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Special Interest Group Meeting Notes: Library Support Staff 6/16/2021

Notes from the most recent meetings of special interest groups at Southeastern

June 16, 2021

The Support Staff SIG met in person at Southeastern's office in Highland, NY to network and talk about library work. The meeting was facilitated by Moshe Siegel. 


Reopening/Adjusting to changed health and safety guidelines

  • Mask requirements confusion regarding library policies vs state
    • difficult to thread the needle of following institution guidance (staff/guests must wear masks whether vaccinated or not) with quickly-changing NYS guidelines
  • Virtual events still being scheduled/held
  • Outdoor events coming into play with the better weather
  • Curbside pickup still popular, especially with parents of small children. May remain a new fixture of library offerings – staff likes it too!

Work culture discussion

  • Blurred silos of responsibility with pivot to remote work and quasi-return to office work
    • Lots of retirements and vacant positions throughout the region. Plays into blurred silos issue, and difficulty keeping various desks staffed for returning patrons
  • Issue of phone use/downtime at work: shared anecdotes of upsides and downsides to staff having access to their phones during work hours (caretakers require it; some employees might exploit the distraction; some choose to tuck their phones away to be spared the distraction!)
  • Civil Service tests vs. reality
    • How accurate are the tests? Statements in some tests along the lines of “Computers will never be used in libraries” indicate they are extremely dated and not relevant to modern institutions
    • Ways to get around the limited availability of tests and hack the “top 3” requirements for some position (a theoretical conversation, of course, not to imply anyone’s hacking the civil service program, however much it may deserve to be hacked/revised/reconsidered!)

What’s new/popular/noteworthy at your library?

  • Library of Things
    • Items that are popular among patrons: metal detectors, fishing poles, museum passes, WiFi hotspots.
    • Funding for the Things came, for some, from a grant from State Senator Metzger; some donations; some from the library budget
  • Games!
    • Pokémon GO continues to bring people to libraries, which in many cases are locations within the game
    • Dungeons & Dragons games are organized at some libraries
    • Videogames are also popular but frequency of use by patrons wanes as newer systems come out (and sometimes, games vanish thanks to sticky fingers)
  • Notably less “paper” in some libraries, in favor of eBooks/online offerings/community event or activity focus
Southeastern NY Library Resources Council
21 South Elting Corners Road | Highland, NY 12528
Phone: (845) 883-9065