Monday, April 13, 2020

A Day in the Life of a COVID Work from Home Librarian

The world's a bit wonky right now and I know many (most? all?) of us are out of our normal daily routine. The life of librarians during the COVID-19 Pandemic looks very different right now and there are librarians dealing with all kinds of situations. There are librarians working from home (like I am lucky to be able to do). There are librarians not allowed to work from home, librarians who are reconfiguring jobs now that they can't do the work they normally would do, there are librarians who are on paid leave or unpaid leave or furloughed or laid off. My experience is by no means representative of the librarian population at large, but I thought you might be interested to see what a work from home day looks like for me.

So here we go... tomorrow might look completely different...

6:30am - My husband's alarm clock goes off and we both get up and start getting dressed. I check personal social media and snuggle with my cat Howie for a little bit before getting dressed. Yes, I'm getting dressed, doing my hair, and putting on makeup and earrings every morning. It helps me feel a little more normal at a time when nothing feels normal.

Photo of a librarian taking an early morning walk around the block

7:30am - I walk around the block for a morning "commute" and then eat breakfast. It's been helping me to add some movement in throughout my day, so I try to replicate the approximate times I would be traveling to and from the library with a short walk in the morning, at lunch time, and in the afternoon when my work is done for the day.

8:00am - I get settled in my "office" and start checking emails. In addition to going through my own email, I'm periodically checking our general information email where we've directed patrons to contact us with questions or help getting connected to our digital materials. We have several librarians checking it throughout the day to provide responses as quickly as possible. I also check our library's Facebook page to check for any questions or requests for help that have come through on there.

Photo of my "office" - a corner of my library with an armchair and a reading lamp. It's not the most comfortable for long-term sitting, so I tend to move around my house throughout the day.

8:30am - Only a few emails this morning, so I start working on some blog posts. Our staff blog is one of the few ways we have to communicate with our patrons right now, so we're trying to update it daily-ish. During normal times we update it twice a week and I have a team who are scheduled to post. We've been getting a lot of questions about accessing our digital resources, so I write up a post about getting started with our digital services for easy sharing.

10:45am - I switch over to working on creating some Hoopla collections. We are preparing to run our Summer Reading Program virtually, so one thing I have been thinking of is how to translate our grade-level book lists to digital formats. So far, I've been working with Hoopla and I'll tackle Overdrive in the future, too.

12:15pm - Time for a walk around the block and lunch! I heat up some 5 bean chili and watch an episode of Kim's Convenience while I eat. That's been a nice, happy show for me during this quarantine.

1:15pm - Back the the grind with more emails. I check up on some emails to patrons, answer emails about ALSC committee work and our spring reading program.

Photo of my "coworker", my cat Howie snuggling on my legs as I work

2:30pm - Time to work on some purchasing. I am still ordering materials while we are closed, although we are having our physical shipments held until we get staff back in the building regularly. Of course I am ordering digital materials, as well. My director has just cautioned us to be careful with our spending since tax delays and a high unemployment rate may affect our funding and the timing of getting our cash draws. I've recalculated my weekly spending goals and I'm sorting my "Upcoming" carts by popularity to make sure that I'm prioritizing the more popular books coming out in the next month or so.

4:00pm - Time for a brief ALSC Membership Committee meeting via Zoom.

4:30pm - Our meeting's done, so I check email again and then "clock out" and head to the park for a stress relief walk. I have been walking up a storm to help keep my anxiety at bay and to get some movement in my day since I'm sitting all day now. I'm on the lookout for ducklings at my local park, but haven't spotted any yet. I'm sure there will be some soon!

Photo of a tree with white blossoms against the blue spring sky

5:30pm - Back from the park, I check all of the email inboxes one last time before unplugging for the evening.

5:40pm - I shower from my walk and start cooking dinner (tacos tonight!)

6:30pm - My husband and I eat dinner and watch the news, Wheel of Fortune, and Jeopardy (our normal routine).

8:00pm - I get started on some work for NoveList. I love my side gig writing readalikes as a NoveList contributor

8:00pm - WELL. The plan was to work on some NoveList work after dinner, BUT my amazing husband bought me a Nintendo Switch for our anniversary, so instead we spend the evening playing Animal Crossing. I'll work on NoveList stuff this weekend. ;)

10:00pm - Heading to bed with a book. I'm reading Parachutes by Kelly Yang (her YA debut) and I'm loving it.

10:30pm - I'm exhausted and it's time for lights out. Good night!