IS Lab Patron Update 20S Week 7

By May 15, 2020

Dear Patrons,

As we begin the eighth week of classes, I’m writing to provide you with a synopsis of recent news and links to useful resources and events of interest for the next five days. We trust you’re connecting to digital resources without difficulty. However, if you run into any trouble our IS Lab Staff, as well as our dedicated Information Studies librarian, Diane Mizrachi, are available to assist you. Please make sure that you have VPN or proxy set up to access resources from off campus.

Mindful Matters

For those moments when remote work challenges and the uncertainty arising from the pandemic feel overwhelming, this week’s mindfulness resource is a series of free, 30-minute UCLA Mindful Awareness Podcasts, which are broadcast every Thursday at 12:30pm by UCLA’s Hammer Museum. Each week has a different theme and usually includes introductory comments, guided meditation, silent practice time, and closing comments. Each also offers a new daily life practice for the week. Sessions are led by Diana Winston, Director of Mindfulness Education at the Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC), and by guest leaders.

If you have found mindfulness resources that would be useful to others in our community, please send them my way to include in a future update.

Practical Concerns

Week 8 has begun, and we remain at the ready to provide assistance as described in last week’s update.

Alumni engagement

Students have been making good use of the digital portfolios resources on the IS Lab website, and we’ve facilitated multiple portfolio presentation practice sessions with alumni. Many thanks to our alumni for supporting graduating MLIS students in this way. I’m particularly grateful to Julie Botnick (MLIS ’19) for rallying the troops and to all of the alumni and other colleagues for heeding her call on short notice in uncertain circumstances. Each of you has done a lot to help us focus on the strength of our professional community at a time when it is needed most. I can only imagine how significant and inspiring your efforts must feel to our graduating students. Thank you.

New Normal

As safer-at-home mandates are relaxed or tightened over time, UCLA Library administrators are working with campus leadership on a phased approach to reopening library buildings. On a recent call, University Librarian Ginny Steel described a five-phase plan for long-term reopening of library facilities. Phase I is our current situation, in which all library buildings are closed and services are being provided virtually. Phase II, during which campus activities will include “ultra-low-density research,” may see a very small number of library staff returning to work on campus to perform on-demand digitization; library buildings will remain closed, and circulation will remain limited to e-resources. Phase III would entail a partial reopening of some buildings with little-to-no patron interaction. Ideas being entertained include lockers from which patrons may retrieve paged materials, and self-check-out machines. Phase IV would involve opening library buildings with limited hours and social distancing practices. This approach will be informed in part by a task force on which our own Ellen Pearlstein serves. REopening Archives, Libraries and Museums (REALM) is a research partnership between OCLC, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and Battelle, which will create and distribute science-based information and recommended practices designed to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 to staff and visitors who are engaging in the delivery or use of museum, library, and archival services. Phase V, of course, will be the full reopening of UCLA Library facilities, though it’s unlikely that the work environment of the future will be identical to our pre-COVID-19 experience.


Important Notice: Please make sure you’re running Zoom 5.0 now. After May 30, 2020, all Zoom clients on older versions will receive a forced upgrade when trying to join meetings, which may be frustrating when you’re scrambling to join a meeting on time. This upgrade enables encryption across the Zoom platform. Click here for more information.


Video tutorial production continues; check out Grace Diliberto’s Managing image collections with JSTOR Forum to get your feet wet. Stay tuned for new tutorials on practical skills and other topics of interest related to the MLIS curriculum, which you can review at your own leisure and pace. For example, get advice from alum Emily Meehan on essential knowledge and skills she uses in her job as a young adult librarian at Los Angeles Public Library, Palms-Rancho Park.

Virtual assemblage

I’m pleased to see student groups convening in the IS Lab Virtual Commons, and am looking forward to our first virtual conference in June. Please let us know if your student group needs a place to meet, as well. In addition to the Virtual Commons, the IS Lab’s virtual assemblage includes spaces for reference support, instructional support, and training events. Also, be sure to check out the IS Lab’s events calendar to learn about upcoming workshops.

I hope you find these resources useful. We welcome your feedback and suggestions to help us support instructional continuity.

My best wishes for your continued health and safety.

Diana Ascher, PhD, MBA
Director, IS Lab
Digital Instructional Support Librarian