Features, Teen Librarian Archives

Teen Librarian Archives: May & June 2020 *Being a Librarian During COVID-19*

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Today I’m back with another edition of Teen Librarian Archives!  I’ll be sharing what it’s been like being back at the library after an 8 week closure due to COVID-19…

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On May 12th, I went back to work after being off work for 8 weeks due to COVID-19.  From May 12th through June 20th, only staff was allowed inside the building.  During this time, we were open for curbside service only.  Our patrons were so grateful that we were able to reopen, if only in a limited capacity.

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The employees in our system took selfies at home to share on our library system’s social media.  We definitely missed our patrons!

Since our building was only open to employees, we were able to tackle some of the projects that we hadn’t been able to get around to for various reasons.  My first big project after returning to work was to clean out & organize our storage room.  This was a HUGE undertaking that took me and another coworker 3 weeks to complete.

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Just some of what I pulled out of the storage room

And here are the “after” photos…

Would you look at that organization?!  I even arranged the construction paper in rainbow color order.  I wish I would have taken a before picture.  You have no idea how horrendous this storage room was before my coworker and I got our hands on it.  I had been wanting to tackle the storage room since I started back in November.  I am definitely a neat freak and the storage room gave me major anxiety every time I stepped foot inside.

In the midst of the “great storage room clean out of 2020,” we started offering curbside service.  I must say, I was surprised with the volume we were doing.  We are a tiny branch, but we are mighty!  We also launched a new service: Home Collections.  Patrons  fill out & submit a questionnaire through our website and we take that info and curate a personalized collection based on their tastes and interests!  Curating these home collections has been lots of fun & very rewarding.  I love matching readers to books they might not have chosen themselves.

On June 22nd, our library system decided that we were able to safely open our doors to patrons.  While we were happy to see our patrons again, I’d be lying if I didn’t say we were a bit nervous too.

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Welcome sign drawn by yours truly
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Youth book bundles on our front display area put together by the Children’s Librarian
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Information on COVID-19

Based off the guidance of our local health department, we enacted several changes to our library.  The library definitely looks a lot different these days…

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Our reference desk bubble…
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Our youth services castle… I mean desk 🙂

Some of our new rules…

  • Limiting the number of people in the building & limiting the amount of time patrons can stay inside the building.
  • All staff are required to wear masks.  Patrons are strongly encouraged to wear masks, but not required.

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  • All materials must be returned to our book drop, where a staff member ((in gloves)) takes the materials and places them on carts, and covers with a plastic cloth.  These carts are quarantined for 4 days before the materials can be checked in and put back on the shelves, or sent on to fulfill holds.
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Quarantined materials
  • Typically we have 6 computers for patron use, but we have limited the computers to 2.  Computer use is limited to one-hour blocks, with a 30 minute cleaning period between each available time slot.  Patrons can make an appointment to reserve a computer up to 48 hours in advance.
  • All toys have been removed from the children’s section.

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  • All tables & seating has been removed or closed off to encourage patrons not to loiter.

How have these new rules & regulations been received? 

For the most part, patrons have been very understanding and patient with all the change.   We appreciate these patrons so much because it makes our lives way less stressful.  Unfortunately, we have had a few patrons that are very frustrated by all the changes.   I wish these individuals would understand that we are operating under the direction of our health department in order to have our doors open.  These regulations are not meant to be inconvenient, but keep our staff and patrons safe.

Displays

For my display area, I wanted to showcase books by black authors to honor the #BlackLivesMatter movement.  I also pulled books about race issues & social justice.  

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Since June is #PrideMonth, I also pulled books featuring LGBTQIA+ characters.

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ProgrammingAs far as programming goes, my system has suspended all in-person programming.  For the time being, all of our programming is virtual & system wide as opposed to branch specific.

Since June, I’ve been hosting a virtual read along of The Girl Who Drank the Moon.  Each week I record myself reading a section of the book and release the link to participants.  At the end of July, we will be having a book discussion via Zoom.

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I was also enlisted in helping out with a virtual teen cooking challenge… If you knew me in real life, you’d probably know that I do NOT cook, or bake for that matter.  To say I was intimidated is an understatement.  I decided that my best course of action was to attempt to bake something relatively easy.  I settled on a recipe for blueberry tarts.

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My super sophisticated recording setup 🙂

Not only am I an amateur baker, but I also had to figure out how to record myself doing the actual baking.  Lots of lessons were learned during the making of this video.

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Full disclosure: I totally had to message a friend to make sure this was what the tarts were supposed to look like.  To my surprise, I managed to successfully make these tarts and they were not only edible, but delicious!

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I also learned that I will probably never be a YouTuber.  I am super awkward on video… Trust me, it was painful to watch…. this is NOT me being modest.

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Is your local library open?  If so, have you visited lately?

Does your local library have new rules & regulations since COVID-19?

Do you have any questions about working at a library during COVID-19?

Comment below & let me know 🙂

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