A Day in the Life

April 25, 2020 | OCLS Staff
A Day in the Life

As part of National Library Week, a yearly celebration of libraries, librarians and library workers, we asked some of our staff (and their pets) working and teaching from home to share how they are adjusting to working from home. Check out National Library Week at Orange County Library System to find out more about how we continue to serve our customers through digital resources and virtual learning.

 

Melissa reading a book to children

Hi! My name is Melissa and I am the Branch Librarian at Windermere Branch. Like everyone else in the country, my work schedule has been thrown out of whack in response to COVID-19. While we are flattening the curve at home, we are all developing new schedules to keep up with work and maintain our sanity. Here is a little glimpse into mine. 

6:33 a.m. – Wakeup call with Artemis. Artemis, my 11-year-old gray tabby, hasn’t quite figured out that I am working from home and still expects me to be up and getting ready for work by 6:30 a.m. If I am not up and moving, he walks on my face. Whether I like it or not, Artemis always sets my wake-up time. 

8:10 a.m. – Ubba’s morning romp around the yard. In late March, my husband and I adopted ourselves a pandemic puppy. Because we were both at home more often, it was the perfect time to bond with a dog and start training. Ubba has been critical for us maintaining a real schedule. You can’t lounge around in bed all day if your dog needs to go outside. He has saved us from going full couch potato. 

Want to adopt your own furry friend? The Pet Alliance of Orlando is hosting virtual pet adoptions during shelter closures. 

8:35 a.m. – Morning email and updates. Kicking off the morning in my husband’s game room (best internet connection in the house) by catching up on everything that developed during the evening and touching base with my branch. 

9:15 a.m. – Clear Your Clutter: A Comprehensive Guide Webinar via HealthAdvocate. For those of you who have been to Windermere Branch, you know the building is very cute and cozy. Unfortunately, being cute and cozy means we have limited storage space. Because of this, staff are becoming pros at eliminating clutter and using every bit of space available. If you are interested in decluttering your own home or workspace, I suggest the following resources:

9:52 a.m. – Unplanned Ubba playtime.

10:30 a.m. – Caregiver Connect Virtual Event Training. Youth Services has been working their tails off to create new virtual program opportunities. Noraliz O. from Youth Services blew us away in her training on how to create Caregiver Connect events using Zoom. While everything isn’t up and running yet, there are three new resources from Youth Services that I would like to highlight. 

11:25 a.m. – Zoom class setup and email invitations. I am relatively new to the Zoom video conferencing game, so I am still learning all the ends and outs of the program. I set up my Zoom class for this afternoon and tried desperately to figure out how to do the virtual backgrounds while being super pale and blending in with my light purple walls. Unfortunately, I am just too pale with my light walls.

Interested in learning how to use Zoom for your own group work? Lynda.com has some great tutorials. I highly suggest Garrick Chow’s Learning Zoom lesson. 

12:21 p.m. – Mid-day break. 

1:15 p.m. – STEAM class practice and team meeting. In preparation for hosting a STEAM class using Zoom, Windermere Branch staff competed in a building competition to find out who could build a tower out of paper that could support multiple books. It was a fantastic event, and everyone had a great time letting our creative juices flow. We wrapped up the session by planning out our next round of practice classes and finalizing the schedule for our Zoom programs next week.

If you are looking for a way to keep yourself entertained, check out our virtual events. We’ll be adding more each day! 

4:05 p.m. – Spanish practice. Since the library closed its doors to the public, it has been a goal of mine to get better at my Spanish language skills. While I took two years of high school Spanish when I lived in Texas, it never really stuck. I use three major resources for my practice:

  • Mango Languages: I view Mango as the class portion of my practice. There is a Specialty Unit called “Spanish for Librarians” that I routinely circle back to.
  • Duolingo: I spice up my practice with Duolingo. It feels more like a game, so I like to jump between the class-like atmosphere of Mango Languages and Duolingo to keep myself engaged. 
  • Brother-in-Law: When I started my Spanish journey, I reached out to the one person I felt comfortable butchering their native language in front of – my brother-in-law. James has graciously offered to text and call me in Spanish so I can practice my new skills. Unfortunately for him, I’ve got a long way to go. 

For a list of all the resources OCLS has available for language learning, check out our Learn a Language LibGuide

5:30 p.m. – Wrap up loose ends. I ended my day by catching up on all my emails and finishing up my remaining small projects (like writing this blog post). 

It’s been another productive day stuck in our house, but I am highly anticipating the day we can open our library doors once more. For now, I’ll have to settle for staying safe while exploring new opportunities to grow our services and learn new skills. Stay safe out there!

 

Michael working on a fiber arts project

Hi, my name is Michael and I am an Instructional Designer for the Technology and Education Center at Orlando Public Library. While working from home I have been developing new classes for Summer Reading Program Camps, sewing classes, working on grants and developing ways to teaching sewing from a virtual standpoint. 

6:30 a.m. – Time to get up and get moving. We have three dogs and two cats that remain on a normal work schedule. And yes, our cat, Lily, loves to sleep on my sewing table. They do not like to be kept waiting for breakfast and outside play time (potty time). But they do need to wait till my coffee is ready.
 
After all coffee, outside time and feeding, I get ready for work.

7:30 a.m. – I log in from my home office (the family room). I run through all of my emails and join our department chat in to see if anyone needs anything and to just day GOOD MORNING to all my work-at-home co-workers.

9:15 a.m. – Unexpected break as my furry co-worker wants attention.
 
9:30 a.m. – Work on sewing projects in my home sewing studio, developing curriculum for future in-person classes and getting ready for online classes.
 
10 a.m. – Practice with Zoom. Decide on best teaching practices for online sewing and fiber arts classes. Test and retest the built-in camera and document camera with team members to streamline the teaching process for our students.

12 p.m. – LUNCH! The fridge is far too close to my home office, so I tend to snack all day. I hope I can fit into my work clothes when we go back. I am afraid to step on the scale.

1 p.m. – Check emails and chats to see if I need to respond to anything. My furry co-worker hangs by my side while I do this.

2 p.m. – Participate in a Zoom meeting with my team.

3:30 p.m. – Resume working on sewing curriculum. Take some time to participate in a Lynda.com class. Always good to learn new things.

4 p.m. – Dogs need to run around the yard a bit.

4:15 p.m. – Finish up any writing, sewing projects, etc.

5 p.m – Sign out and relax. Or clean. Or cook dinner.

 

Brendan teaching an English class

Hi, my name is Brendan and I am a Reference Librarian for Learning Central at Orlando Public Library.

5:32 a.m. – My cat Luke lands on me half an hour before my regular wake-up time. I wonder why I chose to be a cliché librarian with a cat and not a well-rested one with a goldfish.

5:43 a.m. – Play the Frozen soundtrack to awaken my inner Anna. Social distancing is really bringing out my true self. 

6:01 a.m. – Begin my walk around the lake the second it’s officially open. Weigh the pros and cons of picking up one of those turtles to replace Luke.

7:10 a.m. – Read a devotional on my iPad. Now I have a day’s supply of peace. Namaste! 

9:00 a.m. – It’s off to work I go. Like all library events, English classes are moving online. The ESL Specialist trains me and other instructors to teach through Zoom.   

9:24 a.m. – Alternately writing, searching Word Reference and Googling, I translate our guide to social distance-friendly library services into Spanish.   

10:57 a.m. – Already wearing my mental Spanish cap (or gorra), I create a LibGuide that gathers the most important COVID-19 information in Spanish.

12:40 p.m. – Listen to Are u ok? by Kati Morton on OverDrive while eating lunch as I research for the mental health LibGuide and just to make sure I really am ok. So far, so good (Thank you, Anna!).  

1:57 p.m. – Join my fellow librarians for Open Hour with a Librarian held every Thursday at 2 p.m. on the library’s Twitter and Facebook pages. Ask us about any genre or niche interest and we will recommend a book (usually an e-book) within a few minutes.  

3:58 p.m. – Speaking of books, Big Read will look different from the original plan, but we’re just as excited about it when we meet virtually. 

5:25 p.m. – Check the downloadable resource questions submitted through the Help Desk Form. Our team ensures that electronic resources work as smoothly for our customers as they do for me. I help a Hoopla user log in after years of nonuse.       

6 p.m. – Dust off my TV antenna and turn on BBC World News America. Library members, who fancy British movies and TV series, can stream them through RBdigital and Hoopla.

6:36 p.m. – Resume listening to The Almost Nearly Perfect People by Michael Booth, a profile of the Nordic countries. 

7:13 p.m. – Feel an urge to skip town and pause the audiobook to search for a travel guide e-book for Scandinavia. It turns out we have one!

7:37 p.m. – Bust out the iPad again to catch up on my favorite magazines on RBdigital. All feels right in the world the second I lay eyes on a recipe for salty buckwheat chocolate chunk cookies in Bon Appétit

9:49 p.m. – I’ve more than exceeded my blue light quota for the day so I switch to my trusty Kindle. Kindle titles are available on OverDrive. Some e-readers are compatible with PDF e-books.

10:20 p.m. – Set my alarm, turn off the lamp and give Luke a dirty look before closing my eyes.

 

Silence holding a library card

Hi, my name is Silence and I am a Youth Services Librarian at Orlando Public Library.

7:06 a.m. – Wake up and gradually claw my way to the coffee maker and groan “Get to the chopper!” I find a decorative mug that inspires me, fill it as much as humanly possible and slowly slurp as I shuffle my way to the couch.

7:08 a.m. – Put on a podcast (current jams: This Is Love and Up First), check emails, social media, realize my feet are cold, go grab my dog, Wicket, and drag her begrudgingly from the bedroom onto the couch. Ignore her exasperated sighs and side-eye while sticking said cold feet under her. Drink more coffee until I feel human enough to move. Make my way to the bathroom to brush my teeth, hair (which I promptly threw back in a bun) and went through my five-step morning skincare routine, because I refuse to social distance myself from good skin. Put on my glasses and cardigan (the “lab coat” of my profession) and reflect on how some stereotypes are true, but like, not all of them, because I don’t relish the smell of books and I’m anything but quiet.

8 a.m. – Clock in. Ramp up the aesthetics of my office: plug in some twinkle lights, put on some music (K-pop playlist for the win!) and light a candle that smells like all the baked goods and artisan coffee I can’t have right now. Check and respond to more emails, read any department updates, use fancy highlighters and stickers to jazz up my to-do list which is … substantial.

9 a.m. – Editorial time! I review our department e-newsletters and communicate any edits. Cool, cool, looking fly. Feel excited while editing and reviewing the April Newsletter draft for ALA’s Graphic Novel and Comic Round Table and take a moment to relish the radness of working with a group of amazing librarians from across the country. 

10 a.m. – Library program creation. Graphically designing flyers, puzzles, props and clues for a Grimm’s Fairy Tale-themed escape room and periodically declaring myself a puzzle master. Compiling all the materials and articulating the program mechanics into a script so that other library staff members can host this escape room system wide.  

11:07 a.m. – Sings power ballads about snack time to the tune of “Caribbean Queen” – “Crackers and cheese, having snacks in quarantine, wash it down with Capri Sun, cause it’s full of vitamins!” More emails, scheduling virtual programs and promoting events and resources via social media. 

1:23 p.m. – Burrito’clock 

1:24 p.m. – Question if I should add more cheese. I can still see the burrito. I add more cheese. 

1:28 p.m. – Whisper to my empty plate, “I regret nothing.” Spend 20 minutes scrolling through TikTok performing targeted teen marketing research. 

2 p.m. – Bounce between more emails, assembling a list of resources that focuses on Every Child Ready to Read and the best practices for instilling pre-reading practices at home and within the library. Check in with my teen volunteers to see how they are adjusting to distance learning.

2:16 p.m. – Knock on the door indicating a package. Don hazmat suit, shred packaging only to be filled with momentary euphoria because the charger for my Switch has arrived. Wash hands. Wash them again. Make a sweeping amendment to my weekend to-do list which now simply reads: ANIMAL CROSSING.

3 p.m. – Co-host Hero Spark Virtual Adventures with Phil Zoshack and feel really proud to partner with such an awesome non-profit organization. Enjoying how well the teens are working collaboratively to learn about Dungeons & Dragons, new technologies and survive (virtual) flesh eating grubs. Is that a trap door? Yes. Did they just "Leroy Jenkins" while throwing themselves through it? Yup. Awww, I miss my teen volunteers.   

4:45 p.m. – More emails. Plan for tomorrow. Clock out.

5:01 p.m. – Bedtime! Animal Crossing, dinner, bath, 10-step skincare routine, and finally watch Love Is Blind with the husband and pup.

 

Cynthia writing in her journal

Hi, my name is Cynthia and I am the Digital Media Specialist for Orange County Library System.

6:50 a.m. – Wake up after snoozing the alarm more times than I care to admit. I wash my face, brush my teeth and go into our living area to watch my 30 minutes of news coverage. My 5-year-old son wanders out of his bedroom and asks to watch cartoons instead. My husband ambles out of bed around the same time.

7:30 a.m. – Finish breakfast, which usually includes scrambled eggs, salsa and avocado toast, and grab my Ember bluetooth coffee mug full of Bustelo and oat milk creamer. I take out whatever meat we're cooking for dinner. Taco Tuesday is a regular on the menu in our household.

7:50 a.m. – I make my bed (which is full view on video calls), pick out a new pair of black leggings and a t-shirt, set up my workspace by setting my oil diffuser, reviewing my to-do list and my planner, and find something to listen to or watch in the background. 

8 a.m. – Log on to Microsoft Teams, start working my way through my email inbox and our incoming social media messages and tasks. I'm dutifully interrupted by my son no less than every 10 minutes with questions about his Nintendo Switch or with commentary about whatever he's watching on TV.

10 a.m. – After spending a few hours of scheduling content, reviewing videos or editing blog posts, I join the Marketing & Public Relations weekly team call where we check-in and talk about what is on our agendas. At this point, I lock the door to my bedroom and my husband knows it's time for mom to take calls without distraction.

11 a.m. – I meet with other stakeholders in our organization to figure out what their current needs and concerns are, so we can come up with creative ways to support them through digital marketing.

12:10 p.m. – Lunchtime, which varies from leftovers to a salad. My current kick is baby spinach, green bell peppers and cherry tomatoes topped with crispy onions and dressing. I try to use this time to give my husband a break so he can tune into his lectures for his Electrical Engineering classes. My son and I go outside and sit in our hammocks and enjoy the weather to the Moana soundtrack. If the weather is uncooperative, I may use this time to work on chores around the house, such as unloading our dishwasher or FINALLY putting away the laundry from four days ago.

1 p.m. – Back to work, which at this point may involve submitting requests to our Graphic Designers and Staff Photographer for graphics and photos that we need for social media. Interruptions from my son, and maybe the dog, at this point continue. My father-in-law, who lives down the street, may be trimming bushes outside, stirring the ire of our French Bulldog (they are sworn enemies).

2 p.m. – BREAK TIME. It's time to make some iced coffee before the 3 o'clock slump hits or we start recording the next episode of Shelf Centered. Alternatively, if it's 2 o'clock on a Thursday afternoon, I'll work alongside our Learning Central Librarians to facilitate Open Hour on Facebook and Twitter.

3 p.m. – Set up my iPad and connect my microphone to record the next episode of the Shelf Centered podcast with Scottie (Marketing Specialist) and Mike (Outreach Coordinator). We may or may not laugh a lot along the way and make notes about which segments will have to be cut because we got on a tangent.

4:15 p.m. – Switch from social media and video content to start reviewing e-newsletters from our branch and department staff, so they can go out in a timely fashion. I'll review my To-Do List one more time and start adding items that will need to be addressed tomorrow. Any shared documents with other staff and departments that provide clarity to what content is being worked on by me will get updated before I log off.

5:30 p.m. – I log off later than intended and put on my "mom" hat. I cook dinner before spending some time with my son. We might work on a puzzle, draw pictures together or go outside to get fresh air once again. If we decide to stay indoors, my husband and I will watch the news for 30 minutes to see what new updates have been released. We are intentionally setting time limits on news consumption for our mental health.

7:30 p.m. – I'll check on our social media accounts to make sure there aren't any urgent, outstanding messages or comments before I try to disconnect a bit for the night. My husband or I get my son ready for bath time.

8:30 p.m. – My son will select his bedtime story choice for the evening. After some requests for water, an extra toy car, his "stuffies" getting covered and snuggled up too, I'll change my clothes and get ready for a workout to move my body and quiet my mind.

9:30 p.m. – After getting showered, I'll sit down and watch a TV show I'd missed earlier in the week, set up my planner for the next day, catch up on Instagram Stories from my friends and wind down before bed.

10:30 p.m. – Bedtime before we do it all over again in the morning.

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