Sunday 5 July 2020

Lockdown Libraries: stories from the Home Office

We were very lucky to be joined by four speakers from the Cambridge University Libraries network to tell us all about what they have been doing whilst working from home and about the different changes they have had to put in place to their working practices. 

First up we heard from Kate Faulkner from the Squire Law Library, who talked us through the different ways that she has been supporting the Law students. Kate has spent much of her time tracking down scans for the students. She told us about how we are very spoilt in Cambridge in terms of the resources that are available to us, so having to find alternatives was interesting. 

Kate told us how a lot of the readings they had were available on Moodle, so she spent a lot of time making a definitive list of what was available. The Squire also co-operated with academics and other libraries and made use of the Copyright Licensing Agency's Digital Content Store. Many texts also became available on the ebook packages that were temporarily opened up by publishers so navigating through those became a new skill.

The old and new "normal" - Kate Faulkner

Next we heard from Helen Snelling, from the Pendlebery Library of Music. Helen talked us through the work that she has been doing on Leganto (reading list software used by Cambridge Libraries). She told us how she first of all had to find out how to use Leganto, which meant having to find the right information and a Yammer group set up for Librarians in Cambridge helped to do so, you could get answers from others who were already using Leganto. However, there were times where they had to have music specific instructions for adding audio recordings. 

Helen also told us how they were very fortunate to have two other members of staff from Cambridge Libraries help but this also meant that Reading Lists had to be copied to word documents as getting access to Moodle was not possible. 

We also found out that Helen has been judging the BBC's 500 Words competition for Children and has been doing so for the last 9 years and told us how this years topic was "Coronavirus" so it was very interesting to hear all the children's stories. There is also a new 500 words: Black Lives Matter competition. 

500 Words - Helen Snelling

Finally we heard from Eleanor Barker and Veronica Phillips from the Medical Library. They told us about how they have both had to leap into online training very quickly since the shift to working from home. They both already do a lot of teaching and training in their roles, so this element was not new to them, but having to shift this to move online meant having to make some changes to the way they worked. 

They told us how they are now delivering sessions via Zoom or Google Meet, where attendees book in advance and get sent a joining link. They then use online software such as Padlet or Mentimeter for quizzes and polling, to emulate the same level of interactions you would get in face to face training. 

Top tips and reflections - Eleanor Barker and Veronica Phillips 

We were very fortunate for our speakers to take time to talk to us all about what they have been up to and there was certainly a lot to takeaway and think about. 

Write up by Katherine Burchell, Social Media Editor