21 April 2020 Share
Alison summarises the changes and implications that COVID-19 has caused to the SLA, and how we're working to support the sector.
Well, the sun is shining, and the weather is good, which can have a huge impact on how we are all feeling, but none of us are in the position we thought we would be earlier in the year. In this blog, I'm going to outline some of the impacts of COVID-19, and how the SLA is responding to them, and supporting our members, as well as the wider sector. But before we get onto the things that have changed, some things have stayed the same: the Information Book Award is unhampered (other than some online meetings!) and we were able to announce the longlist yesterday! You can watch the video and read the judges' comments here.
We have responded to the current situation in the following ways:
We realise that some school library staff have been furloughed (incidentally, government guidance is that "furloughed employees should be encouraged to undertake training" source), and those who remain 'in work' are battling their own challenges. Our thoughts go out to all our members, and we recognise the emotional toil we are undergoing as a country; perhaps now is the time to start recommending #positivereads to lift our spirits. We are working to support all our members and ensure the SLA is in a position to support our community now, and in the future. As always, if there's anything we can do, please let us know.
Implications on Book Reviews - Joy Court
My connections with my reviewers and with the Production Editor in the SLA Office are all virtual and therefore unchanged by the crisis and ‘home working’ is my norm. There were a few hiccups where I only had a school email to use and some people did not have virtual access to that or indeed had not remembered to take the reviews with them when they were forced to shut up shop. I will shortly be posting out the next batch of books to reviewers and, as we know and value, the postal deliveries are keeping the country going. We use the Click and Drop service, so all labels are printed here and contactless drop off is possible.
We are entirely dependent on the publishing industry, however, and there the picture has been anything but normal. Publication schedules have had to be changed- books I had in proof and reviewed for this edition are in some cases now not publishing until the autumn. Where I had notice in time, I have held the reviews back but there may well be a few notified after we went to print and so apologies for that. With offices, distribution centres and warehouses closed the actual supply of physical copies of books is dwindling, meaning reviewers may get a smaller selection next time. With the closure of bookshops as well there is a huge impact upon revenue for publishers and we must hope that they will be able to weather the crisis intact. I'm sure both schools and publishing will repay each other's hard work and efforts during this time when we reemerge from this situation.