Like many places throughout the community, the library at Las Positas College has had to adapt to sudden changes in operations and routines.
It has been over a year since everyone went r lockdown due to COVID last March. Libraries, among many places that have succumbed to change, were no exception.
According to a report by Jennifer Frederick of Ithaka S+R, a company that helps academic communities adapt to change, “The COVID-19 pandemic reinforced and accelerated trends in library investments toward digital resources and services. Library leaders feel they have been recognized for being well-positioned and prepared for the emergency pivot to support remote research, teaching, and learning.”
The library at LPC has experienced a similar trend toward technology.
“Since there is no access to the library during the pandemic, it has been very quiet,” said Diana Navarro-Kleinschmidt, a library services specialist at LPC. “It has been busy behind the scenes, but quiet. The librarians are working with students through the library webpage. Students continue to have access to online librarian services 24/7.”
Navarro-Kleinschmidt oversees the management of books and textbooks for students and faculty, daily maintenance of the library, fulfilling online requests, overseeing technology for various departments, and more. She worked at Chabot College from 1988 to 2000 and has worked at Las Positas College from 2001 to the present day.
“The routine of my job would be to open the library in the morning and supervise the checkout counter during my scheduled shift,” said Navarro-Kleinschmidt. “I would also work on Reserves, process, periodicals and would check on the general running of the library in terms of making sure the library was maintained. I would also make supply and general purchases for the library”
Ever since COVID-19 forced drastic changes in everyone’s routine, Navarro-Kleinschmidt said, “We are checking requested material out the front door, behind a table and plexiglass. Students must make an appointment before they come to check out material.”
From March to the beginning of fall 2020, Navarro-Kleinschmidt has worked alone in the library. After the fall 2020 semester began, one or two colleagues worked with her in the library. She says it was so empty before fall that she saw wildlife return to campus grounds, including a family of turkeys.
Tina Inzerilla, a librarian and library coordinator at LPC, has worked from home for the majority of the time. Inzerilla’s job is to direct the day-to-day activities of the library. Among other important roles, it involves overseeing technology needs, coordinating with project managers regarding the library expansion, supervising the library’s technology department and attending advisory committee meetings.
From Inzerilla’s perspective, her job was exactly the same prior to COVID as it is right now, except it is currently conducted from home. “I work in the library one or two days per week to work closely with our Library Classified Professionals,” Inzerillo said, “The library partnered with IT to check out technology (for) students.”
“There has been talk of potentially partially reopening the library in the Fall semester,” Inzerillo said. “Unfortunately, nothing has been confirmed.”
Navarro-Kleinschmidt said, “During the summer we will continue to provide services through appointments, the way we have been doing currently during this pandemic.” The library building will still be closed to the public. “In the fall we hope to be open two days a week, but the days and times are still to-be-determined. Keep an eye on the library webpage for more information in the coming weeks.”
Since the campus has been quiet during quarantine, Inzerilla and Navarro-Kleinschmidt share their personal thoughts and experiences about having to work without much interaction with others.
“I’m very excited to work with students in a face-to-face environment in the library,” Inzerillo said. “I also look forward to seeing my LPC colleagues in person.”
“I am a very social, outgoing person,” said Navarro-Kleinschmidt. “I really enjoy helping library patrons in person. I missed the interactions and becoming familiar with students.” Most of her current company are custodial staff members, IT staff, picking up mails, or waving to a maintenance staff member working on a building or gardening. “I will be happy when I can see everyone in person again.”
Gibran Beydoun is a staff writer for The Express. Follow him @Gibran580MSCM.