What’s Working and What Isn’t: Coronavirus Edition

I am a big proponent of experimenting with library programming and services, as failures can teach just as much as successes. In terms of trying new things, nothing has changed with emergency remote learning. Some things work…and some things don’t.

Let’s start with the Good Stuff:

  1. Making screencasts for teachers for specific research needs has been successful using Screencastify.
  2. Creating a Remote Action Plan for the library and communicating it with Administration has been essential. It has cut down on confusion from Admin “what are you really doing from home” and with my Library Clerk “but what should I do from home?”
  3. Offering a link on our OPAC for appointments to do research, find a book, or just chat allows the students to choose how they want contact while we are in the midst of Emergency Remote Learning. I’ve found that I’ve had far more requests to just chat, honestly.
  4. Reaching out to those “library kids” to find out if they want to hang out during lunch in a Google Meet. It’s completely voluntary and has grown over the weeks through word of mouth and our school’s weekly newsletter.
  5. Channeling those librarians on horseback during the Great Depression and delivering books to students…but in my Subaru.
  6. Holding a Library and Tech Dept “coffee break” for faculty and staff who want to see familiar faces. I honestly did not expect anyone to show up, but I have been so surprised at who drops by to just talk about everything and anything.

Aaaaand, here’s the stuff that sounded really good in theory but didn’t work out so well:

  1. Scavenger Hunt and Baking Contest – Yeah, the kids just weren’t interested. With everything else they are doing for school, at home, etc., they didn’t want anything else to do. It was also really hard to get ingredients, and if a student was able to get ingredients, it was hard to keep their family members from eating it before the “judging.”
  2. Open library hours – No one showed up. It seems the students would rather schedule individual meetings at specific times.
  3. Expecting students to remember how to do things we’ve discussed 1,000 times while sheltering at home. Let’s face it, no one’s brain is working the same right now.
  4. The perfect work space – Hahaha, really? I don’t know about you, but I keep shifting all over the house trying to find the perfect combination of comfort, WiFi, light, and less distractions between my husband working from home, my daughter’s online schooling, and my DOG.
  5. A work day just like being at school – I can hardly type this while keeping a straight face. Thinking I would have a regimented and organized work day with online learning was a pipe dream. Between virtual meetings, webinars, etc., I’ve decided that I’m simply going to work when I can, BUT making sure I do have an “end” to my work day. I certainly struggled with this during those first weeks thinking I needed to be connected to my computer 24/7 in order to meet the needs of my school community.
  6. Sleeping – Please tell me I am not the only one having trouble with this. Let me know if you’ve got any tried-and-true tips!

I think the hardest part about working from home while sheltering in place is that some days are amazing and I feel totally accomplished, while the very next day finds me staring out the window just wishing I could use my best “library bouncer” voice to remind kids they can’t run in the library. (You know which ones I’m talking about.) The reality is, this is what we do. We adjust, we change, and we pivot to make sure we are providing the necessary services for our patrons. We can do this!

3 thoughts on “What’s Working and What Isn’t: Coronavirus Edition

  1. Thank you for this, Reba – you are indeed not alone! I too find the fluctuation in mood and energy to be very challenging (likely related to aforementioned sleep issues : I really appreciate this very real, very relevant list of what remote librarianship looks like for you – it really does help to know that we’re in this together.

  2. Reba, what a great blog post! Thank you for sharing your experience. I am with you and am surprised how some days can feel so productive and fulfilling and others feel like I am chasing my tail or shouting into the void. Sleep has been a huge issue for me, too. You are not alone.

  3. Thank you so much for commenting. I does feel better that we are not in this alone. However, I do wish I could get a handle on this sleeping thing…I feel like it would help to get everything else back into place.

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