I never imagined a time when librarians would be advocating to close libraries, when the ALA Annual conference would be cancelled, or when staying inside would be the norm, but here we are. #COVID19 has struck the world and it is terrifying. And that is OK.
These are unprecedented times. As a librarian, it is typically hard to imagine that we could ever be deemed “un-essential.”
Just because libraries are not open- does not mean we cannot help people. Librarians around the world are rising to the challenge, putting on digital story times, providing access to different resources, aiding students and teachers with online learning and more. We are proving more than ever that we can be of support, even without our physical buildings and materials.
The pressure to produce can be overwhelming. I am inundated with e-mails and Facebook notifications every time I log online. There seems to be an information overload with educational resources flying left and right, debates about the ethics of live streaming story times and on and on and on.
Some libraries are still open or have limited services. Some individuals are getting paid, others getting laid off, while others forced to use PTO. Some people are required to work from home, while other libraries would rather wait until reopening. Every specific library, situation and individual is different.
I’m here to say that you are doing a good job.
It’s OK to not do anything, it’s OK to try to do everything, it’s OK to do a little bit of both. Find your “new normal” and see what works. Not every library has the capacity for digital story times, some people have families they need to take care of, others might be simply overwhelmed by the magnitude of everything. For others, there may be a sense of balance in work, and it can be soothing to have a taste of normalcy.
Now is the time to simply do your best and do what feels right for you. Because these are unprecedented times and we are all in this together.