Pandemic musings from a virtual reference librarian

There’s a lot of noise out here right now, as everyone screams silently from wherever they’re holed up. 

Sweetheart and I are holed up at home and beyond grateful. Our jobs haven’t been dramatically affected. Having previously weathered extended periods of under- and unemployment, we fully understand and appreciate how lucky we are.

The last project I did before we closed was a deep dive into our adult non-fiction collection. I examined every book for condition and currency (a fancy term for “not hopelessly out of date”). Many were in fine shape. Others got baths (think “wet wipes and sticker remover”) and went back on the shelf. Some got replaced. I also found surprises. Along with broken spines, squashed bugs, marker scribbles and handwritten margin notes were medical bills, bank statements, coupons, bookmarks and church programs. 

So, naturally, I started taking pictures, of which I’ll post a few each day.

Who wouldn’t be grateful to have all that food in the house, and $1 off on shampoo?

I’m using off time at home to put my house on a long dreamed-of diet. My goal is for it to lose at least 1/3 of its internal mass. I’m using work time to learn new skills and plan programs.

Learning to make mixed drinks: a new skill that will not become a library program.

I also want to keep my reference skills sharp. Toward that end, I’ve returned to Facebook. Props to Mom (z”l) for help with that. Her page was still out there, so I took it over (I think of it as her having left it and all her friends on it to me. Now I’m an heiress). 

The reference desk can be anywhere. This one is at a public library in Tournus, a small village in Burgundy.

After changing her first name to mine so I wouldn’t freak people out (our last ones were already the same), I am doing my best to be a reference librarian without a physical reference desk. Like most of us navigating pandemic life, I’m figuring things out as I go along. I created an open community page as a free-range reference librarian (press “like” and tell your friends!), and am following the set of standards I wrote for myself.  

Basics include: 

  1. Material should be non-commercial
  2. Material should be sourced
  3. Material should have educational or recreational value

My goal is to be a source of good distractions, factual information and reassurance. Suggestions and/or recommendations for helping make that happen are welcome.

Ideas are welcome! Share your bright ones and your not so bright ones. I’m not picky.

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