As a librarian with two teenage kids, I usually go to work for a bit of peace and quiet in a considerably less-stressful environment. But, the current situation we all find ourselves in means that compromises must be made, and limited at-home workspaces must be shared. Or so you’d think.
My wife is an author. She works from home permanently, and hence has her own study. Which is fine. When the schools closed my daughter took the dining room table as her workspace. Ok. And my son, who is studying art, has turned one corner of his bedroom into some oil-pastel, paint splattered Hellscape (his chosen topic is ‘nightmares’) which I can avoid by just never going in there and thinking happy thoughts. My wife and I have a desk in the corner of our bedroom, but I’m fighting with the cat for that particular space as ‘he’s used to sitting on that chair so it seems mean if you move him’. And who am I to disturb his 14-hour day nap, richly-deserved after a heavy night of sleeping outside in a bush? But needs must, so the cat has been ousted and can now usually be found residing in the airing cupboard.
As a Faculty Librarian, I am still able to provide a good degree of help and support even when working remotely from the comfort of my bedroom-office. I can still assist students with their literature searching and offer guidance as to how to navigate online resources and formulate effective searches. I can still help academic colleagues in preparing taught course materials by advising what resources are available. I’m working hard to showcase the e-resources we have that have become invaluable during this time, as well as ones which we have managed to acquire access to on a temporary basis. I’m also working with colleagues to produce a suite of online training materials designed to help our users get the most out of what the library has to offer – something that will hopefully prove invaluable long after we all get back to some semblance of normality.
Of course, I miss my seeing my colleagues at the library I’ve worked in for over 20 years and our users. But at least I never miss and episode of PopMaster on Radio 2 at the moment. And occasionally I get to see the auction bit of Bargain Hunt, where I can usually be heard to exclaim ‘For goodness sake, not another inkwell!!’