March 2020-March 2021: A Year of COVID

It's March 2021. By mid-month last year, all of Keystone's staff started working remotely full time for an undetermined amount of time. Personally, I never thought I'd still be working in my home office across the desk from my husband a full year later! We made changes to how we met as a staff, set expectations for communications and interactions with our coworkers and customers, and started writing blog posts with tips & tricks about remote work with KLAS and how users might continue to serve patrons.

We initially thought we'd be back sometime early that summer. When that no longer seemed likely, we began making adjustments to how we offer KLAS Admin Training, helped more libraries move to Duplication on Demand, and shared a blog series from libraries about the impact of COVID on their operations. Check out the COVD-19 Keynotes Blog Posts to Date from July 2020 to see the initial ones we wrote and those authored by KLAS Users.

Then it seemed sometime in the fall might be possible, but positive numbers and hospitalizations started going up again and we chose to continue working from home. We attended the 2020 APH and NLS conferences online and eventually decided (in conversation with the planning committees) that our own 2021 KLAS Users' Conference will also occur virtually. Even with the choice to continue working remotely, we still had staff who contracted the virus--fortunately, not being in the office kept the rest of us safe and healthy. After his recovery, a January 2021 Key Notes blog post shared John Owen's decision and experience donating plasma with COVID antibodies to try and help others.

After this tumultuous year, some of our customers are back working in an office, others are still working remotely, and plenty have some mix or balance between the two. Here at Keystone, we're still working to support all of our users' efforts to continue serving their patrons no matter where they are. In fact, in just the past couple of weeks, we've gotten some great questions and tips from KLAS Users that we thought might benefit others in similar situations.

Erin from CA IRC is a JAWS user who shared her experience using KLAS on her laptop. She says, "I have discovered that working on a personal laptop at home is not always conducive to things working like they do at work. My laptop has function keys that share the F keys at the top of my keyboard. While using the F11 and F12 keys when I was attempting to set up Supertabs (in order to correct where my cursor will originate in my find screens), it would raise and lower the screen brightness. However, I found that the Supertabs were still set up after this happened. I just thought if anyone else thought their laptop wouldn't work because of this, it indeed might!" We're relieved that the extra functions sharing her F keys didn't keep Erin from using Supertabs and navigating KLAS with JAWS.

David from Minnesota's Machine Lending Agency sent an inquiry to Keystone Customer support wanting to know "if it is possible to use KLAS to track the computers we loan volunteers for in-home recording. We have 75, so a little cumbersome for a spreadsheet." The answer is YES it is! To do so, Nancy set up with a Patron Type for the volunteers and an Equipment record for the recording computers, and sent along workflow instructions to keep the volunteer records out of PIMMS.

Do you have something you've found that makes working from remote easier, were there changes to your library's policies and procedures to help continue service over the past year, or do you have questions about how KLAS can help you better adapt to a new situation, such as tracking equipment lent to volunteers? We'd love to answer questions, host discussion on the forums, or share info in a blog post. We've all had to get creative, and asking questions and sharing information has helped us all adapt and overcome to the best of our abilities.

We're still doing all we can to try to provide our customers with quality software and service, though how we do so has definitely changed. I think we've all made some positive changes and learned a lot in the past twelve months. At this point, I'm very excited that we now have three vaccines available and the pace of immunizations is picking up, but there's still no clear timeline or picture of what Keystone staff's work environment will look like in the next year. One thing that's sure: we'll still be here (wherever "here" is) to help!

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Keystone Systems, Inc.
8016 Glenwood Ave., Suite 200
Raleigh, NC 27612