While most of us are working from home during this unprecedented time, it may prove difficult to find enough work to keep librarians and library staff busy without the use of the actual physical library building and materials. Below is a curated list of ideas for librarians and library staff working from home.
- Read articles and books for professional development. They do not have to be specific to the world of libraries, either. Booklist, Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly have all recently made their content freely accessible for everyone. Click the links to access the free journals, including online content and fully-digitized print issues. These are great tools for collection development, but there are many professional library articles as well.
- Plan a new program or service.
- Prepare for a future program. For example, cut out shapes for a future storytime.
- Read a book to someone – a child, an isolated elder, a family member in another town – on the phone or through Facetime or Zoom.
- Stock up your Goodreads “pantry”. Start a Goodreads, if you do not have one already, and stock up the shelves with books you have read, favorites lists, books you want to read, etc. Encourage your staff to do this, so that your shelves can be used for reader’s advisory with your patrons in the future. This idea originated from the RA for All blog.
- Participate in professional development webinars and virtual trainings. The Indiana State Library has an archived webinars page here. This is a great time to earn LEUs and TLEUs. ALCTS also has a substantive amount of archived webinars available here. Not all of them pertain to cataloging.
- Create social media posts and blog content for future use.
- Create instructional videos to help patrons with various services. For example, how to access digital content, how to place holds online, etc.
- Record book trailers or write book reviews to be used on social media or with upcoming programs.
- Technical services staff may be able to do some cataloging and metadata work remotely.
- Keep in contact with other staff members through video conferencing, using any of the following platforms: Google Hangouts, GotoMeeting, Zoom, Slack or Trello.
- Collection development for eBooks and digital audiobooks through Overdrive, Hoopla, etc.
Additionally, MCLS has created a handy list of tools and resources to utilize when working from home, which is available here. This is not an exhaustive list of activities. Your library may have come up with some different ideas that have been working well for you. Feel free to share those ideas with us at the Indiana State Library, and we’ll be happy to add them to our list. We would encourage you to be kind to yourself during this stressful and uncertain time. Don’t feel like you need to be watching webinars every waking minute and get completely burnt out or experience technology overload. In the words of the great Theodore Roosevelt, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
Submitted by Laura Jones, Northwest regional coordinator, Indiana State Library.