requesting articles for teachers. We’re still looking at what new books we would like to order just before we return. We’re updating our records to help students search, adding summaries and Tables of Contents to the MARC record. We’re tagging our fiction with diversity tags so students looking for books with certain types of experiences or characters can easily find them. We’re also pre-processing new books so all we have to do is stamp them and relabel (if necessary) when we return. Yes, we’re still recommending reading for pleasure books, hoping that students have a library card from a system that has the book.
And that’s just within the past two weeks. Who knows what we can accomplish by the end of the month?