Last week we finally heard from our Head of School what the start of the year would look like. Because Milton is such a complicated school, with three divisions, two of which are day only and one of which is day/boarding, decisions needed to be made by division rather than school-wide. Result? Our Lower and Middle Schools will be opening in a hybrid model, while our Upper School would be opening completely remote with a goal towards going hybrid with the day students (it’s unclear if the dorms will open at all, given travel restrictions and quarantine requirements). Ok. That gives me and my team something to work with.
In his post on library reopening plans… David talks about all the things that he and his library partner are doing/thinking about for the start of his school’s year. It gave me some food for thought about what we need to do for ours. There’s a lot of overlap, for example:
- Entrance and exit (we could create a one-way system, but that would conflict somewhat with the students needing to go to the Skills Center or the bathrooms)
- Temporarily changing our collection development priorities (adding Overdrive/SORA will enable us to continue to promote reading for pleasure, as well as give us a good sense of which fiction books are truly interesting to our students; our non-fiction collection development may be slower this year than before but it will still continue, since we know those books will be needed in future years)
- Public library cards (BPL offers ecards to all students in the Massachusetts area, so we’re promoting them; we’re also recommending that students get a card from their local PL… as long as those stay open)
David points out other issues, like determining what the capacity of the space will be and how they’ll minimize high touch areas. We know that the Middle School won’t be coming into our building, and that when the Upper School goes hybrid any students coming in will be there for a class in one of the three-four classrooms or assigned there during a free; there will be no “let’s go hang out in the library/student center/arts building” until this is all over. We also know that our office space can only hold two, not four, librarians at a time. And that we will not be lending laptops to students.
Between now and the end of the month we will be working on creating tutorials (Loom is my new bff tech tool and I’m forever indebted to Elizabeth for telling us about it!), cleaning up the catalog, redoing out Research Guides, updating the website and figuring out how to create a sense of community when we’re not providing in person service. We’ll also be thinking about how to do “curbside” service and book promotions now that physical displays aren’t possible. I’m hoping to get into the library to work on weeding the YA and adult fiction (what hasn’t circulated in five years? is it really needed??) and recataloging/reshelving some of the areas we worked on over the spring. My staff is dedicated and we’ve been working hard over the summer to figure out how to create library service and programming that mimics in person, knowing that the work we do now will help us when things are back to normal.
In my career I’ve faced many challenges, from having three supervisors in one year to a bounced paycheck to the library burning down. COVID? Just another challenge to overcome.