After I became Director of the Qatar campus Library in 2012, I started using a slogan when introducing my team at student, faculty, and staff orientation sessions – “Small but mighty.” It is a pithy and memorable way to share the impact of CMU-Q Team Library with new members of our community. Sure, we may have only two library faculty members and four library staff members in one ground-floor facility, but we do so much – consulting on research projects; teaching courses, class sessions, and workshops; supplying textbooks and other required course materials; providing access to physical and digital resources for learning, teaching, research, and leisure; and, of course, keeping the facility open, accessible, supplied, and connected year round – and we do it all with a smile.
Then came COVID-19. As our small but mighty team prepared for, and swiftly made the move to, remote working alongside our colleagues and students, it was clear that our essential support of the CMU-Q community would be needed now more than ever. During our first team meeting on Zoom (pictured here in a “Zelfie” = Zoom+selfie), Team Library demonstrated that we were ready and eager to provide the same high-quality, efficient, and good-natured service online as we have been doing in person for years. At that moment, I realized the word “remote” was misleading, if not wholly incorrect. We are available to our community via a variety of digital modes – email, WhatsApp, text, Zoom – and because of that we are everything but distant. At that moment, our new slogan was born – “Online … but never remote.”
I am encouraged to see that the greater CMU University Libraries are embracing the slogan as well. In the coming weeks (and months?), our continued provision of accurate information, scholarly resources, escapist entertainments, and a friendly face/voice will ensure that our community members continue to thrive wherever they may find themselves – with their University Library at the heart of it all!
Director of the Library, Qatar Campus