Library Staff, Tools & Tips

Part 2: 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 Part Two of our working-from-home series, meet five more library staff members who are working remotely to keep the library’s services up and running. Keep reading to see what they have shared about their work-from-home experience thus far, along with some tips and recommendations.

Don’t miss Part One of At Home with Our Library Staff.

Luisa Porretta (Electronic & Continuing Resources Librarian, Walsh Library):

A woman wearing a blue sweater sitting in front of a laptop.
Luisa Porretta focuses on the positive.

Here I am working in my “home office.” Since I don’t have a dedicated desk or area to use, I had to improvise with a folding table in my living room. The hardest adjustments to working from home — besides my uncomfortable chair — are keeping outside distractions to a minimum (especially during this surreal time), and missing the daily interactions with my colleagues. Nonetheless, we’re facing the challenges and working hard to continue meeting the needs of faculty, students, and staff as best we can. I’m staying busy and focused by sticking to my typical work schedule and tasks. But I definitely look forward to being back on our beloved campus!

Looking for movies to watch? Try the library’s newest database of motion pictures — Swank.

How about a good book? New York State residents (who don’t have a New York Public Library card) can download the SimplyE app to register for an account and immediately access NYPL’s vast selection.

Want to ease your stress? Don’t forget to care for yourself. Take time to focus on things that are positive and calming. I like to picture myself on a beach somewhere. And video calling my granddaughters always puts a smile on my face.

Stay safe… stay well — and hope to see you all very soon.

Jane Suda (Head of Reference & Information Services):

Jane Suda listens to music to get a break from the news cycle.

Each day set aside some time to enjoy the weather, be it sun, rain, wind, clouds. Notice the spring flowers; talk to your house plants; adopt a local tree. Turn off the television and news radio and listen to some music. If you can, make some music and share it with a friend. Bake or toast bread and savor the aroma!

Mariah Lewis (Metadata Management Librarian, Walsh Library):

A woman wearing purple headphones holding a small gray dog on her lap. She is smiling at the camera and sitting beside an open laptop.
Mariah Lewis shares her workspace with the adorable pup, Rose.

Working from home is an interesting experience! One thing I recommend is a good pair of headphones, if you can manage it, because blocking out the sound of other people working from home is super important. I was surprised how loud the street noise is during the day. I also recommend a nice big insulated cup to make sure you’re getting enough fluids.

Personally, I always like to put on some kind of shoes when starting out my day because it is the one thing that makes me feel more like I’m in the office!

I’ve been enjoying rewatching the USA Network show “Monk,” about an obsessive compulsive detective. The cleanliness of the main character is actually really cathartic during this time of social distancing and being hyper-aware of the spread of germs.

A big shoutout to my dog, Rose, for being such a well behaved work from home mascot!

Desmond Roman (Serials Clerk, Walsh Library):

A man wearing glasses sits in front of a computer with a multicolored, illuminated keyboard.
Desmond Roman with his high-tech workspace.

By now working from home has become the new normal. As well as practicing social distancing and self quarantining. I am doing my best to enjoy my time at home with my family, while keeping in touch with those who aren’t near through social media, emails, instant messages and voice chats. Basically the same tools that make working from home possible. Stay safe everyone and I hope to see you all soon.

Nathan Bahny (Reserve Desk Operations Staff, Quinn Library):

A man smiling and sitting next to an open laptop. A black cat is walking on the desk behind the laptop.
Nathan Bahny with his furry coworker, Ike.

Ike, the one walking around on the table, is great as comic relief, but of dubious value as an assistant. We now have a freezer full of frozen dinners and are holed up in here pretty much for the duration. Although (for better or worse) we’ve been eating a lot of pasta.

I read those portions of the NY Times that will inform me of the developments here and abroad without driving me insane.

As for listening, right now I’m listening to my wife giving a remote vocal coaching to a voice student somewhere near Queens College. Yes, there are two of us working remotely.

Cuomo’s daily address is required TV at our place. Leisure time is spent whittling down the mass of accumulated newspapers and DVR recordings that have piled up over time.

So that’s life in online land! Whether or not this is an arrangement I’d recommend to others, I can’t say. It may evolve over time.

Stay tuned for the next installment in the “Library Works from Home” series to meet more of our library staff! Don’t forget to check our Part One of the series.

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