Professional Development During a Pandemic

Since the COVID-19 pandemic has us in a statewide stay-at-home order, and many of us in libraryland are working from home, many in-person professional indexdevelopment opportunities have been canceled, but quite a few opportunities have gone virtual. This week, some of us are doing the Exchange: Building the Future Together, which should be interesting. I will miss attending the ALA Annual Conference in June, but hopefully next year’s conference will be held as planned.

What are you doing for professional development?







eBook Access

books filed neatly on shelves

Photo by Ricardo Esquivel on

One of my book highghts from this past week is a coworker’s reminder of the Overdrive app, which allows access to ebooks and audiobooks. I’ve had this app on my iPhone for a while, but had totally forgotten about it! I was already connected to my employer library and one public library syetem, so I added the other library card number and pin to my Overdrive app, and voila! Access to so many books online! It’s energized my reading, so that reading’s just about all I want to do during this stay-at-home order! (Yesterday, ours was extended to May 8 here in North Carolina, USA.) But, alas, I have a job, and can work from home, so I’m pressing forward. But still, yay reading!

Time Off During Work-from-Home

Our wonderful university librarian has given us a second mental health day from our current work-from-home environment, and I chose unnamedto take mine today. Even though I can’t go far, it’s nice to (mostly) stay off the computer and do other things today. I need to do a lot of cleaning, and I might get some done, but I’ll also do a lot of reading, and maybe even take a long, hot bath.

Meanwhile, I just noticed that one of the colleges I graduated from is having its Alumni Weekend virtually this weekend, and one of the sessions will be about their library, a video on Facebook at 4:00! I’ve set a reminder to catch that later today.


Working From Home

I’m in my third week of working from home, a big change from my regular job in Technical Services of Duke University Libraries, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and Governor Cooper’s stay-at-home order. It’s so different from being in the office, and each week brings new revelations!

techOne of the biggest changes is not being able to work with our library materials. The unit I supervise manages the post-cataloging processing of library materials, as well as commercial bindery shipments and part of the library’s outsourcing procedures. I’ve been upping my technology skills on things like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. I’ve attended a lot of Zoom meetings, from section and department meetings to job interviews for other library positions that I normally wouldn’t make take for. I’ve also created some Zoom meetings, for my section as well as the Triangle Librarians Meetup. There have been a few bumps in the road, but some things are getting easier.

Other things are still challenging, including continued serious concerns over COVID-19. Meanwhile, it’s been encouraging to see people reach out to help each other and make a difference.

What’s Past is Prologue

booksI’ve taken on a new reading project. It’s not directly related to my library work, but it’s reading, which is good all around, right?

So what am I doing? I’ve decided to read all 37 of William Shakespeare‘s plays. Why? Well, my father passed away last month. He was an English major in college, and he and my mother met in a Shakespeare class. I wish that I turn back the clock and ask him more about that class, and if he had a favorite Shakespeare play. I can’t even recall who his favorite authors were. (In his retired years, he enjoyed reading non-fiction works about sports, politics, and history.)

I wish I’d read more Shakespeare while Dad was still alive, but I’m doing it now. I already have Julius Caesar, Romeo and Juliet, and Macbeth (finished last week) under my belt. Now I’m reading The Tempest.

The phrase “What’s past is prologue” happens to be from The Tempest. Although Dad’s not here anymore, he’s still inspiring me. He’d like this Shakespeare project of mine, I think.


Back from ALA Midwinter in Denver


Me in front of the Big Blue Bear

I really enjoyed the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver last weekend! Most of my time was spent in New Members Round Table (NMRT) meetings, but I enjoyed seeing a bit of Denver too! I stayed in a hotel right across from the Colorado Convention Center, which was so convenient. One of the most intriguing things about this convention center is that there’s a big bear statue outside (looking in!) It’s quite the attraction, and lots of people took photos of it, both inside and outside the convention center, while I was there. It snowed one day, which is when I took the photo of me (to the left) with the Big Blue Bear in the background.

In addition to NMRT meetings, I attended the Planning and Budget Assembly meeting, which gives a big picture of the ALA (American Library Association) budget. In addition, I organized a TweetUp–but no one stopped by. Planning was quick and publicity was small, so I wasn’t sure anyone would show up. I’ll think about trying a TweetUp at another ALA conference when I have time for more planning and publicity.

I enjoyed several meals with old friends, and met some new people too, always fun! The next ALA conference is ALA Annual 2018 in New Orleans.

Heading to Denver for ALA Midwinter

General Images of Skylines and Buildings in DenverThe American Library Association‘s Midwinter Meeting starts a week from today in Denver! I’ve had such a busy few months (okay, a busy year), that I’m just starting to look forward to it. (Better late than never, right?!) I’ve been to Denver before, but it’s been about 30 years. It’ll be fun to see the city again!

In addition to my usual NMRT and ALCTS involvement, I’ve organized a Tweetup at the Networking Uncommons for next Friday, February 9, at 1:00! I hope to meet some fellow librarian Twitterers there.

Disaster Relief for Libraries


Hurricane Fran

In light of recent hurricanes (Harvey, Irma, and Maria) and the earthquake in Mexico, I’ve been wondering about the community libraries in the affected areas. While libraries are often places for information and resources, I can’t help but think that so many of the libraries in Houston (Texas), Florida, and the Caribbean have suffered damage, and their staff members are taking care of their own needs. as well. (Poignantly, here’s an article from Library Journal about how Puerto Rico libraries reached out to Florida libraries after Hurricane Irma.)

In looking for ways to help libraries affected by natural disasters, I came across a link to the ALA Disaster Relief Fund, with additional links for support of Florida and Texas libraries here.

Please leave a note in the comments if you know of other ways to help!

Redecorating My Workspace

I’ve been thinking about how to spruce up both my work cubicle and my home office. I’d like for my work space to be an organized and inviting place, and my home office to be my sanctuary–well organized, more personal, more plants, more mementos. I’m striving to be more organized overall, and enjoyed a trip to the local Container Store before I started my new position in January.

In searching the internet, I came across the article, “7 Ways to Make Your Office a Sanctuary.” There are some good overarching ideas there. Pinterest has some good ideas, too, like this.

Progress will probably be slow, as worklife is busy, and I’m usually ready to head for home at the end of the day. Inspiration always helps, though. Ideas are welcome!

ALA Annual Conference 2017

I’m back from the ALA Annual Conference, which was held in Chicago this year! I had a great time, and am so glad I went!

Here are some of my highlights:

Several of my meeting slots were taken up by NMRT (New Members Round Table) meetings and events. I’ve been Treasurer-elect/Assistant Treasurer this past year, and now I’m transitioning into the Treasurer position. So I attended the NMRT Board Meeting, as well as the ALA Budget and Planning Assembly. I also got to meet the outgoing Treasurer, Easter, for the first time, and that was fun! Easter and I have been emailing and talking on the phone for the past year, so it was super to meet her in person and talk NMRT budget stuff.

I also attended the annual NMRT Social and Awards Reception, held at Ditka’s. It turned out to be a very nice location for our soirĂ©e, and a fun time was had by all! (Hats off to Rachael for organizing this fun NMRT event!)

I also attended a session called “Redesigning Technical Services for the 21st Century: A Case Study from the University of Alabama Libraries.” It was an interesting presentation to a standing-room-only crowd. I enjoyed hearing their stories, since the Tech Services Division where I work is going through a reorganization of well.

While I rarely visit the Exhibit Hall during conferences, I went this time to meet one of my favorite mystery writers, Susan M. Boyer! She was scheduled to sign books at the Sisters in Crime booth at a specific time, so I stopped by to say hello! It was so much fun meeting her!


Donna Herula at Buddy Guy’s Legends

On the non-conference side of things, I enjoyed a couple of dinners out. One was at a place called Buddy Guy’s Legends, a blues club that happened to be near my hotel. I got to hear live blues music (Donna Herula on guitar this time) over a plate of yummy shrimp creole!

Another evening, I met up with a group for Chicago-style deep dish pizza. I organized the group in a Facebook group of librarians coming to ALA Annual, and we met up at Lou Malnati’s. The pizza was yummy, and the group had a fun time! It was a nice opportunity to meet some Facebook friends, to boot!

All in all, I had a super time at ALA Annual and in Chicago! My NMRT treasurer duties will take me to Denver in January, and I can’t wait!