In March of 2020, the world workforce moved to work remotely - challenging the nature of what librarians accomplish while not being in their buildings and how libraries serve communities with their doors closed. While the initial move to remote work was forced, voices emerged that questioned why librarians couldn’t work remotely for extended periods of time as part of their regular jobs.
Librarians are uniquely positioned to move themselves to remote work, while also maintaining connections to their patron base and their colleagues – but where to start? Stepping outside the traditional library space, librarians can carve out a space to work remotely while still retaining the ability to reach our patrons, provide access to quality programming, pave the way for libraries to share information, promote resources, and even lead change in their communities.
With times changing and our profession adapting so quickly, this practical how-to guide will help librarians set up an office space, set a routine, and adapt, plan, create, implement, manage, and evaluate their programs and services to the best of their ability in order to unleash their library’s potential to engage and wow their patrons and communities. With worksheets and templates, anecdotes about what works easily and what might prove challenging, this book is ideal for today’s librarian.
Molly Virello is the head of the Children’s Department at a library in Connecticut. She earned her MLIS on the other side of the world in New Zealand. She worked in libraries there for a year, bringing storytime fun and summer reading excitement to Wellington and surrounding towns, before she accepted a position in CT, and came home.
Virello has been the storytime librarian at her library for over 8 years, and has recently been promoted to the Head of Children’s Services. She still brings loud fun and learning to the under 14 set. When the Coronavirus pandemic hit, and libraries everywhere were sent to work from home, she was instrumental in leading her team into setting up a productive work environment from home, bringing their programming, reference, and interaction solely online, and maintaining relationships with her library’s patrons.
List of Tables and Figures
Chapter 1: Defining Remote Work
Chapter 2: Establishing a Remote Work Policy
Chapter 3: Setting Staff Expectations
Chapter 4: Technical RequirementsChapter 5: Setting Up a Remote Space
Chapter 6: Daily Routines, Communication, and Digital Etiquette
Chapter 7: Establishing Digital Services and Programming
Chapter 8: Marketing Remote Services and Programs
Chapter 9: Strategies for Library Leadership
Chapter 10: Building Resilience and Avoiding Burnout
Chapter 11: Returning to On-site Work
Appendix 1: Remote Management Checklist - Preparation
Appendix 2: Remote Management Checklist - Check-Ins
Appendix 3: Assessment Checklist for Remote Work
Appendix 4: Remote Work Week Template
Appendix 5: Remote Work Agreement Template
Appendix 6: Continuing Ed, Learning Opportunities, & Upskill Resources
About the Author
Even though the pandemic has slowed down, the issue of remote work remains. Public children's librarian Virello offers guidance on the process of quickly pivoting to working remotely, largely based on her own practice…. To support the book's advice, the author provides appendices covering remote management checklists and templates, along with professional development resources. A glossary, bibliography, and index complete the volume. Virello's tone is practical and engaging, and library workers will find that her ideas are applicable to most library settings.
As the author ascertains, the key to the successful implementation of a remote working system is to ensure that the library employees feel supported by the organization in a remote working environment where there is no immediate in-person interaction and feedback with the peers and the supervisors, let alone the patrons. This book provides practical resources that can establish a framework for a remote working environment for any library with such issues and concerns in mind.
Fresh, honest and practical, Molly Virello masterfully guides readers through the ins and outs of remote work for libraries. Remote work, in one form or another, is here to stay and her helpful tips and guidance ensure libraries can successfully navigate this new paradigm.
Molly Virello offers a comprehensive compendium of practical advice and templates for leading remote work that can be adapted for all types of libraries. The value of her approach to the practical guide lies equally in the resounding affirmation of a can-do attitude and an open mind to shift one’s individual and institutional thinking and to balance the opportunities and challenges as well as the benefits and stresses of working remotely.
Full of practical advice and real world examples, Working Remotely: A Practical Guide for Librarians is a much needed addition for every librarian’s bookshelf as we navigate the changing dynamics of the workplace post-Covid.
This book is a must-read for library leaders looking to successfully implement work from home strategies, and for library staff adapting to various remote work scenarios. Virello provides a trove of practical solutions for avoiding burnout, accessibility, setting realistic goals, choosing the right equipment and applications, and so much more.
5/15/23, Booklist: This title is included in the Spring 2023 Professional Reading Roundup.