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Special Interest Group Archive: ONLINE Reference SIG 04/15/2020

These are the notes from meetings dating back to 2015.

April 14, 2020

The Reference SIG met online via Zoom. The convener was Sharon Fetters from St. Thomas Aquinas College. These are the notes and links from the meeting:

Agenda & notes

Icebreaker: Quick Introduction  



    Give an example of something you've done this week that you feel

proud of. (Not work related!) 

  • What is going on?
  • How is everyone feeling?


Work Related:

  • Are you working from home?
  • Going into the library at all? Few days a week?
  • Are you offering virtual reference?
  • What services is your library offering?
  • Do you want to continue to meet?
  • Focus more on a topic at the next meeting such as E-Resources?

Most of the conversation happened via chat, this is an edited log of the chat:

What have you done that you're proud of?

  • Started playing the Final Fantasy 7 remake and working through my backlog of video games that I have not yet finished.
  • finished a book I've trying to read for a few months.
  • I woke up early to do a couple of exercise videos.
  • Working on the sequel to my novel, but need to get back on the treadmill this week.
  •  I spent an hour on hold with Optimum and got my cable bill lowered after canceling sports and the premium channels I never watch. -- Can you host a webinar on how to do that? -- It just involves being in a place of being OK with being on hold. Speaker phone helped a lot.

Who is working from home?

  • working from home since March 16th.
  • Our entire library is working from home.
  • Yes, we've all been working from home since 3/14
  • Working from home, mostly just via email. Had a project and finished it.
  • Working from home every day.
  • Hi all from West Point ... working remotely; doing virtual reference.
  • CGCC is closed to public and staff.
  • Working from home--but thinking of returning a day a week
  • Doing lots of webinars and other forms of professional well as book and Overdrive orders. Posting a lot of resource links on our Facebook page.
  • Yes, lots of webinars & virtual meetings.
  •  I'm I rockland, we're closed
  • Orange County - we are closed in Walden.
  •  MSMC in Newburgh -- campus is closed.
  •  I was very productive initially, Slow start this week.

What work is being done this situation / good things?

  •  I don't have the long commute
  • Getting lots of projects done
  • Not a lot I normally do can be accomplished from home.
  • Love NOT commuting!!
  • My job depends on being there.
  • we've been doing a lot of virtual programming, but hard to feel as engaged.
  • I was surprised how much without the public service end
  • My wife is a clerk at a public library and is being paid, but really can't do anything productive or important from home.
  •  It’s anew way to view our world and patrons. One difficulty is not knowing when the patron leaves the chat... no virtual cues
  •  iT GIVES  .me time to learn other aspects of the library
  • Just Facebook posts for National Poetry Month.
  • We tried one, but no attendance
  • We're doing a lot of virtual reference, consultations, and instruction, but yes, it's harder to do these when you can't help people in person.
  • Mindfulness program
  • We have done a few story times.
  • We've been doing pet play dates on Zoom. We have a story hour planned for next week for National Library Week.
  • The educational sessions have been decently attended.
  • i have 8-10 showing up for a zoom book club
  • Yes. Chat and Zoom meetings
  • I am mostly concerned about not being able to help people file their census forms.
  • Yes, virtual reference, but greatly reduced demand.
  • We've always had e-mail, but not live chat
  • Not exactly. I check the reference email and help where I can.
  • Yes, by phone and email but not a lot of use so far
  • CGCC is not set up for chat reference. The only way is via email. We haven't received a lot of questions.
  • we’re only doing email and phone
  • Yup, we have virtual reference through LibAnswers. Not really a drop in questions!
  • The challenge is letting students know that our services are available. Many students don't check their emails.
  • Isn't that normally the case?
  • Truth
  • Niche Academy here!
  • We still have a staff member who sits at the desk and answers the phone M-Th 9-5
  • Yup, I serve a hospital/academic library and students in labs are being told to work on research projects, so we're getting a lot of questions about helping with those.
  • CGCC is solely electronic resources. We adjusted our ILS to extend all loan periods until May. Also, the college has made all summer classes online.
  • I created an online resources page to feature them
  • We have access to our ILS so we can do create lists (Sierra) and collection analysis
  • Course Reserve requests. We provide scans of book chapters of print materials or links to eBooks in our collection or we refer them to Redshelf or VitalSource Bookshelf
  • MSMC is buying and cataloging books as needed by students and faculty, as e-book when available.
  • We extended our due dates until the end of the semester.
  • Zoom programming, trivia & book clubs, how to videos done by staff (DIY projects, cooking etc.)
  • We just resumed ordering since B&T is shipping again
  • How are you all handling requests to pay overdue fines remotely if at all?
  • we're trying to buy ebook first before scanning materials

and streaming
RedShelf and VitalSource Bookshelf has been providing eBooks for many of our textbooks
We conveniently just signed up with Hoopla prior to closing.
Ebsco ebooks, ACLS Humanities at CGCC. Also tried plugging Films on Demand to faculty who are addicted to YouTube.
We are posting links to other services offering free ebooks and streaming services.

How is your employment status? Any layoffs?

  • Not yet thankfully
  • We've been very lucky
  • Supportive board
  • no we're been lucky so far
  • CGCC's student workers got paid for the first week, but since then no. Otherwise, we
  • I'm per diem, but still employed
  • We've been very lucky as well.
  • We're trying to ensure that everyone has something to do so that our director can justify keeping everyone
  • we're all gainfully employed and paid in full.
  • No layoffs with us. We are being paid.
  • My boss is having everyone do daily timesheets to justify keeping everyone
  • Everyone has to keep worklogs
  • same
  • Not officially
  • We all have to do daily work logs.
  • Trying to do stuff to avoid being let go.
  • our director hasn't had to justify it to the administration yet. She's doing it in case we're questioned

How is staff keeping in contact?

  • So many meetings! lol
  • a couple of Zoom meetings.
  • biweekly staff meetings on zoom
  • Yes, weekly with the library and we're part of a larger department, which also meets weekly.
  • We have all staff meetings every other week.
  • Weekly departmental meetings
  • We meet daily in the morning
  • No meetings. An occasional message from the director.
  • My thought is that our time is best used to keep learning and exploring our services, especially online.
  • I meet with my circ staff weekly
  • Department team weekly--my tech has bailed me out twice!!
  • I keep her informed of what I am doing.
  • Again, unofficially.
  • We're keeping work logs with the idea that we might need them later for advocacy.
  • We send weekly reports as a department.
  • We're keeping logs just in case the admin asks us what were doing
  • I'm trying to keep track just in case it comes up later
  • Technically, I'm supposed to be off this week, and off the entire month of May, so we'll see how this works out. I still feel like I need to be on email to answer reference questions, etc.
  • Our IT is on site and updating all PCs' OS in both branches
  •  It's never bad to document!
  • We're being asked for certificates--but I've attended several pre-recorded Webinars.  Hmmm
  • Been keeping my director updated on what I'm doing.
  • It's been good time to learn Zoom
  • watched a livestream on recording a video yesterday! was pretty helpfully for a newbie
  • I logged them in my worklog by title... but no official 'evidence' of attendance.
  • If you want to learn to code, Southeastern has licenses to Treehouse that you can borrow!
  • I got permission to study Spanish since we have large Sp speaking population
  • Here's the link:
  • SENYCON. I could use a certification for attending that.
  • Treehouse is a great platform!
  • Where are you studying Spanish [Mango]
  • I want to learn ASL
  • We just got ASLFLIX and I assigned two staff members who were interested to learn...

What about the re-opening, timelines, ideas, etc?

  • not until mid-summer at earliest at MSMC
  • Nope. It's a wait and see kind of deal
  • Nothing yet.
  • File those timelines under: FICTION
  • No timeline
  • Our closure may be extended since CGCC could be an emergency hospital site for the twin counties.
  • Director mentioned transition back will likely take AT LEAST as long as we've been out.
  • Waiting for the governor. But I'm thinking at least not until June 1
  • The earliest we'll have a vaccine is *maybe* July 2021.


  • Staff were wiping them with solution.
  • As the outbreak began everything that was returned was wiped down with Clorox wipes at CGCC.
  • We're not taking back any materials until we reopen.
  • I like the idea that coming back is at least as long as being out. It's like a breakup!
  • No physical items are circulating at all.
  • We were talking about 'curb-side pick-up' ...
  • Perhaps the most important consideration in reopening is figuring out how to effectively practice social distancing and other precautions, and getting patrons to abide by them
  • That last part of [of the above] comment is the difficult part
  • I have already been told to start planning a virtual summer program
  • Our Director joked about directional arrows on the floor a la grocery store!
  • Some our patrons do not seem to be champion hand-washers...sadly
  • So many people!
  • My own sister asked why I was being distant a couple of weeks ago.
  • The road outside my house is just as busy as ever.
  • Our Director is planning  to provide us with masks (eventually)...has suggested we each obtain one to start with.
  • Hopefully masks will be available. They're pretty hard to find.
  • Our desk staff share computers and phones at the Reference Desk.

should we meet again?

  • I think this is valuable. I got some great ideas to talk with my director about things to consider when we reopen.
  • This is was great for me. I'm not alone!
  • I wasn't kidding about all the meetings lol We're having one at 3 at my library to talk about what to do when we reopen funny enough. I'd love to meet again, this was great.
  • I enjoy finding out what others are doing.
  • Whenever we want to do it, I'm on board.
  • Supporting each other at a distance, of course, is key
  • practice--proto-type
  • Great presentation and very informative
  • early May is fine for me
  • Far away from all of this!
  • Was just thinking how availability is soooo  much less an issue.
  • I think this format worked good. Updates would be valuable.

14:58:26     From  Carolyn Bennett Glauda : May 6, 2020 at 2pm


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