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How We Work During the Pandemic: Amy Stanforth

Hello ACRL-Oregon members! During this pandemic, the way we all work and serve our patrons has radically changed. Inspired by the bloggers at ACRLog, we thought we’d provide a window into how some of your Oregon colleagues are managing during this time. During this week, we’ll be posting several blog posts from members of the ACRL-Oregon Board. We’d also love to hear from you! If you’d like to share your experiences on the blog, please feel free to email Meredith Farkas and respond to any or all of the following prompts:

  • What’s the situation at your institution, at the time of writing?
  • What is your day-to-day look like on the job right now?
  • What has surprised you most about library work during this crisis?
  • What has surprised you most about library work during this crisis?

Our third post is from Amy Stanforth, Research & Instruction Librarian at Portland State University and ACRL-Oregon Board Member.

What’s the situation at your institution, at the time of writing?

We are currently in Week 10, so we are in the sweet spot of reflecting on our work over the past few months and making informed decisions about how to move forward.  Some of the things we are reflecting on include serving our various populations.  I’m reflecting on our students  who are in a forced remote environment and supporting them as they learn new ways to engage with learning materials and connect with other students. How to sustain a sense of campus culture and connect them to the services they need both on and off campus?  We are serving faculty through the transition to online learning and as they plan for remote summer classes and possibly fall classes as well.  Additionally, as a large, urban institution located in a downtown core, we are serving the community and our housing and food insecure patrons who rely on us for safe and clean spaces.  We are finding the balance between learning from our experiences and anticipating upcoming changes, which seem to shift with every week that goes by. 

What is your day-to-day look like on the job right now?

Each day initially feels the same for me.  I wake up, have coffee and make my way to my makeshift office – which is currently set up in my garden shed, and start running through my emails.  However, so much has changed in terms of meetings being online, finding ways to engage students with remote instruction, and trying to anticipate the changing needs of the campus community.  I’ve had to step outside of my comfort zone and find new ways to reach out to my colleagues.  I can be pretty chatty and have always used that trait to engage with my colleagues about brewing ideas for our work.  I’ve had to translate my chatty ideas into concise words and send them in emails.  Additionally, it’s been tough to gauge how my coworkers are doing, what their capacity is, and trying to be mindful of each person’s circumstances as they deal with Covid, and Covid-related impacts, both at work and at home.

What has surprised you most about library work during this crisis?

I’ll take a different approach here and say what hasn’t surprised me, and that is the continued dedication, care, and support of our faculty, staff, and community to the success of our students.  And the reciprocal dedication, care, and support of our students for the PSU community.

2 Responses

  1. Amy, what great, reflective comments on our current situation! In this small space you’ve really highlighted some of the major issues – maintaining and adapting all of the work that need to be done, quickly responding to new technology and new environments, and trying to approach it all with a sense of caring for the students and self-care for the librarians.

    If anyone can reinvent 21st century librarianship on the fly, with a heart, I know it’s you!

  2. Aptly put Amy! What I find interesting during the Covid-19 era is this new sense of time that leads to more awareness of all of our efforts to support our students. Your analysis is right on the mark. Thanks!

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