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Special Interest Group Archive: ONLINE LSS 05/05/2020

These are the notes from meetings dating back to 2015.

Meeting notes

The Support Staff SIG met online via Zoom. The convener was Carl Hoyt from Bard College. These are the notes and links from the meeting:

Support Staff SIG 5/5/20

1. Introduction and greetings

Currently Playing: Blue Sky Blues by Kara Square (c) copyright 2019 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft: Admiral Bob

2. Updates: 

How are people managing to work?

  • It can be really challenging to balance work when kids / partners are also at home.
  • Hard to separate work life from home life. 
  •     Some library work doesn’t translate as well to a virtual setting. 
  •     There is some anxiety / guilt over not being able to get into the library as usual and do work. 
  •     Human connections are important  some have been making efforts to contact staff or patrons to check in. 
  •     It can be challenging to reach out to certain populations, especially those who are not as comfortable with technology. 
  •     Virtual meetings/ trainings are great, but also sometimes a challenge  it can be overwhelming sometimes to concentrate on other people, as well as the chat, all at once. 

What are people doing outside work to stay sane?

  •     Cleaning! 
  •     Puzzles
  •     Online trainings  webinars 
  •     Baking
  •     Family tree work 
  •     Walking 
  •     Baking 


What are some things we have started doing that we would like to continue?

  •     The online presence is really connecting with patrons. They seem to enjoy having programs available online. 
  •     For Southeastern, it has shown that virtual programming can be supplemented to in-person programming. 
  •     There seems to be a little more empathy and consciousness of each staff member’s importance compared to before. 

Dealing with uncertainty

    Potential of job cuts, particularly as state aid is threatened, is scary. 

3. Re-opening

How do we feel about re-opening?

  •     Re-opening is going to be a challenge; there are a lot of concerns / considerations. 
  •     It is anticipated that a massive volume of books will be returned at once  it will be a challenge to check everything in with the appropriate safety measures. 
  •     It is sometimes scary when you are working in a public setting  don’t want to bring it home to families. 
  •     There is so much that is still unknown  can be very scary and overwhelming. 
  •     It is going to be hard to enforce regulations, particularly in a public library setting. 
  •     People want to go back, but are also scared. 
  •     One suggestion would be to allow a choice - if you are immuno-compromised, have the option not to return. 


One plan: 

  •     request books Monday 
  •     Tuesday books are placed in bags 
  •     Wednesday pick up books 
  •     Through the rest of  week, books are quarantined until it seems they are safe
    • Contemplating not letting people inside at all. 


 Cuomo’s plan requires isolation room for people. 

  •  Removing some of the chairs - spacing them apart. One way in / one way out in the aisles -> similar to grocery stores. 
  •  Put an “x” on tables where people aren’t supposed to sit. 
  •  These ideas can even be good for staff members. 

How are libraries going to protect staff and patrons safe? 

  • Are there protections and policies that would make us feel better?
  • strong guidance from the administration can be really helpful. Regular communication is also beneficial. 
  •  PPE: how are libraries going to afford supplies when competitors are price gauging? 
  •  Important to know how materials can be cleaned 
  •  Computer use will have to be restricted. 
  • How do we go about putting those into practice?

The Support Staff group could be a place to share methods of re-opening and exchange ideas. This could help to create a document that could be shared with individual libraries. 

What sense do we have of how patrons will react or behave?

  •     There is a lot of frustration with the libraries being closed. 
  •     Many people are missing libraries and want to get back. 
  •     Many patrons are happy to be reached out to from library staff. 
  •     Some people don’t like the rules about social distancing and face masks. There is some concern that they won’t follow these in the libraries. 
  •     It will probably similar to what grocery stores experiencing  some people will follow the rules without issue, and others will be more obstinate. 

   How do we make sure that administration knows the importance of the work staff are doing? 

  •     One HR is requiring supervisors to get a list of work that staff have done in a given week. This serves as proof of what work is being done. 
  •     However, this might not take into consideration all the challenges in working from home. 
  •     Supervisors / Bosses need to speak out in support of their staff. 
  •     Documenting everything you do can be really helpful. 
  •     Budget cuts for libraries feel very imminent; there are going to be a lot of tough choices ahead. 


The next meeting is scheduled for June 2nd at 10 am. 


Southeastern NY Library Resources Council
21 South Elting Corners Road | Highland, NY 12528
Phone: (845) 883-9065