COVID-19 Keeping Up

Hey everyone, we talked a little bit about this during the chat this week, but I wanted to stay up-to-date on what was going on with everyone, their institutions/communities, and closures/precautions being taken. If you want to share, or if there’s anything that we can do to help out, just let us know!

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New guidelines for the next fifteen days from the federal government:

Limits gatherings (by suggestion) to 10 people or fewer.

I would really love to see what people are doing in their libraries to continue offering services. I am working on us (public library) offering extensive resources including printable activity packets for kids stuck at home on our website and maintaining boxes outside the library for printed updates from state and CDC, HRC info for drug users, and local resources, grab n go food schedules, emergency shelter, and more kid activity stuff.
I would be so grateful for any of this that others have already put together, sharing docs, not reinventing the wheel, ideas and strategies about how to keep offering some of our critical services right now.

We here at Olin are fully remote now except for our facilities team employed externally via Aramark, who I hope are 1) staying as safe as they can be with robust additional protective equipment provided, 2) not coming to work when it’s clear they shouldn’t be, and 3) being given the support and guarantee they will continue to be paid if the college should enter full lockdown.

The library is available to students via Zoom drop-in hours from me and my two staff members, plus we made a school-wide Slack channel hangout since we are the community center on our small campus and I wanted to try to capture some of that feeling. I sent out instructions for obtaining e-borrowing privileges for two local library systems and reminded everyone about the resources we offer and how to access them from off-campus. I have led two Zoom trainings for our community, obtained wireless hotspots for displaced students in need of them, and offered my instructional design skills up to faculty who have little to no experience teaching in asynchronous environments.

Now that my staff and I and most of our students are safe and sound, I’m focusing on efforts to help other libraries close, starting with the Boston Public Library (we were successful!) and now the rest of the state’s libraries, both academic and public. Olin is in a consortium with Babson and Wellesley Colleges and they are both still expecting library staff to come in, so I’ll be working on pressuring them about that tomorrow. The other current order of business is making sure that all workers are paid during this crisis and are not docked for sick, vacation, etc days or in any other way mistreated by management just for protecting themselves and others.

If anyone is looking for starter text for petitions, emails, or recommendations, check out this doc I started: https://docs.google.com/document/d/18BzstobSun6wzjIS-HC-zMeWHAXr1rpuVHsYnABivmI/edit?usp=drivesdk

We had a 5.7 earthquake this morning in Salt Lake City, and have been experiencing aftershocks all day. Luckily there is not extensive damage but it is definitely scary and stressful to deal with on top of coronavirus stuff.
I do feel lucky that my library system’s administration has taken the pandemic seriously. My director sends out daily email updates and even though we are all working from home, he has encouraged us to take it easy and prioritize our mental health. I am also happy to be receiving a regular paycheck because my girlfriend got laid off yesterday, she managed a local record store that most likely will not survive all of this.

Just saw this article about how Mayor de Blasio was basically threatening the libraries with defunding if they closed but they did so anyway. WOW.

“Mayor DeBlasio TELLING PEOPLE TO GO TO THE LIBRARY is straight up reckless, holyshit,” Brooklyn librarian Rita Meade tweeted Saturday afternoon.