Wow. Wowowow. Things are really…a lot right now. When I went on hiatus, I was really doubting myself and my blogging and writing abilities, and then, suddenly, talk about the coronavirus, or COVID-19, was everywhere, and now it seems we are living in a YA plague novel, only my boyfriend doesn’t smell like sandalwood. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know I have struggled with mental health issues in the past, and this has definitely been an anxiety producing time for me and I can feel the panic building throughout the day as more and more news comes out about the coronavirus, even though I know in my head I’m not high risk and would be fine if I got it.
I have been throwing around a few ideas of posts about COVID-19 and reading for the past few days and wondering if it would be insensitive to write about it, but I realized that writing really helps me process things, so you may be seeing a few COVID-19-related posts soon from me.
The first of these is this post, where I’m going to tell you how my library system where I work is dealing with the coronavirus and my thoughts on that.
So without further ado, here is what has been going down at the library recently in regards to the pandemic situation:
- All programs are cancelled until March 31. The governor of my state has banned large gatherings and events, and thus, the CEO of the library decided to suspend all public programming, which has the potential to draw large crowds.
- Kids are out of school until March 27. All schools in the state have also shut down. This is a major concern for public libraries because there may be large numbers of kids coming in, which can create health and behavior concerns. It may get challenging to monitor so many kids. Kids may turn to the library because they may have parents who can’t work from home and don’t allow them to stay home when they’re not there. My biggest worry is what we’ll do about unattended children, which we define as children under 8 who come in without a parent or guardian who is at least 13.
- We’ve put away all toys and community items like coloring supplies. This makes me feel a little better because at least I don’t have to touch lots of legos that people are touching. However, not having things for kids to do while their parents work on a computer or for older kids who come in may lead to more behavior problems because they don’t have enough to occupy their time while they’re in the library.
- Half our computers are disabled. This is to comply with social distancing standards. I’m hoping patrons won’t complain, and that if they do, we will close or have reduced hours.
- We’ve been sent lots of cleaning supplies. We should have this many cleaning supplies available all the time, in my opinion. As one of my coworkers stated, the coronavirus situation is definitely making people realize how nasty they are. But it’s also a good reminder that we need to be doing things like wiping down our phones and computer keyboards regularly, not just during a health crisis.
- Non-public facing staff are being encouraged to work from home. Oh, how I wish I was non-public facing so I didn’t have to expose myself to the public. Being a public librarian is one of those jobs that you really can’t do from home no matter what, because our job is helping THE PUBLIC. I really feel for all the other people working in customer service right now who don’t have the option of staying home.
Those are all the things the library has done so far to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. There are 12 cases in my state so far, but hopefully that number will stay low if we overreact now instead of later when things get worse. I’m really not sure what my days are going to look like now without programming and fewer computers, and honestly it freaks me out a bit. However, I’m hopeful that there will be some chill days ahead and that if things escalate, the library will make the right choice and close to the public so as not to put the staff at risk.