Part 4: At Home with Our Library Staff
By Catherine Gilbert, Executive Secretary and Laura Childs, Emerging Technologies Librarian
Like nearly all of the Fordham community, we at the libraries never expected to be away from campus for well over a month. It’s hard to believe that we’ve reached the end of April. Working remotely has become the new normal.
In Part Four of our working-from-home series, meet four 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.
Johnathan Longo (Circulation Support Staff, Quinn Library):
This is a picture of me (and my cat Blinky) at my home workspace. I have found it helpful to have a set workspace and take breaks, but it’s also helpful to switch it up and work in different spots every so often. A daily walk in the afternoon really helps me reset and avoid going stir crazy. I’ve been enjoying watching the Great British Baking for some feel-good TV. It’s also a great time to do some baking (if you can find flour), so I’ve been doing some of my favorite recipes as well as trying a few new ones.
Betty Garity (Head of Acquisitions):
These days my office is a corner of my living room. I moved my desk beside a window and am always happy to see the sun and hear the birds. I begin each day with an email to my staff in which I lay out a plan for the workday and then remind them of the beauty outside our doors, the need to take breaks, the need to get some air, the need to reflect, the need to stay in touch, and I thank them for the work they are doing to keep the Acquisitions Department up and running. The day unfolds from there and we carry on.
David Vassar (Reference Librarian, Quinn Library):
What with monitoring Fordham GMail (see photo), doing virtual reference and faculty outreach, updating research guides, taking in online trainings, etc., etc., I’ve gotten acquainted with the necessity of thoroughly organizing my new domestic workspace, my day as a whole, and lifestyle in general. This feels oppressive at times, but for me it’s a good exercise in self-discipline and focus.
Besides getting one’s workspace/lifestyle better organized, I recommend taking time to read just about anything stimulating and uplifting that is not CV-19 related. Articles from (pre-February!) issues of New Yorker; E.J. Dionne Jr’s new book Code Red: How Progressives and Moderates can Unite to Save our Country; and Melvin Konner’s Believers: Faith in Human Nature are among my current literary counters to coronaphobia.
I just can’t handle fiction right now, though as soon as I snap out of it I vow to pick up Michael Chabon’s Moonglow.
And a great video diversion from earthly concerns I recently stumbled on–especially if you’re into cosmology at all as I am–is String Theory and the End of Space and Time.
Cooking? My lunchtime staple is brown rice + beans, filled out with chopped sauteed onions, roasted bell pepper particles (basic physics), boiled carrot slivers, the whole heap spiced with whatever–cayenne pepper being a personal favorite. —Very non-gourmet but simple, inexpensive, and healthy (Think: pathogen resistance). My recipe will likely never go viral (sorry), but since you asked…
That’s it. I gotta go slice an orange and at last catch up with Fordham GMail (a fanciful end-of-time scenario).
Jennifer Udell (Curator of University Artworks):
Working from home has forced me to adapt to a much smaller work space. This has forced me to be more organized and has also helped me focus when current events have me quite distracted.
Stay tuned for the final installment in the “Library Works from Home” series to meet more of our library staff. In the meantime, catch up on the first three installments! Stay safe and well.