Back in March, when the news of COVID broke, I did not expect it to last this long. Speaking for myself, I grabbed some files from my office and said farewells to my colleagues, thinking we would be back by a few months, at most. Who knew it would last this long? Over the past months, our Access and Technical Services staff have had to change in ways we never would have thought. But thanks to their dedication and perseverance, we are able to continue to provide excellent service to our patrons.
During the Fall 2020 semester, Loyola’s law classes are almost entirely online. But our faculty and students still need to access our physical collection and services, so our team of dedicated library assistants still open our Law Library two days a week. To ensure their safety, our campus limits the number of patrons in the building. We require face masks, we have a new plexiglass barrier around our circulation desk, and we have new scheduled pick-up times for books. We have had to remain flexible and make changes as things continue, but we are adamant to keep both our staff and patrons as safe as possible, while still continue to serve our patrons.
In technical services, while we were closed, we had a mountain of backlog shipments building up. When we re-opened, it was a sight to see. A giant mountain of mail, and that was even with asking some of our big vendors to hold shipments! Just getting that organized and ready to start to chip away at was a feat. But we are slowly working our way through the mountain, piece by piece.
During this time, we’ve had to remain flexible and make changes as new things pop up. We shifted from all six of us being on campus at a time, to just a two-person team format. Then, as the semester wore on, we changed to only four staff members. But even so, we remain strong. Our hours have not changed from when we began, and our requests are still being filled. Because of their commitment and hard work, it still manages to work. As this semester comes to a close, we will wait and see what the spring will bring.
While this is a time of great anxiety for many of us, this has also brought about a great deal of understanding between us and how topsy-turvy this time really is – thankfully we’re on the same page there. So even if this may be a time of division and anxiety like we have never seen, this time has also brought us together, showing how much we can accomplish as a team. We are in this together. Thank you to my wonderful Access and Technical Services team!