2020 was a year like no other. In March 2020 with the rise of Covid19 cases and the country going into lockdown, 3 of the 4 library staff were redeployed, at very short notice, to support HR and managers with the recruitment and induction process. This involved contacting all new starters and sorting badges, IT log ins etc etc and doing a local induction. This was a time consuming process, taking on average 4 hours per new starter. At any one time each library staff member had approximately 20 new starters at various stages of the process.
It was envisaged that all library services would be accessed online, but in fact this never happened. The staff continued to be based in the library, and Trust staff and students continued to use the facilities and to require support from library staff.
Being part of the induction process did have some positive benefits. It demonstrated staff flexibility, gave us a greater insight into the recruitment process and closer working relations with the recruitment team and allowed us to give a fuller introduction to library services to new starters.
The Trust had to quickly work out how to deliver what was traditionally classroom based learning. The decision was to purchase a virtual learning environment (Moodle) and the library was asked to design the layout and support the implementation. This also gave us the opportunity to add additional Knowledge Management resources for use across the organisation and to raise awareness of KM tools and techniques.
The library team also had to consider how to deliver training and has converted all the library courses so that they can be accessed online or via ‘Teams’ and has also produced new ‘bitesize’ learning modules.
Library staff are also supporting Trust staff and students with their training needs not only with ongoing support with their elearning, but by supporting staff who are unfamiliar with accessing meetings via ‘Teams’, providing access to the library ‘Quiet study room’ and through the provision of loanable laptops, headsets and webcams
How we have developed & improved
- Move to online training; new courses offered along with bitesize learning
- Support for staff to access training
- Move to Teams meetings and support for others to access meeting this way
- Provision of loanable laptops, headsets & webcams
- Successful 6 book challenge during lockdown, made available to those working from home
- Joint working on 2 Trust projects – the Virtual learning environment and a Retention & wellbeing project to support women going through the menopause.
- Minor change to the library layout to improve its appearance and offer additional space for the fiction and wellbeing collections.
- Provided a safe and welcoming environment with supportive staff
We were also able to recruit a new temporary library assistant for 2 days a week in February and March which has enabled us to complete a stock check and catch up on other tasks. At the same time we also had funding to enable our permanent library assistant (who is a qualified librarian) to work as a temporary librarian one day a week.
Finally, I am pleased and proud to say that the library remained open and staffed throughout the pandemic and continued to be used and appreciated by staff and students.
Lynda Cotterill, Library & Knowledge Service Manager