Being a New Librarian in the Age of COVID-19

By: Giovanna Colosi, Librarian for the School of Education

When I offered to write a piece for the Libraries blog back in the Fall of 2019, I had the intentions of writing about my journey into librarianship as a second career. I joined the Libraries in July 2018 as my first library job. I intended to discuss how scary it was entering a new profession after a successful 20-year career in student affairs. I planned to share how I chipped away at my second master’s degree at the I-School at SU while working full-time and raising a family. I was going to talk about how exhilarating it was that in midlife, instead of having a crisis, I had an epiphany and changed the course of my career and life! That was what I was going to write about. Then, Covid-19 happened.

I was now at home trying to write about a positive time and transition in my life. I sat at my kitchen table staring at my laptop for several hours trying to collect my thoughts and jot down some ideas. All while my 18-month-old son spun around dancing to “Baby Shark” for the hundredth time and my 11-year-old daughter asked me another question about fractions, or simple machines, or if she could leave “school” early to phone her friends. And while my dog barked incessantly because he was wondering, “Why are all these people around now, all the time?!” Suffice it to say, it’s been a challenge.

I continue to work during this pandemic. So, not only am I still learning how to be a great librarian, I am also learning how to do it while being a single mom, working at home full-time, and trying not to feel guilty about not always having a spectacular day.  I have come to the realization that many of the strategies that helped me during the time I went back to school to obtain my MLIS are helping me now, so I wanted to share those insights with you.Being Organized:

  1. Being Organized: When I went back to school to obtain my MLIS I had to be uber organized. Having a day planner, color coordinated calendars, and a to-do list was a must. I find that now, more than ever, being organized helps with some of the added stress we are all dealing with.
  2. Self-Care: Going back to school was a hard decision, especially because I was also working full-time and I was a non-traditional student (read, OLDER!). So, I needed to take care of my mental and physical health. I did lots of yoga and ran. During this time of social distancing I have also begun practicing meditation, and while I cannot get out and run as often as I would like to, I take advantage of tons of free workouts on YouTube.
  3. Let It Go: Like Elsa in Frozen, sometimes you just need to let it go.  By that I mean that when I was in school, I soon realized I could not do it all nor do it perfectly every time. I am a perfectionist so If I received an A- because I couldn’t get to all the readings, I had to tell myself that it was ok. If I had to take a day off work because my child was sick, and I missed an important meeting, I had to tell myself it was ok. This continues to be a very difficult thing for me to do. But now it is more important than ever that we cut ourselves some slack. We cannot always get everything done on our to-do list when we are home. Things will come up at home that just don’t come up on campus. Give yourself some grace. Take a deep breath, and let it go.

These are some lessons I have learned. Although I could likely share more, my daughter just came to me in tears because she got Nutella on her favorite Scrunchie. This balance and agility may not be something we learn explicitly in grad school, but it’s part of the application of knowledge in real-life situations. Stay the course, take care, and if all else fails, let it go…


Libraries Zoom Backgrounds Now Available for Download

As our campus community transitions to an online learning and working landscape, Syracuse University recently implemented the popular Zoom videoconferencing for students, faculty, and staff. Available for enrollment by using your SU NetID and password at zoom.syr.edu, Information Technology Services says that Zoom “provides another tool to allow the University community to remain connected during this time of remote learning and instruction.”

From conference calls to happy hours and family birthday parties, users everywhere have been adopting Zoom to keep in touch with the outside world—and not without some personal touches! One well-loved feature of Zoom regulars and recent-adopters alike, like the New York Public Library, is virtual backgrounds, allowing users to display an image or video as their background during Zoom Meetings. Simply upload your desired image and instantly transport from living room to a lovely locale!

For those who are missing campus a bit extra, Syracuse University Libraries has compiled its favorite Libraries and University Archives photos for your own Zoom use. Save your favorite image(s), and follow these instructions for enabling and using virtual backgrounds.

Not a Zoom user? Use these photos as a new desktop screensaver, phone wallpaper, or wherever else you want to spread Orange pride!

Bird Library at night as seen from the Einhorn Family Walk
Bird Library at night as seen from the Einhorn Family Walk
Bird Library as seen from the Einhorn Family Walk
Bird Library as seen from the Einhorn Family Walk
Syracuse University Archives sepia photo of Carnegie Library Reading Room, circa 1910s
Carnegie Library Reading Room, circa 1910s (Photo: Syracuse University Archives, Special Collections Research Center)
Exterior view of Carnegie Library with blue sky and statue
Exterior view of Carnegie Library
Empty Carnegie Library Reading Room with long wooden tables
Carnegie Library Reading Room
Overhead view of Carnegie Library Reading Room with students studying at long wooden tables
Overhead view of Carnegie Library Reading Room
Springtime exterior view of Carnegie Library with blossoming trees
Springtime exterior view of Carnegie Library with blossoming trees
Springtime orange, yellow, and pink tulips near Carnegie Library
Springtime tulips near Carnegie Library
Bronze Diana the Huntress statue in lobby of Carnegie Library
“Diana the Huntress” statue in lobby of Carnegie Library
Interior of King+King Architecture Library in Slocum Hall
King+King Architecture Library in Slocum Hall
Students studying in the Safire Room, 6th floor Bird Library
Safire Room, 6th floor Bird Library
Panoramic view of Syracuse University campus, 1903 (Photo: Syracuse University Archives, Special Collections Research Center)
Aerial view of Syracuse University campus, 1928 (Photo: Syracuse University Archives, Special Collections Research Center)
Panoramic view of Syracuse University campus, 1903 (Photo: Syracuse University Archives, Special Collections Research Center)
Panoramic view of Syracuse University campus, 1903 (Photo: Syracuse University Archives, Special Collections Research Center)

Documentary Films from American Library Association’s Notable Videos for Adults

by Michael Pasqualoni, librarian for the Newhouse School, film connoisseur, and member of the ALA Film and Media Roundtable.

The following videos are available online and drawn from the American Library Association’s Film and Media Roundtable’s selections of top titles named in 2019 and 2020. These are recommended for high school and adult viewing.  “McQueen” age 18 and above.

After Auschwitz (2017, dir.  Jon Kean) 83 minutes.  Passion River Films.  Chronicles the inspiring story of six Jewish women who survived the Holocaust.  A testimonial to their struggles and accomplishments following liberation from the camps, and migration to new lives in a post-war America.  Available at SU via Kanopy database

The Departure (2017, dir.  Lana Wilson)  87 minutes.  Allied Vaughn.  A Japanese Buddhist monk counsels suicidal people.  His empathy and devotion to helping others takes a toll on his health, well-being and family.  Available at SU via Kanopy database

Finding Kukan (2016, dir. Robin Lung) 75 minutes.  New Day Films.  A look at the life of Li Ling-Ai, the uncredited female film producer who co-produced Kukan, the 1942 Academy Award-winning documentary film on China that was lost for years.  Available at SU via Kanopy database

Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes and Feeling (2018, dir. Tracy Heather Strain)  118 minutes.  California Newsreel.  A look at the life and work of Lorraine Hansberry, “A Raisin in the Sun” playwright and activist. Available at SU via Kanopy database

McQueen (2018, dir. Ian Bonhote and Peter Ettedgui)  111 minutes.  Bleecker Street Media.  Follows the life and career of fashion designer Lee Alexander McQueen and his rise from tailor to helming his own successful fashion house before taking his own life.  Available at SU via Kanopy database Age restricted – Age 18 and over.

My Love Affair with the Brain (2016, dir. Catherine Ryan and Gary Weimberg) 57 minutes.  Bullfrog Films.  [The late] Dr. Marian Diamond, a barrier-breaking neuroscientist, shares her love of the human brain and its limitless potential. Available via Docuseek2

Quest (2017, dir.  Jonathan Olshefski) 104 minutes.  First Run Features.  An intimate portrait of a North Philadelphia African-American family and their community filmed over a period of years. Available at SU via Kanopy database

Rebels on Pointe (2017, dir. Bobbi Jo Hart)  90 minutes.  Icarus Films.  Celebrate “the world’s foremost all-male comic ballet company” with a look into Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo.  Shares the ups and downs of the professional and personal lives of this tight-knit troupe.  Available via Docuseek2

Rumble:  The Indians That Rocked the World (2017, dir. Catherine Bainbridge and Alfonso Maoriana) 103 minutes.  Kino Lorber.  This film reveals the contributions of pioneering Native American musicians to popular music. Available at SU via Kanopy database

Untouchable (2016 dir. David Feige) 105 minutes. Blue Lawn Productions. After discovering his daughter had been sexually abused, a Florida lobbyist works to pass some of the toughest sex offender laws in the nation.The film interweaves the heartbreaking stories of men and women who are caught in the struggle of being branded sex offenders and trying to reintegrate into society.  Available via Kanopy database

Michael Pasqualoni also encourages checking out the unique aesthetic used in this unusual exploration of intersections between animal life and humans in cities:

Rat Film (2017, dir. Theo Anthony). 83 minutes.  Cinema Guild.  A documentary that uses the rat as a passageway into the dark, complicated history of Baltimore. Available via Kanopy database

Want to nominate a documentary film that has moved you during this time of COVID 19 life at home? American Library Association’s Film & Media Roundtable, Notable Videos Committee, encourages nominations toward 2021’s curated list of top 15 titles.  Documentary films that explore the sciences, medicine, performing arts or experimental cinema are especially welcome.  Visit the  committee’s suggestion form for nomination criteria and to recommend one or more titles. http://www.ala.org/rt/vrt/notablevideos


Accessing Full Text Using Google Scholar

By Emily Hart, Science Librarian, Research Impact Lead.

If you’re a Google Scholar user, follow these simple steps to connect to SU’s full text electronic resources from home or from anywhere off campus.

In Google Scholar, in the upper left corner, look for the sandwich icon:

This will open the Google Scholar menu. Within the menu, click on “Settings”.

Within the settings menu, click on Library Links.

Within “Library Links”, type in Syracuse University, check the boxes next to the Syracuse University options below the search, then click “Save”.

NOTE: If you clear your browser cache, you may need to repeat these steps and set it up again.

Now, when searching in Google Scholar, the results list should include a full text link option for any items that SU subscribes to (Full-Text via SU Links).

If you have questions about using Google Scholar or any of the Libraries’ resources, email us.