Coronavirus has caused us to make plenty of changes, from library closures to cancelled events and a shift from residential courses to an online environment. Here are some ways to stay busy during these uncertain times.
(Disclaimer: I do not have children or a partner, and therefore do not have to plan activities and meals for others.)
For those already in the library profession and still working, either from home or from your place of work, Kerri put together a post with some ideas of how to serve the public when the library is closed. As the unofficial cameraman for all our planned services while my library is closed, I know I’ll be coming back to it once our well of ideas runs dry. I’ve been looking at best practices for filming live storytimes and making makeshift tripod and camera set ups to record our changing locations. Also, if you missed it in that post, providing a way for non-card holders to sign up without physically visiting a library is necessary in showing how vital libraries are during this time.
Social distancing in Wyoming is easy to achieve, with its wide-open spaces and low population density. If your location allows, take the time to get some fresh air, even if it’s just opening your windows to circulate the air in your home. Maybe there’s a walking trail or neighborhood park nearby, or, if you’re still experiencing snow showers after the first day of Spring, try snowshoeing one morning. Separating ourselves from the constant updates to enjoy our surroundings will make this time easier to cope with.
Depending on the program and university, online environments are becoming a reality for many library schools. Now is the time to figure out how to learn in this setting. During my undergrad, I took a single online class, but had the option to visit the professor on campus. My first quarter is graduate school in the University of Washington’s program was more difficult than I would like to admit, as I lacked time management and self-accountability when classroom participation was not required. Coffee shops were my sanctuary and quickly became the time to get everything done, yet those are no longer available as they move to drive-thru and curbside pickup options. Finding this new third place may mean carving out a small corner of your home or apartment to be your temporary schoolwork area.
Finally, take some time to advocate for libraries in this time. Too many of our elected officials do not understand the importance of libraries, with the White House actively writing the Institute of Museum and Library Services out of the budget year after year. Any potential affects due to coronavirus will affect libraries across the country. ALA is working to build libraries into economic relief and recovery packages. The Library Recovery Funding Proposal asks for $1.36 billion to help make libraries in recovery centers, add digital content to collection, purchase hot spots for lending, professionally clean our facilities, and protect library core services as governments face a decrease in revenues. Reach out to your elected officials and make sure they know how we helped our communities during this time.
One could say that now is the time to work through our TBR piles of books, but that is always an unattainable goal. What are some other options to stay busy as we figure out how to adjust to life during this pandemic?
Conrrado Saldivar is an online MLIS student at the University of Washington iSchool and an Adult Services Specialist at the Natrona County Library.