Last December, I was struggling with the transition back to community college libraries after a whirlwind research university library experience. It had been three months, and I was worried I had made a mistake. When COVID happened and the library shut down for regular services, I found myself feeling useful again and able to throw myself into what needed to be done. One of my colleagues and I worked really hard this spring, summer, and fall to make changes. You can read about what we worked on in “Pivoting Library Services in a Pandemic: Merced College Library Steps Up to the Challenge,” which was published in the December issue of the CCL Outlook, the newsletter for the Council of Chief Librarians, California Community Colleges. There were many basic needs the library had prior to the pandemic, so some of what has changed will continue when we return to campus.
Our library is also going to experience other major changes in Fall 2021; academic and student support services are moving into the building. I’ve been pretty quiet about my feelings about it among colleagues, but I welcome the changes. I’m sure there will be bumps in the road as we figure out how things will work, but in the end, I think this will actually be a positive change.
However, I am a little worried about when changes will begin to be made since the full-time librarians are off contract over the summer. In any other summer, I wouldn’t mind being contacted, but I am going to spend this summer caring for a new baby and recovering from childbirth–my husband and I are expecting our first child in early May! I’ll be on maternity in April, so this doesn’t leave me a lot of time to help with any decision-making. I’ll just have to defer to my colleagues and go into fall knowing that things in my personal and work life are going to be different. Coming back to work in person in the fall will be challenging enough–leaving my baby, pumping, getting used to driving two hours a day again, etc.
Besides COVID and a baby on the way, another big surprise of 2020 is that the Library Outreach Cookbook was finally published this year! I had almost given up hope. My chapter (55) is about my experience using Smore to advertise new books when I worked as the solo librarian at the Los Baños Campus. I worked there full-time between August 2013 and May 2016, so this chapter is pretty dated. At the time, we had a really cruddy catalog and were using version 1 of LibGuides. Earlier this year, nearly all of the California community college libraries began using ExLibris Alma Primo, so it’s easy to create new book lists, and there are so many other tools that folks can use nowadays to show off new acquisitions.
I had really hoped to have written more posts this year, but like my reading goals, I didn’t have it in me. Just making it through the year was enough.