Saturday, March 21, 2020

What it's like working in a closed library

I risked my life for this.

Yours too.

I came in to work at my closed library as required.

For three hours I chatted with my co-workers. Eventually, to my gratification, everyone was calling the County Manager "Hairdo".

Every once in awhile I answered a phone call as well.

At about ten after four I realized it was my dinner break hour! so I took a cart of genre fiction upstairs to shelve. I mean really, what's the difference?

Time is just whatever happens in between washing our hands.


  1. Why are they requiring you to go to work? Is it so they can pay you for services?

    1. Sort of? No? Not exactly. It's weird and complicated and, well, stupid. I'm too tired to go into the details here, but the fantasy is that we will provide whatever puny services we can no matter how many people have to die (a version of this line will soon show up possibly in a blog post). Due to some dim County management we're going to need the governor to issue a shelter in place to do the right thing and he's getting close to it. If I get mad enough and he takes too long for that to happen I'll stay home sick. If we close we should be covered by leave time for at least two weeks of it and then we'll see from there.

    2. I walked up to the library today, partly because I needed a long walk and partly I'd forgotten that I wouldn't be able to return my two small books. I counted ten cars in the staff parking area. So why couldn't I return my books? If there were no staff I could understand; someone has to babysit the AMH.

      I did a bit of public relations for the library, telling a couple of patrons who drove up that their materials were all renewed to May, etc. Just doing my bit for RCL. But I wish I hadn't had to carry the books back home.
      On a serious note, if books can't be returned until whenever, and I'm moving to NH on March 31, how am I supposed to return them? Would it be OK to tuck them under the windshield wiper of one of those cars? Assuming wasn't raining, of course...

    3. I can't urge you enough to stay home. You could not return books because you or any patron handling those books could have, god forbid, covid 19, even as yet asymptomatically, and those materials would be capable of passing on the virus for, let's say, up to five days. The AMH would be impossible to operate without some risk of exposure since some handling of books and clearing jams is part of the process. Bin returns would be possible if the bins are sequestered for 5 days before processing. So a bin return would be marginally viable considering people are at the library working, but, and I seriously cannot emphasize this enough, people should not be working at the library! The state should be in lock down and my guess is that we will be by Tuesday.

      Nevertheless I will tell you this if you promise to follow my instructions. Yes? Okay, there is a serious chance our lobby will open tomorrow for some insane pick-up process and there will be a bin return. Call after 10 to see if it is so. Stay 12 feet away from anyone. If you find yourself giving people useful library information (thank you) you should have to be almost yelling it for them to hear. You can wave to people if you want. Use hand sanitizer. Return your books, all of them. Go straight home. Call the library and insist they shut down completely. Contact the Governor and if he hasn't called for the lock down tell him it's time.

      But if you just keep the books and stay home that would be better. Eventually you can mail them back or sometime in the Summer call me and I'll just weed them.

      This is a serious time. Thank you.


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