Last March your Library closed to the public. We’ve been reflecting on what this meant for us, both as individuals and as an institution. As we look forward to reopening on Monday, April 19, we also want to reflect on where we’ve come from.
We’re capturing individual reflections on working at the Library during this unprecedented moment in time. Below you’ll find our conversation with Amy, the Teen Services Manager.
What was your job before we closed, and how has it changed in the last year?
I actually started at the Library after it had already closed to the public, so the whole time I’ve worked here we’ve been closed.
As far as changes, I have gotten to do new stuff since I started here. I had to learn how to order digital books, because we started prioritizing digital materials. That’s something I’d never done before. Holding virtual events was also a totally new thing for me. Those would probably be the two biggest changes for me. But it’s hard to really say how the job has changed because I’ve never done it in a “normal” setting.
It’s been difficult being new to the Library because I’ve never experienced it as an open, full place. I just can’t get a feel for how things will be on a regular daily basis. It’s been a struggle, it’s just been like flying blind. When we open I’ll have to train myself to do the job I’ve had all year, but to do it in a different way!
How has the Library’s closure affected your view of libraries in general?
When I first started, all the departments were helping get curbside pickup off the ground. I’d never done that or seen that side of library work. I really liked being involved in curbside because it put me in touch with what books were coming and going. It’s been helpful in figuring out what literature the teens are interested in, what they’re checking out.
Circulation departments are often cut off from other departments in libraries. So librarians don’t always know what’s being checked out. I think that’s a major issue with library services in general. So it’s been really great to see that barrier come down during the pandemic.
What are some words you would use to describe the last year working at the Library?
Learning and training – this whole process has been a learning curve for me. And tough. Honestly, it’s just been tough. Also empathy. We have to be willing to put ourselves in others’ shoes. We spent time this year doing cross-training in different departments, and it helped me be more empathetic.
For more information about what your Library is offering while it’s closed to the public, click here or call (423) 434-4450. Follow Johnson City Public Library on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube for daily updates and virtual programs.