Across the country, millions of people are working in different ways following the Prime Minister’s request to only leave home for a limited number of reasons in a bid to reduce the number of cases and deaths in the current coronavirus crisis.
In response to the current situation, the Bamford Library on the Harper Adams University campus has been closed, but the library team are still on hand (virtually) to help.
Matt Bryan, one of the librarians, shares his experience below of working remotely.
I started working from home last Monday. The library finally shut its doors as a physical space on Tuesday; but we are still open. We are still here. We are just not there!
Libraries have been a lot more than a physical entity for years now and are, of course, well prepared for providing information in a physically distanced world.
Working remotely has been a major alteration for us as a team, as I’m sure it has for all members of Harper staff working remotely. I thought I’d share some of the obstacles and successes we’ve had so far and also highlight some of the support we can offer from our separate locations.
I’m working from my kitchen with a temperamental laptop, an iPad and two mobiles on the go. My wife is a clinical psychologist who’s self-employed and is based in the living room doing online therapy. I’ve got a 13-year-old and a nine-year-old in the house trying to entertain themselves and claiming to be doing some schoolwork, though I’m not seeing much going on (although I’m occasionally being called upon to help with IT issues – ‘why’s my Minecraft disc not working’ and ‘what’s the log in for Netflix’). My 19-year-old nephew also lives with us. He’s doing a strengthening and conditioning degree at Wolverhampton University and pretty much most of his time is spent playing football or with his girlfriend who lives in Bristol – not being able to leave the house is a very big deal for him!
The library team has been set up on Microsoft Teams for quite a few weeks now and, to be honest, in these early days of working from home, it’s been a god send. I think we would have really struggled to manage without it. However, there’s a lot of vibrating going on in my house as I’ve got it set up on all the aforementioned devices!
We may not be able to support students with complete access to our print stock but we will still be able to support with our vast array of electronic resources and we will continue to try to add to our collection online. What matters more than ever is making sure our learning community feels supported in getting access to these resources and knows how and where to look for them. We will endeavour to push out as much material as possible without overloading, already stressed, library users with too much information. It will be a fine balancing act but we will do it.
We’ve had some wonderful feedback over the last few weeks about how we are supporting students and we are determined to provide even better online support. We see this as an opportunity to experience the library as an off-campus student (something which we don’t often get to do) and we will modify, and where opportunities arise, enhance our services accordingly to give all of our users the best possible support they can have.
As I said at the start, we are still here and we are still contactable whether it be via Live Chat, Libhelp@harper-adams.ac.uk, social media or Microsoft Teams.
Look after yourselves and others. And most of all, fill your lovely ears with Rock N Roll whilst watching Wolves videos on YouTube (well that’s my prescription anyway!)