This Moment in Time

I work at a boarding school (9-12) in northeastern, Connecticut. Thankfully our county (Windham) has the lowest incidence of Covid-19 in the state (page 2 of this document). Indeed, if you look on the map, we’re an island of relative safety surrounded by many counties that have it far worse. My wife works in homecare health but is not a front line responder. Still, her proximity to that sector makes us acutely aware of what factors are at play regardarding the importance of the #stayathome orders. These are strange times for everyone! For us who are accustomed to both managing an active physical space and having an institutional educational mandate, it is perhaps even more jarring. It is for me, I know. I find myself frequently wondering where and how to be of the greatest benefit to our community. In addition to my library work, I’ve offered to help students as a writing tutor, and I am as invested in my advisees as I’ve ever been. I’ve also found myself being a proctor for my own kids – a 2nd and 7th grader. It’s a lot. 

Our school made the decision to do distance learning just before our students left for spring break in mid-March. At some point in late March, it was decided to extend that directive through the end of the school year. Like most (if not all) of you, we’ve been working remotely since then. I’ve had my fair share of Zoom meetings and been on the receiving end of many a “what’s a librarian do now?” questions. I don’t need to tell you what we do. You’re living it.

Our AISL listserv has perhaps never been as active – or as helpful – as it has been in the last – has it only been 6 weeks?! I tip my virtual hat to all of you who have been sharing ideas, videos, links, recorded Zoom conferences, LibGuides, and empathetic commiserations. And while there are the ‘frequent flyers’ who post regularly, there are many of us – me included – who are the creepers. We soak up the information so readily shared. I know that I often think about chiming in, but by the time I see the note, the question has been answered – often a few times – with great insight and supporting links or materials. I think it’s fair to say that I wouldn’t be half the librarian I am without standing on your proverbial shoulders. (Though at 6’3, I would still be tall by most librarian measures.) 

AISL Height Survey

One of the things I’ve been doing is trying to keep the library relevant and present. This – as we know – is not an easy task when the library is shuttered and, as is the case with our boarding community, students are scattered all over the globe. With the help – and permission – of my virtual peers (Thanks, Nancy Florio!), I’ve created POLaR (Pomfret Online Learning and Resources), a LibGuide meant to house and organize ideas and best practices. It’s still a work in progress (aren’t we all?), and it’s not yet gotten the traffic that it deserves. However, I know that it will serve as a beneficial repository of information. We’re adding to it each week and hope to adapt it to our needs – current and future.  And these days, who knows what the future will look like? Stay Safe!

And…Congratulations to Sandy Gray on the well deserved Marky Award!

12 thoughts on “This Moment in Time

  1. Thank you for letting us know that there is value to the “creepers” as you so lovingly named them! The board has been trying to figure out what will be most helpful to members. You have at least one response to the height survey. You are going to share these “scientific” results with the world, right?

  2. Thank you for this – fun and informative! And love the Schitts Creek shout-outs….they make everything better 🙂

  3. Love everything about this post and I second Shelagh on the memes! I’m feeling a bit worn down this week and reading this was a great mood booster!

  4. Love everything about this post and I second Shelagh on the memes! I’m feeling a bit worn down this week and reading this was a great mood booster!

  5. As my school is at the halfway point in the “experiment” of distance learning, I found myself echoing many of your findings, observations, and feelings. Early this morning, I finally sat down and began a spreadsheet of the various requests I’ve attended to since embarking on spring break seven weeks ago! It’s a growing and varied document. As to creepers, I consider myself a processor. One thing I have been able to do more of during the past month is assist AISL members with article or reference requests as I’m online more and my attention is less divided than when I’m at school – I find I treat them like timed trivia questions. In the countdown to 29 May Commencement, I will do my best to make it to an AISL Zoom session. Thank you for the post! We are certainly in it together and that make’s me feel incredibly grateful for AISL colleagues!

  6. Thank you for your post, David. I’m essentially a creeper, as well, and do find the AISL listserv invaluable to my work. I love posts like yours because they help me remember others are struggling with the same issues I am.

  7. I, usually a creeper, am so thankful for all of you. Nothing makes my administration take note so much as when I say “Other independent school librarians are…..” They believe in the professionalism of NAIS, and, by extension, AISL, far more than any other professional organization to which I belong.

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