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.)
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!