Library Staff

Part 3: At Home with Our Library Staff

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

Here we are, several weeks into this “new normal.” We’ve established new routines, worked out the kinks, and we continue to adapt to the ever-changing guidance to stay safe. By this time, though, the novelty of working — and studying —  from home may have worn out. The Fordham University Libraries staff knows how challenging this time is, yet we find joy in some of the simple elements of our new daily routines.

In Part Three 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 — ensuring your access to information remains constant.

Catch up on previous posts in this series.

Linda LoSchiavo (Director of Fordham University Libraries):

A woman wearing glasses sits behind a desk in front of an open laptop. Framed pictures hang on the wall behind her. A desk lamp is lighting the desk.
Linda LoSchiavo leads the libraries from home.

I used to wonder what it would be like not to have to run for a train every morning, not to have to think about what to wear, not to have to structure my days around meetings, projects, and the inevitable emergencies that arise in the library. But after working from home for a few weeks I find I miss the train ride, I miss wearing clothing that actually matches, I miss the meetings, and I especially miss the staff, faculty and students who appear in my office bringing with them updates, requests, ideas, complaints, gossip, and yes, even a shout that something is leaking.

These days I share a workspace with my husband, whose cooking skills will surely see the both of us through this! What is really rewarding is the fact that the library staff has been able to help our students and faculty get what they need and get it quickly, throughout this challenging semester. We’re here for you, wherever you are, and we’re all looking forward to seeing you again on campus. 

Jeannie Hoag (Reference and Assessment Librarian, Walsh Library):

A woman wearing glasses sits in the foreground with a laptop behind her. A tall window brightens the room.
Jeannie Hoag works remotely in a Catskills cabin.

My home office is a small loft in an A-frame cabin in the Catskills (I self-isolated for two weeks before venturing out for a grocery run). It’s been great to keep in touch with my colleagues through Google Meet and Zoom meetings, and we’ve been staffing our Ask-A-Librarian chat service, teaching remote library instruction sessions, and creating electronic handouts, so I’ve enjoyed being able to connect with students, faculty, and staff, too.

One silver lining that’s come out of my social distancing is my first successful FaceTime call with my parents, who live in Wisconsin! I was going to visit them in early March, but we cancelled because of COVID-19, so it was very nice to be able to see them in real time, if not in real space.

If you, like me, prepared by buying some extra rice and beans, a great, simple dish to make is mujadara, which is rice, lentils, and caramelized onions. The onions take about twice as long as any recipe will admit, but if you have the patience, it’s worth it.

Nick Alongi (Head of Access, Information and Collection Services and Operations; Quinn Library):

A man wearing glasses and a maroon Fordham t-shirt sits in front of a desktop computer.
Nick Alongi is productive while wearing pajamas.

Working from home has been a bit like going back to college and being in a dorm room — I forgot how much I can get done wearing pajamas all day long. When not working, I have been spending a lot of time reading, cleaning, and watching anything I can find streaming or on TV. Staying busy in the apartment and accomplishing small projects each day has really helped me adjust to this unique situation.

Kyle Thomas (Electronic Resources Librarian, Walsh Library):

A man wearing glasses sits in front of a laptop. A fluffy white and gray cat lays in a cat tower to his left.
Kyle Thomas and his cat have a beautiful view from their workspace.

Gwen is helping me work from my home-office in scenic Lake Peekskill.

Advice for working remotely: Stick to a routine and keep a to-do list so you don’t lose your train of thought when distractions happen.

Watching suggestions: Some friends and I have been using NetflixParty to watch random episodes of Nailed It! and The Office together remotely.

Reading suggestions: I’m finally getting around to reading the Blue Remembered Earth series by Alistair Reynolds. It’s quite good!

Cooking: I’ve done quite a lot of baking lately. Most recently, raisin banana bread.

Chris Lyons (Cataloging Clerk, Walsh Library):

A man wearing glasses sits typing at a desktop computer.
Chris Lyons listens to vintage vinyl records while working.

The desk I’m using is one I’ve had since I was a boy, which wasn’t designed for computers (since nobody had them then), but it works.  I have a large collection of vintage vinyl records (never really got fully on board with CDs, which are equally obsolete now anyway), and I will sometimes play Jazz or Irish traditional music while working.  For lunch today, I had a bean soup I made in my slow cooker last night. My main advice for working at home is to give your dog plenty of exercise before you start, and take occasional sanity breaks. Try to avoid reading the news.  You won’t always succeed, but try.  

Finally, when all else fails, try Linden Flower Tea.  It calms the nerves. 

Stay tuned for the next installment in the “Library Works from Home” series to meet more of our library staff. In the meantime, catch up on the first two installments!

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