Your Library Staff: Remote, but Available
As libraries across the world scramble to meet the needs of their communities in a newly virtual world and MCNY undertakes its first full-fledged online semester, our library staff asked ourselves the following questions: Who are we? What do we do, why do we do it, and how/where will we be doing it now? Each of us answers below.
Blondel Francis-Pryce, Library Assistant – Circulation Specialist: Welcome to the summer semester and the technical world of learning. The library staff is all still here to support your learning. As COVID-19 is still in existence, MCNY Library has to make substantial changes to how we provide services to our students and community. As always, I am here to help. If I cannot answer your question(s), I will direct you to the point person who can assist you.
A word on returning materials, due dates and late fees: We have waived all late fees for circulating books. The due dates for circulating materials have already been extended to May 30, 2020, and will now be extended to September 30, 2020. Please keep library books with you until we’re open again.
But remember, we’re more than just books! We serve as a lifeline for our students and the community. We’re the nucleus of MCNY Library to help you navigate your research. Remote learning is here, and we are here to master it out with you.
Gregory Lewis, Library Assistant – Technology Specialist: Hello everyone! As a library assistant at MCNY, I am here to help students understand and become comfortable using Moodle and aspects of Microsoft office. As a graduate of the MCNY school of Business program, I got to see firsthand what some of our students were not getting and thought I might be able to help connect the dots so to speak. I am here Monday -Thursday 10-6 and Fridays 9-5 and if I cannot help, I will find the person/people who can. I must admit that doing this online is as new for me as it might be for some of you. I have been at the college for just about 10 years now, and I believe one gets use to the hands-on experience. Sitting next to or with a group of students has always been good for me: It creates a kind of connection. I hope to create that same experience online.
Jon Frater, Technical Services Librarian: “Hi. I’m Jon, and I’m a librarian. How can I help you today?” That’s how I’ll answer if you ping me on the library chat room. Chances are you’re still new to this whole remote learning thing…well, so am I. It’s an unsettling feeling to have to rely on your laptop or PC for absolutely everything, especially when you’re used to a physical presence at your place of work or school. The trick, I tell myself, is to remember that at the other end of that electronic box is a person. Maybe someone you know, maybe a stranger. But they’re probably just as weirded out by this new paradigm as you are. I’m here at my end of the screen and it’s my job to keep you informed of class schedules, school resources, and walking you through whatever online procedures you need to master, plus a hundred other things. If I can’t get you what you need, I will send you to someone who can. So. How can I help you today?
Kate Adler, Director of Library Service: When I think of libraries I think above all of space. Public space, community space, free space, and intellectual space. A space for discovery, a space where many things happen at once. A space that is not about money or about buying things but rather about access and mutual support and freedom. So, what does this mean in a virtual world? In a world where we’ve all gone inside for the time being? I think we can still offer a kind of “place.” Be it through virtual events, working one-on-one with you via zoom or over the phone, or being a part of your class through Moodle. We have seen how important community is in this pandemic and how important it is that we have access to resources – including information – and to one another. Our library will always be about our MCNY community. Virtually or otherwise.
Natalia Sucre, Digital and Instruction Services Librarian: Listening to students explain their projects and entering in on the process of bringing them forth is what I love best about my job. I love that one-on-one exchange in the unconditionally supportive context that is tutoring, and I have been lucky to find it here at MCNY. What does zoom do to that exchange? In some ways, it facilitates the one-on-one; research sessions are no longer punctuated by the library’s other demands. But being mediated by technology makes us all feel a loss of control, I think. The cues of face-to-face communication as well as the simplest how-to take so long to work out through all our technologies! If last term is any measure though, students and faculty will continue stepping up to that challenge; and so, I look forward to many good research tutoring sessions this semester!
Tina Callender, Evening Reference Librarian: “I woke up this morning and I could see, and I could breathe” – Toshi Reagon.
Thankfully, I reside in an extremely quiet building, full sunlight all day, which is so helpful as I inhale, exhale, and think of new ways to maneuver through this event. There are so many things that I could say about me, about why I do this thing called “research” as a Librarian.
I read a lot, I write a lot, I spend a lot of time in silence. These are things I have always done, and I will continue to do.
“You must find the light, a reason to continue. You must find a purpose, the reason why you are here. You must find your voice, your message to the world. You must find your truth, the essence of who you are, you must never give up, vow to keep going no matter what” – James Weeks.
I am here, I am available to assist students and staff with your research needs.