topic_interest is exactly library
March 13, 2020
unbeknownst emptinessI worked/attended CUNY Hunter College during the start of the pandemic. On March 13, 2020, we were informed that we would not be returning to work until further notice, and I believe that a majority of late-night classes/activities were cancelled. As a result, my friend/coworker and I walked around the near-empty campus. We ended up sneaking into an empty lecture hall, ate some snacks, and chatted about the future. I took a photo of our feet up on the seats as a sort of fun memento, to show how crazy it looked to see ourselves amongst the empty hall, and when a coworker asked where we are, we sent them that. The photo meant almost nothing at the time and was just a casual photo I took amongst many in my every day. Looking back now, it holds nostalgia as well as dread. I think the emptiness shows what was to come, and how terrifying it would be, and just how impactful the pandemic was on our lives. I have not stepped foot in Hunter since then, so that was truly my last time being in that school. It makes me sad and makes me think what the future would have held had these events not happened.
Sensory Roadblock: Unexpected Detriments and Benefits of Mask-wearing in Gathering Food and InformationDuring the pandemic, I opted to order all of my groceries online to be delivered. I have never been much of a take-out person and mostly cook at home, so I really love to pick my ingredients when grocery shopping. Missing the in-store grocery shopping experience over the past few years, I sometimes go out to gather my fresh foods, especially after the normalizing of social distancing and mask regulations. Though I still prefer to wear a mask, even when regulations are occasionally loosened, a sensory occurrence that I did not expect to miss or lack as a consequence of mask-wearing is the importance of smell in my food-gathering habits. Being able to check the ingredients for both flavor and freshness qualities by smelling them is such a natural instinct that most lifeforms use to find their food. I never considered myself someone who actively smells things very often, so this sensory roadblock surprised me, as I initially chose to go to the store to get better foods than those that had been delivered to me. I have often come home and found that the asparagus or meat that I had just bought had that unpleasant odor of food past its prime, even though its appearance and texture seemed just perfect. I also miss being able to smell the full intensity of the fresh-cut flower bouquets that proclaim the seasons when going out grocery shopping. This temporary lessening of sense-of-smell from wearing a mask has been a bit of a hinderance in such ways, but it has been beneficial in many others. For example, I have dust allergies and used to become very stuffy after visiting my library due to the book dust—especially since, as a history and art history graduate student, all the books that I want or need to check out are usually the oldest or dustiest ones! Not being able to smell or breathe-in these things has helped me dramatically in my experience of information gathering. I can now spend hours looking over books that I wouldn’t have thought of opening before and have found some wonderful sources for my research. Though of course many historical texts are fully available in online formats and an invaluable resource, I often feel the same way about visiting my library as I do visiting my grocery store—I hope to find something myself that might work even better for my own project, either culinarily or academically.
SMhopes at the SMPL Teen LoungeA variety of submissions to the SMhopes website, designed as posters and banners by Paula Goldman, and installed in the Teen Lounge at the main branch of the Santa Monica Public Library. The Library asked for a variety of hopeful messages as they begin having students visit the Teen Lounge again.
Computer ProblemsOver the course of the pandemic, everything went online. One of the major problems I faced was with technical capability- my computer was an older laptop, meant for doing assignments but not much else. Having to run Zoom, project applications, and other online requirements fried my laptop. It also made me think- How were underprivileged students doing work? I was lucky to even have a computer, and I mostly relied on the desktops at my university in the library before the pandemic started. Now I have a new laptop, but I know most people aren't so fortunate.
Brianna Tong Oral History, 2021/03/18Self description: “I am sitting in my bed right now as I’ve done for a lot of this quarantine. In regular times and I guess still now, I’m in three bands and I also work at the library, the public library. So I’ve been working there in person since we came back to work in May. I was contacted for this interview through Bussy Kween Power Trip, which is a Black queer punk band with three people, no guitars, so my close friends. I’m in two other bands. One band is called Je’raf and one is called Cordoba. And one person each from Bussy Kween is in each of those bands. Haven’t played a show in forever. I can give a little about what I look like or am like. I’m a woman. I’m 26, almost 27 I guess. I’m Black and Asian. I’m kinda short. And during this pandemic I’ve been in general super lucky to have a job still and a great living situation. And I met my partner right before the pandemic, so we’ve been chilling a lot and that’s been amazing. She is so great. Yeah, just going to work and working on all kinds of things in my home. And sometimes having the energy to do a bunch of music and crafts and other art things, and sometimes laying in bed for a full day.”
The Summer Your Librarians Became Youtubers...I am a children's librarian in rural Louisiana. We are approximately two hours away from all major forms of entertainment, so the library acts as not only a community hub but a place for children to learn and participate in extracurricular activities year-round... until Covid. Though our community hardly noticed the virus itself, the effects of being locked down soon took hold, and we were left with a community of children, families, and elderly people more isolated than they usually were. The depression set in. And my director had the fabulous notion to take what we did to the airwaves... Or rather the internet. Our seriously underutilized Facebook Page became the hub of activity, and overnight we went from librarians to Youtubers leading digital craft and art classes, Zoom creative writing workshops, and nightly bedtime stories. What initially began as a means to cheer up the children soon developed into full-fledged outreach. Local politicians, law-enforcement, and other community leaders read stories for us on our page as a means to connect with the people in our community. We did special digital story hours with schools once they opened back up in the fall, and also read stories to patients in the nursing home. Continuing with this train of thought, we partnered with our local American Legion Hall, which is located on a main thoroughfare and has large windows clearly visible from the road, to set up our annual "Christmas Around the World" exhibit (which features Christmas traditions from many different countries as well as Kwanzaa and Hanukah traditions) since there was no way to feature the display in our small meeting room safely. Every program was modified, digitized, and brought to the people of our community in the best possible way they could be... which turned the 'year of the plague' into a year of learning, cooperation, and ingenuity for us.
COVID scam awareness signWhen I visited the library today, I noticed in the large assortment of flyers on the community posting board a flyer warning about COVID-19 scams. The flyer is from the California Senior Medicare Patrol, and mentions a variety of different scams related to vaccine distribution that people should avoid. It also provides a hotline phone number. The photo was taken on June 24, 2021.
Apache County (AZ) Library COVID-19 Guidelines after March 22, 2021This copyright-free image of a public-facing government webpage displays the COVID-19 protocols in place at Apache County (AZ) library locations after Governor Doug Ducey ordered local governments to phase out public health mandates on March 22, 2021. Unlike urban areas within the state, rural Apache County in northeastern Arizona no longer required mask use inside private or government (public) buildings and facilities.
Flowers brighten isolation for many during pandemicA 65-year-old woman collects old flowers from funeral homes, grocery stores, and the like. She then makes bouquets and distributes them to nursing homes, hospitals, and community areas such as libraries and even laundromats. The flowers she delivers brighten people's days, especially in these hard times.
Modification to LibraryOne of the busiest areas on campus is the Blume Library, particularly the Cotrell Learning Commons which is where the campus Starbucks is located. Changes were made to library operations in March and that included how the public would enter and exit the building. In order to limit the number of patrons inside the building, a walk-up window was added to accommodate those wanting to enter just to get Starbucks.
Finally moving to Phase 2Wenatchee has been in lockdown and stuck at phase 1.5 for months due to an inability to get the virus under control. We finally received word that we could move to phase two and reopen things like the museums and library in town, which have been closed for 7 months due to COVID. This reopening means that many public services like computer use at the library and wifi for those who do not have access to it at home will be open and able to be used by those that need it. It is an important to compare where we are at to other places that moved into new phases much quicker, some of which had spikes because of it. I personally have not been able to leave and have been stuck at my house for months. I used to go to the library three times a week for school and to get out of my house but with a pandemic, I have been spending more time inside. I do not feel comfortable enough to go to the library yet, but am excited that the option is now there. Back to normal is still not an option though, and I worry that this will cause more cases in my area. This whole experience has been eye opening for how much I did unplanned, now I have to plan everything I do so I can keep myself and my family safe.
Library Takeout VideoA librarian at Duke University made a video outlining the steps for library takeout and it's amazing.
Life of a Homeshcooler- In times of covid I am not as social in person but have switched my social online with friends playing games and D&D through, discord, zoom and text. -Before covid I had a schedule of when I went to classes, co-ops and saw my friends. Social is now more erratic because everyone is home and schedules are so varied. This makes it hard to talk to friends. So now I have to adapt more to others schedules in order to spend time online with friends. -Because of the way we socialize I spend more time than normal online. -My homeschool life however has not changed that much, probably do more academics than before. I have been taking multiple online class over the years so when covid happened things didn’t change that much for me academically. -Another positive is that my personal library has expanded because getting to the library and picking out books is limited since they aren’t open and only allow curbside pick up. -Got more chickens, since we are home all the time. -Since I don’t leave the house very often, I have been able to get more schoolwork done. -Since I am home more, I have more time for hobbies and have taken up learning blacksmithing.
SF Public Library + SFMOMA giveawaySF Public Library has partnered with SFMOMA to provide free art kits at mobile library locations. I live in the city, and thought this was a neat way for the library to engage with people while their branches are closed.
Boston Public Library, Shelf Service LiveTwitter post from the Boston Public Library, as part of their campaign to promote adult summer reading. Post announces that for the day (June 26th), librarians will be responding on twitter to people asking for book recommendations. Because libraries are no longer able to operate out of their physical spaces, librarians have had to seek new ways to interact with their publics and fulfill their traditional duties. Posts like this emphasize new approaches that librarians are taking, as well as the increased role of social media in interactions between libraries and the public.
Makeshift library in front of Hyde Park homeA small library set up on the lawn of a home in Hyde Park, Chicago.