BC Libraries, COVID-19 Edition

Since the closing of BC Libraries in mid-March, BC Libraries staff are working from home and at O’Neill and Bapst Libraries to provide you with the resources and services you need. The profiles and photos in this first part of a two part series show how, like the rest of the BC community, library staff have been adapting to new and unfamiliar circumstances.

My biggest challenge with working from home has been finding *just* the right spot in my house: somewhere with 1) a door that closes 2) a desk (I ended up creating one with a filing cabinet turned sideways, a board, and a clavichord) and 3) adequate Wifi. That last was the hardest part! The best part about working from home? Not commuting!! With two hours of extra sleep per day I’m finding I can actually be somewhat coherent in those 3:00pm meetings! Now the question is, how to keep that up when we go back?

Emily Singley, Head of Library Systems
Emily Singley, Head of Library Systems, working from her home office

Three staff members continue to work onsite at Bapst Library, scanning books and articles for Interlibrary Loan. We miss the students and we miss huge tours rumbling up the Gargan Hall staircase. We look forward to welcoming the BC community and our visitors back to the library and directing them to Gargan Hall and our lovely stained glass windows.

Bapst Library Staff Members
Anne Marie Dolan, Evening Supervisor, Bapst Library, scanning ILL request, empty candy machine in background (Photo: Laurie Mayville)
Arlene Feinberg, Daytime Coordinator, Bapst Library cropping an ILL scan (Photo: Laurie Mayville)

Since the pandemic, I’ve been working in my bedroom at home, which is where my desktop computer is set up. It’s been interesting trying to work here since I’m so used to separating my work from my personal life. I normally associate my room with the idea that it’s a place to relax, so I’ve had to change that thinking recently. However, I’ve really enjoyed the flexibility it offers my daily schedule, and not having to commute every day has given me some time back during the day!

Staff Member in Access Services

One of my most endearing childhood memories is watching cartoons on TV every Saturday morning. Among my favorites was the “The Jetsons” a story about a space age family, and a memorable scene was when Jane Jetson put on her “morning mask” to answer her video phone. I doubt that I will ever be used to video conferencing and I am in meetings twice a day!

Laurie Mayville, Manager, Bapst Library
Laurie Mayville, Manager, Bapst Library (in foreground reflection) photographs Brandon Isom, CSOM ‘20, in the Digital Studio.

Pros: No commute! Ice cream is now a workplace snack. Sweatpants are now appropriate workplace attire. Cons: I am an extrovert, so not seeing my coworkers or the students is hitting me hard! I find myself looking forward to meetings more than usual… I have really grown in appreciation of the technology that allows us to continue to work and serve the students’ needs. It’s amazing how many services we can still provide that, even ten years ago, would have been brought to a standstill in the current situation. I am also made acutely aware of how much of our job is “presence”; how second-nature that presence feels when we are able to be at the library in person, and how intentional I must be to create it in these new, remote circumstances.

Eric Surat, Evening Supervisor, Theology and Ministry Library 
The work-from-home workplace of Eric Surat, Evening Supervisor, Theology & Ministry Library. Note ice cream.

After a couple of days straining my neck working from my laptop at the kitchen table, I’m using the magic of Google Drive to work at the iMac sitting on my IKEA desk. Much of my day is the same: answering email from faculty and students about their classes, their research, and our collections. What’s most different is not seeing students–it really clarifies for me that my favorite part of my work is helping students one at a time. I miss my colleagues, and I want them to be safe and well. And I hope that everyone will remember that this is not, cannot be, business as usual. Good enough is good enough.

Chris Strauber, Classics, Philosophy & Theology Research Librarian

While the frequent changes at the libraries throughout March resulted in a fair amount of chaos, I feel like I’m starting to settle into this new routine now in April. Typically, I work evenings/nights, but now that I’m working remotely four out of five days a week, I’m on a 9-5 schedule, which has almost been more of an adjustment than working remotely! I thought at first that I wasn’t going to be able to do much of my work remotely, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised as to how much I can still do with the VPN and the right software installed — submit scan requests, upload PDFs to course reserve lists, process streaming videos, and much more. While it is hard not being onsite sometimes…  working remotely does give me considerable peace of mind that I’m doing all I can to stay healthy and keep others healthy.

Staff Member, Access Services

Alison Beattie, Access Services Specialist, O’Neill Library, smiles from an improvised desk in O’Neill Library. (Photo: Laurie Mayville)
Joseph Ogazie, Lynch ‘20, retrieving books for scanning (Photo: Laurie Mayville)
Ben Kelly, Morrissey ‘21, shifting books in a project that continues in spite of the shutdown. (Photo: Laurie Mayville)
Andrew Isidoro, Public Services Specialist, Burns Library, in an online meeting with Burns colleagues Christian DuPont, Barbara Hebard, Tess Amram, Elizabeth Sweeney, Elizabeth Carron, and others not pictured.
Carolyn Jupiter-McIntosh, Document Services Specialist, takes a short break from scanning, with a student assistant in the foreground. (Photo: Laurie Mayville)
Hannah Clay, Morrisey ‘20, processing journals and serials. (Photo: Laurie Mayville)
John Kern, STM ‘24, retrieving books for interlibrary loan. (Photo: Laurie Mayville)
Jack Kearney, Digital Archives Specialist, Digital Repository Services, in his work-from-home office.

Steve Runge

Learning Commons Manager, O'Neill Library

Laurie Mayville