I started thinking about this as I sat aloneby my computer: can I be a librarian outside of the library? The more I thought about it, the more I realized that one could do a great deal from home as a librarian. As some might say, you can take the librarian out of the library, but you can’t take the library out of the librarian.
After being told we would begin working from home, we were given one day to go back to our offices to set up or pack up what we needed to work remotely. This began a whirlwind of changes to the way I work, from new, purring officemates to turning my home into a modern industrial park. Continue reading →
For the first time in the history of Chicago Animal Care and Control, the shelter has run out of dogs to adopt — and Chicago is not the only place in the United States seeing an uptick in animal adoptions and fostering since the coronavirus outbreak began.
In New York City and Los Angeles, the ASPCA says its applications for dogs and cats are up 200%. Nationwide, the statistics are even more promising. Petpoint, a software program that monitors 1,200 animal shelters across the country, found that adoptions are up 700% this year compared to 2019. Why the increase in pet adoptions and fostering since the coronavirus outbreak? It seems that sheltering in place, social media appeals, and the need for companionship are all driving this trend.
With stay-at-home orders in place across the country, many animal shelters are suspending operations. The temporary closure of shelters is leaving many animals vulnerable to not receiving adequate care. Furthermore, adoption events that usually bring in potential pet parents are being cancelled or postponed due to social distancing guidelines. The situation has caused shelter workers and volunteers to reach out on social media over the past month to ask the public for help by adopting shelter animals. If people are unable to adopt, shelters are asking them to foster animals temporarily until the shelters can reopen in the future.
In addition to being a platform for shelters to appeal directly to the public for help, social media has also been used to form virtual adoption communities and host online events. Since many live adoption events have been cancelled, some shelters are using Facebook Live to showcase adoptable pets online to people across the country. This method has given animals more exposure to a larger audience than traditional live events, which, in turn, is bringing in more potential adopters. Social media has also allowed rescue organizations across the country to work together in order to bring animals from one region to another. This has been very helpful since some areas of the country have a surplus of animals and others have a surplus of interested adopters and foster applicants.
Americans are responding to these social media activities in droves. The response seems to have grown out of both a sense of compassion toward the animals in need and a desire that many Americans have to help out others in a time of crisis to “try and do their part.” This response is also likely the result of the companionship that pets can provide in this anxious time. Taking care of pets provides consistency and routine for people who are not used to living under these new restrictions. In a time of social distancing, pets give people a sense of comfort and connection. They are giving people activities to engage in, too, whether that is going outside to walk the dog — while practicing social distancing — or having online meetings with other pet owners. The benefits to both humans and animals has been great and is something to cherish during this stressful time.
This post was contributed by Annette Carr, Librarian at the School of Health Sciences at Bay Shore
Beck, M., & McFetridge, S. (2020). Coronavirus in US: Pet fostering takes off as COVID-19 keeps Americans home. Retrieved from https://abc7ny.com/6077028/
Working from home might seem like a fantastic thing: no commute, no fighting traffic, no struggling to get up early, and no need to switch from your PJs to real clothes. But it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.
Yes, it is exciting that you can sleep in a bit later, but I swear it makes getting up harder. My body is pre-programmed to wake up at 6:30 a.m. every day, but now, I wake up and hit snooze or wake up later and feel groggy as anything. I haven’t been late for my usual start time, but I’ve cut it closer than ever before and logged in at 7:29 a.m. (This is in contrast to my usual habit of arriving at the building at 7:15 a.m.!)
While staying in my PJs seemed like such a wonderful option, I decided on casual clothes instead (jeans and a t-shirt), because I wanted to stay in a work frame of mind. Being in my usual work clothes motivates me to stay productive, while I think that if I had stayed in my PJs, I would have wanted to get back in bed and go to sleep.
Commute and “Traffic” Jams
It might seem like I’d have an easy commute — a few steps out of the bedroom, up the stairs, down a hall and into the computer room — that takes what, maybe 3 minutes?
Well, that’s not the case when you have cats.
No one told my cats that I’d be working from home, and it turns out that they have their own ideas about my “walk to work.” First, there was trying to get up the stairs as Bowie, my wonder kitty and ever-present pal, decided it was time for a petting session on the landing of the stairs. It took two or three minutes until his majesty was satisfied enough to let me pass.
At the top of the stairs, I found Romeo, our lovely boy and belly rub king, who also flopped over and demanded pets before he let me pass. Finally, I was accosted by Auggie the ninja cat as I opened the door to try to get out of the room; she nearly knocked me over.
All-in-all, what I thought would take me just a few, quick steps, took me about five minutes.
Bringing the Library Home
Being able to log onto our chat reference service from home allowed me to provide reference and research support virtually, and to assist our students with their needs, just like I would have if I was in the library with them. Although I wouldn’t have been able to physically get them a book if they needed one or to grab a physical copy of the latest journal, this luckily didn’t come up in my questions.
I have also been able to work on this blog and to start reviewing books for our collection, some of the tasks I would normally work on library.
All in all, I believe my work from home experience has been a success so far — despite the fluffy traffic jams and a desire to stay in bed. I am thankful that, in this trying time, Touro College is looking out for its students and employees. Level heads will prevail and we will be back to normal before we even know it!
In the meantime, we have collected many resources for students, faculty, and staff to support them during this time:
One doesn’t have to be a librarian for long to find out that the first thing to do at a professional library conference is making a beeline straight to the Baker & Taylor table to get a shopping bag. The very first experience will have you hooked on repeating this activity. While this tradition falls under the things they don’t tell you in library school, you do learn about Baker & Taylor as a book distributor for libraries. Any decent library conference will have Baker & Taylor among its publishers, but it is their beautiful shopping bags with cats on them that is eye-catching to all. It doesn’t take long to learn that these cats are the company’s mascots.
I don’t need an alarm clock. I have Elvis for that. No, not the King of Rock ’n’ Roll. Elvis is a black cat who I adopted several years ago at an animal shelter where I volunteer. Elvis has taken over my home, my heart, and my pillow. He acts like a supervisor and treats me like his staff. In the early hours of the morning, I am slapped from my dreams by a soft paw demanding attention, food, or just because he finds it amusing. Continue reading →