Library Staff, Tools & Tips

Part 1: At Home with Our Library Staff

By Catherine Gilbert, Executive Secretary and Laura Childs, Emerging Technologies Librarian

While many of you are making the huge leap from traditional learning to distance learning, the Fordham University Libraries staff is making a similar adjustment from working in our beautiful libraries to working from home.

In this new series, we’ve compiled tips on working from home in these unique times from the libraries’ staff — including some pictures of staff members working diligently from their new workspaces. While it may be difficult lately to concentrate, focus, and stay optimistic, our staff is dedicated to helping the Fordham community achieve their goals while learning remotely, and we cannot wait to see you when we’re back on campus.

Keep reading to see what some of the library staff have shared about their work-from-home experience thus far.

Lynn Parliman (Head of Serials & Electronic Resources, Walsh Library):

Lynn Parliman shows Fordham pride in her home office.

Hello and best wishes to everyone at home!

Fordham librarians are working remotely and are here for you 24/7. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for help.

I recently watched one of the library’s new Swank Videos, “A Ballerina’s Tale,” a documentary about Misty Copeland’s rise to the top of the dance world. I highly recommend it!

Watch films through the library with the Swank Motion Pictures database. Log in with your Fordham credentials to access over 500 movies!

Kevin Takasato (Circulation and Reserves Department, Quinn Library):

Kevin Takasato focuses after a bowl of gourmet oatmeal.

Oatmeal: not just for breakfast anymore.

If you have exclusive rights to your kitchen, I’m envious of the luxury you possess in exploring new recipes and ideas at your leisure. Even though I enjoy cooking, these days I prefer zipping in and out of the kitchen as quickly as possible. This self-imposed social distancing measure is to avoid being interminably trapped in a conversation with my roommate who seems to be a permanent fixture at home these days. I suppose the converse is also true. With stress levels high and the weather being a bit chilly at the moment, there’s nothing more comforting than a steamy bowl of oatmeal.

Forget the envelopes of instant maple, cinnamon apple, or peaches and cream. I’m talking savory here. With a container of quick oats, a bag of frozen veggies, and a dash salt and pepper, you’ve got yourself an instant, inexpensive one-pot wonder. Think of the hot cereal as a primed canvas for your culinary masterpiece. Go crazy with your palette of favorite ethnic flavor profiles in tantalizing your tastebuds. Try adding a little green curry paste with a splash of coconut milk, or a combo of grated parmesan, olive tapenade, and slivers of sun-dried tomatoes. Have a go at some leftover chicken with a teaspoon of chutney, a pinch of garam masala, and topped off with a chiffonade of cilantro. Gruel never tasted so good. And if you don’t mind eating out of the same pot like me, cleaning up’s a cinch. Bon appetit!

Katie Wolf (Science and Technology Librarian, Walsh Library):

Katie Wolf, as a diligent librarian, always has a card catalog close by.

Working from home has been quite the adjustment; a lot fewer interruptions, a lot more distractions. I found taking a few moments every hour or so to get up, stretch, maybe take a walk or a look outside, to be really important. It’s really easy to get stuck in a rut right now, I think, and taking the time to move around helps prevent that. 

After hours, spending time with friends (virtually!) has really helped to make staying in a lot more fun! I recommend a Zoom Party, or a Google Meets + Online Board Game Night. There are a lot of games you can play with friends online. If you’re up for it, Roll20 let’s you play DnD remotely. 

You’ll notice a box of chocolate covered espresso beans on the desk. I highly recommend those to anyone who needs something to snack on during the day!

Michael Wares (Assistant Director for Technical Services, Walsh Library): 

Michael Wares maximizes efficiency with two laptops.

Technically, it’s been easier than I expected to work remotely. Two laptops — the second doesn’t really show in the picture — might seem excessive, but having one for Fordham email and documentation avoids too much clutter on the screen of the one actually connecting to various library sites, with several open windows.

Socially, it’s been harder. I miss our excellent and friendly staff.

Since I’ve been looking at (small) screens most of the day, I watch even less TV than usual. I’ve been switching between WQXR, WNYC, and Lite FM radio while I work, reading in the evenings, and walking around the neighborhood several times a day.  Keeping a sociable distance, of course.

Diane Batemarco (Reference Librarian, Fordham Westchester Library):

Diane Batemarco get plenty of daylight at her workspace.

Keeping a definite work schedule helps you complete your work and sets boundaries for when your day begins and ends. Doing things you love to do and immersing yourself in a project or good book (cozy mysteries for me!) is a great diversion and makes you feel better psychologically. Make your favorite dessert, or make that recipe you always wanted to try! Walk in the sunshine & have fun!

Stay tuned for the next installment in the “Library Works from Home” series to meet more of our library staff!

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