Becht Adapts to Change


Courtesy of Lake Ridge Media

Librarian Patricia Becht has had to adapt to new safety measures to keep her library running.

Becht shuffled into her office on a grey Monday morning. It was so quiet in the library, one could hear a pin drop. She sighed as she tried to remember the chatter of kids, laughter, and life before Covid-19.

Educators all over the country are facing difficulties right now in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Masks are now required, hallways are one way only, and many kids are out because they must be quarantined. Everyone is having a tough time right now, but there is one group of educators in particular that are really feeling this pandemic, the librarians.

Becht has been the librarian at Lake Ridge for 5 years. Originally she was an English teacher before she got her Masters degree in 2014. Becht really loves her job and having the opportunity to provide help to students and teachers is important to her.

“I get to help everyone and get to know the whole campus as opposed to a classroom teacher where you only see a portion of the school,” Becht said.

Although currently it’s been difficult to see the students due to the new guidelines put in place which restricts students from entering the library. Becht feels lonesome at times not being able to interact with kids like she used to.

“In a way it’s a little sad just because we’re accustomed to so much interaction and there’s not as much this year. [The students] like to play games, have maker space time, check out books, or just hang out and play on the computers and it’s just so different,” Becht stated.

Along with following Covid guidelines, there is a whole new process when checking out books. Instead of walking up and down the isles looking for a book, students will now have to do their searches online.

“They’ll need to use Destiny if they want a print copy, and they can login and hold the book, and we deliver it to their classroom. They can bring it down to the cart to turn it in, or let us know and we can just trade with them,” said Becht.

Our administration has also tried to provide support to our librarian by laying out clear guidelines on what can and cannot happen in the library. Becht explains that she’s thankful for the help they provide.

“They want to be sure that we comply with district code and that we’re quarantining books after turning them in. They’ve helped to make sure that it’s a low number of students in the library, so that the kids that need to access the library can access the library. So it’s been more of a supportive role. It’s been nice,” said Becht.

While Becht works to maintain safety protocol for the library, she also keeps busy by providing aid to the teachers. Now that everything’s digital, many teachers find themselves having to turn to the librarians for their electronic needs.

“I’m getting emailed questions like ‘How do I access the databases?’ because they’re accustomed to coming in during classes. And so I’ll just give a refresher. Sometimes it’s the teachers that aren’t accustomed to using the digital features because they’re accustomed to coming to get a print book. And now that that’s not there they’re exploring some of our new avenues of digital sources and some of our old ones that they just never used. So it’s more of a support role,” said Becht.

Another challenge the Becht has had to face is how to promote the library now that it is closed off for browsing.

“I’ve made posters to go in classrooms so that people know they still have access to our database and our print books and our digital streaming services.” said Becht.

The streaming service is one potentially good thing that has come out of Covid. Students can now enjoy digital books for free online by streaming them.

“We never had the two, JLG digital and Teen Book Cloud. So we added those to support our Covid special circumstances but I think they’re turning out so good that we’ll keep them,” stated Becht.

As of now, there is no projected date of when the library will open again. Becht claims she can’t really know for sure until things with Covid start to improve. Although it may be sad because of the scarceness of kids, Becht still has plenty to keep her busy. Whether it’s helping a student access her digital library or providing teachers with information about Canvas and digital resources. Being a librarian is an important role and Becht is happy to do it.