ROCHESTER — Library workers provide many essential services that go well beyond the traditional borrowing of books. Like so many other workers, they have had to adjust the way they do business.
“We don’t know when, or if, our world might return to some normalcy — or what kind of scars the pandemic will leave on us,” said CSEA activist Renee Kendrot, a librarian at Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County. “But one thing is for certain — the COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped our working lives in ways we could not have imagined just a year ago. We are a changed society — and hopefully we can collectively grow and prosper from this experience.”
Amid the upheaval, Kendrot and her co-workers at the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County are now reflecting back on what just happened to their working world and contemplate on how we will work, live and thrive in a post-pandemic future.
“In 2020, we were living during a time of rapid and drastic changes that occurred without much warning,” said Kendrot. “We had to adapt quickly to an ever-changing landscape of protocols and directives and had to rethink for ourselves how to best take care of our library patrons. We learned to work with hybrid scheduling; we learned new technology and we had to think about delivering library programs and services in a completely new and different way. And we did — and we did it well.”
Kendrot said she wonders about the impact of hybrid working and how working people connect, communicate and create. She also noted she is optimistic about the future, seeing promising signs like plunging rates of infection and the success of the vaccine rollout.
“I think it’s safe to say our work life will never be the same, even if we don’t yet know all the ways in which it will be different.”
Profile photo: Rochester Public Library Clerk Daniel Pine readies periodicals for circulation. All photos Ove Overmyer.
— Ove Overmyer