Beaming faces at the instructional sessions has given way to black lifeless screens, like a dark curtain cloaking these sessions. However, continuing such classes was vital to the library. They gave us an opportunity to stay connected to the students, assuring them that even in a global pandemic, the library would be there for them.
The largest hurdle was to readjust classes to online mode. How do we communicate with the students via Zoom, would they understand what we needed to teach them and would we, as librarians, be competent enough to carry out such classes via Zoom?
I was most grateful for my years of librarianship as it had taught me resilience and creativity, and I used all these skills to recraft and deliver these classes in a new form. I knew I had to be brave, be willing to make mistakes and learn from them. The best way to do this was to dive straight into conducting the online classes. Armed with a new lesson plan and days of practising and talking to myself on Zoom, the time had come for the classes to start.
We started small, with just two classes, but the take-up rate was good. My colleagues and I joined forces; they manned the chat while I conducted the sessions. We learned to have quick reflexes, as we simultaneously looked out for questions from our attendees, comments from colleagues on Whatsapp and toggled between screens on Zoom. The sessions needed to be executed like a well-produced live broadcast of a concert. Each new session saw us improving the content and presentation style.
Pain and pleasure were just two of the emotions we felt. It was also our passion for helping the students, our persistence in overcoming challenges and our pride of being librarians which has carried us through these pandemic times.
Debra Bernadette L’Angellier
Senior Librarian, Singapore University of Social Sciences Library
The Pandemic IL (Pain and Pride) Series, is a curation of stories in 300 words by instruction librarians as part of the Council of Chief Librarians (CCL) Committee on Information Literacy (CIL).
Released on a weekly basis, this multi-part story series highlights the pivot to online during the pandemic and demonstrates the resilience, tenacity, commitment and passion by instruction librarians to teach, educate and advocate not only information, media and digital literacy, but multi-literacies using various digital learning strategies. Enjoy.
Rajen Munoo Chair, CCL, Committee on Information Literacy