librarian in front of laptop and mounted iPad. iPad shows Bklyn Public Library app and laptop screen is open to Urban Librarians Unite website.

As a non-librarian who works for a Library – I have done most of my work from home in the past couple of months. I’ve spent lots of time thinking about the best way to support the staff at Brooklyn Public Library as they continue or return to work. I’ve taught myself enough about Zoom to teach staff how to get virtual programs and meetings up and running using it as a platform. I’ve brainstormed, visualized, and played devil’s advocate for countless ideas on reopening. I’ve spent hours in the living rooms, kitchens, and dining room tables of staff who are reporting in from wherever they are. I’ve watched kids practice musical instruments in the background as my (thankfully muted) colleagues winced to try to tune out the noise and hear the meeting they were in.

Library staff are often lauded for the work they do FOR the library, but in reality, they ARE the library. We need our buildings as community anchors, don’t get me wrong, but we can continue to be a support – and even reach new audiences! – for our communities in creative and innovative ways through times like this. I’m so impressed by how nimble we have become and how generous we remain as an industry.

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Librarian sitting with stuffed toy, performing storytime using a coffee cup as "tripod" for their iPhone. Edited text on photo reads: "Storytime corner, oh my! Checklist: Books, Running order/song list, friendly plushies, trusty coffee cup "tripod".

Children’s librarian at Inwood branch of NYPL. Supporting teachers and community literacy partners with information re: library and local (NYC) based resources, assistance with library card record retrieval, workarounds to access databases, virtual storytimes and class visits. Social media engagement via branch Instagram.

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