Notes from the Remote Digital Library Work Discussion on 04/02/2020

“You are not working from home; you are at your home during a crisis trying to work.”

Things to consider:

  • Productivity will be lower and that’s okay
  • Sometimes, done is better than good or perfect (this is one of those times)

Discussion Questions

  • How has your work changed?
  • Has this situation presented new opportunities for projects you did not have time for before? Assessment? Metadata?What services are you providing for users?
  • What kind of equipment do you have access to?
  • What’s working well? What has been frustrating?
  • What kind of professional development are you pursuing, what do you need?


  • How has your work changed?
    • In some ways, work has not changed while working remotely.
    • Not having face-to-face interactions, and ability to speak with co-workers directly with co-workers.
    • For some, work has been more productive. Less time commuting. Different flow for the day and may take a long lunch but work into the evening.
    • Missing long commute, podcasts, prep and process during the drive
    • How do you relay productivity level to supervisors?
    • Regular meetings, trying to keep a sense of normalcy, continue some of the social aspect of being in the office, keep up regular communication
    • Tricky nature of working with VPN, large files, and keeping productive. Also lists of webinars. Using Freedcamp to keep track of work done and tasks assigned
    • Physical impact of being on the computer all day
    • Supervisor and Admin – supported to be less productivity minded and more supportive – figuring out how people can work remotely – working with a changing timeline – being flexible. Looking at what can actually be done. Hopefully can better communicate about statistics and productivity that is feasible and realistic. Also provide work for others who are not able to do their regular work
    • Input from others who have been working from home for a long time. Workflows and access will be different than what it was like working at the office. Struggling to give advice as this is not a situation that anyone has experienced before. Can disconnect from email and chat – can take a break to be productive in other areas – give yourself space and time to disconnect – work space comfort – separate work and home space if possible  
    • the challenges we approach as professionals, sometimes require time in thought to mature and develop. It might not look like work, but thought and contemplation are important too
  • Has this situation presented new opportunities for projects you did not have time for before? Assessment? Metadata?
    • More time for research
    • Professional development 
    • Metadata cleanup and enhancement
    • Backlog metadata cleanup – dates, etc.
    • Provide work for others to do whose regular work duties are not conducive to remote work.
    • Helping with increase in Reference work for other departments in the library.
    • Scanning as much as possible so staff have work to do from home
  • What kind of equipment do you have access to?
    • Working on getting access to equipment – considering this will last a while
    • Thinking about the tech issues associated with bringing these types of scanning equipment home
    • Some are able to take some photographs home to scan and add to the database
  • What’s working well? What has been frustrating?
    • Feedback on communication has been positive. Focusing on the dept as a community has worked well. Using Microsoft Teams and having meetings twice per week
    • Keeping normal schedule – routine can be helpful
    • Taking walk if need to be energized. Get outside when possible
    • Makeshift standing desk
  • Question from the Chat: I’m wondering who here is working on a grant project and/or is assigned to time-sensitive projects that may be getting delayed by the WFH experience. How are you addressing the situation?
    • Currently working on 4 grant projects. The way it’s being handled is dependent on the funding agency. Some are close to completion and some just can’t be done. One was intended to fund a mini-conference which can no longer be held. Funder has agreed to let it be pushed back. Another case, the funder has agreed to allow for funds to be encumbered rather than spent by deadline. Experiencing a lot of generosity from grant funders during this time.
  • What kind of professional development are you pursuing, what do you need?
  • Tentatively schedule for two weeks from now. April 16 at 1pm.

Registration link for future discussions:

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