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Administrative Services: Full Text Emails from MIT Libraries

Administrative Services supports the MIT Libraries' mission and goals in the areas of Budget & Financial, Facilities & Operations, Personnel and Staff Services.

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On this page you will find full text of all emails sent by the Emergency Management Team

Full text of emails from the Emergency Management Team

January 4, 2021 Email from Tracy Gabridge

Happy New Year everybody! I hope that everybody had a peaceful, restorative break from work.  I know that I’m not alone in being happy that 2020 is behind us!

We have a flurry of updates about testing, vaccines, and space guidelines to share with all.

Relevant for everybody:

  • Prior to the holidays, the Institute provided a COVID vaccine update - Essentially the message is that MIT Medical has been making plans for when vaccines are made available to the MIT community and they will be following state guidelines for distribution and prioritization.  The update also shares that while the general vaccine distribution timeline to members of the MIT community is not yet known, if you have access to it via your healthcare provider, you should pursue that possibility.

For folks who work regularly on campus:

  • The winter break was a very welcome time off, but did have some impacts on testing timing for returning to campus.  Everybody who regularly works on campus should have received a message from the COVIDPass system that shared: 

“Those who live off-campus and are Covid Pass users (employees, students, or affiliates) and who have traveled outside Massachusetts and those who have not traveled but socialized outside of their household should plan to work remotely (if they are able), quarantine for seven days, and test on the seventh day. Ideally, they should continue to work remotely until a negative result is received. Employees who cannot work remotely will report to work but should follow safety protocols (masks, social distancing, and good hygiene); remain vigilant for symptoms; and stick to their testing cadence.”

If you have any questions about testing and timing for your specific schedule, please be in touch with your supervisor to work out details.

  • Updated temporary state guidelines on office spaces

As of December 26th, the Commonwealth has mandated that occupancy of shared office spaces must not exceed 25 percent of capacity, measured by a building's occupancy limit. Occupancy must also not exceed five persons per 1,000 square feet of office space. These measures went into effect this Saturday, Dec. 26, and will remain in effect until noon on Sunday, Jan. 10.

While we are confident that our current on-campus plans are fully compliant with the new rules, the Libraries Department Monitoring Committee (LDMC) will review all of our space layouts for those who are working on campus to ensure that we meet the new guidelines.  In addition we will be working with the Hayden renovation crews to ensure that they are mindful and following the new limits as well.

All the best,

Tracy, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team

Full text of emails from the Emergency Management Team

December 14, 2020 Email from Erin Stalberg

Ready for the last sprint to the break?  This is my dog’s opinion of Monday morning, there’s only one more Monday morning to go!!

FREE parking continues!

  • Free, on-campus parking has been extended through March 31, 2021.  

Quarantine update

  • MIT is changing its quarantine policy to 10 days (down from 14) based on new evidence and changes in state/CDC guidelines.  Please see the last three slides in the screen captures from the COVID call last Friday,  attached.  There is a helpful table that lays out the strategies and how they work relative to criteria, monitoring, and risk.

Additional staff on-site

  • We are entering a time when more people are coming on site for a variety of reasons.  Folks are packing up offices for the move, A&A staff are restarting on-site services (details on this to follow later this week), other occasional on-site work is happening.  We remain far below the Institute's density limits and the Department Monitoring Committee (DMC) is working on methods of ensuring that appropriate staff are informed about who is on campus when.
  • The campus COVID documentation which shows who is working where (fondly referred to as Exercises “A” and “B”) need to be updated every time we make changes to on-site services and staffing.  On-site managers should forward this documentation (including revision date in the file title) to their ADs and to the DMC for approval as updates are made.

Snow procedures

  • Ready for some snow?  The Institute’s existing procedures for calling snow days remain in effect right now, but we are expecting an MIT-wide update soon.  MIT HR is revising the severe weather policies to accommodate covid procedures. 

Good luck with final sprint!,

Erin, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team


December 7, 2020 Email from Tracy Gabridge

Hello everybody,

I hope everybody was able to be cozy, warm, and safe during our first Nor’easter of the season!  I’m pretty thankful that it didn’t produce too much snow and ice. I appreciated the opportunity to go fully into holiday crafting mode, making stars with one cut, to get me warmed up.

TL;DR - Today’s message has just one topic - the formation of the Libraries Department Monitoring Committee.

The details:

In October, in one of the Emergency Management Team (EMGMT) all-lib emails, we shared an update about Phase 3 of the Research Ramp Up, which addressed the need for every department, lab, and center to establish a Department Monitoring Committee to manage and report out each week to the Vice President for Research (VPR) about how well we are following the guidelines and protocols during this time of the pandemic. 

Up to this point those responsibilities had been handled by the EMGMT, but because the reporting requirements are now more extensive and specific, we’ve decided to create an offshoot of that group, focused exclusively on our obligation to ensure a safe campus environment for all.  We share the charge for the Libraries Department Monitoring Committee (LDMC (not to be confused with Run-DMC!)) below.

This group will use some of the robust practices we already have in place for managing the on campus experience for staff, such as the On Campus Feedback Form and put in place further workflows to manage and communicate with you all about changes to campus guidelines.

If you’d like to get in touch with us, we have an email address:

I’m deeply grateful to members of the team for their service in this new group.  The work to address the impact of the pandemic is continuing for much longer than most anticipated at the beginning and this team of managers has done extraordinary work, dedicated to the safety of staff and continued support for the mission of MIT. 

All the best,

Tracy, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team and the new Libraries Department Monitoring Committee


December 2, 2020 Email from Brigham Fay


Hi everyone,

Happy Hump Day from my neighbor, the alpaca (close enough to a camel?):


Here are two updates for today:

  • Looking ahead to 2021
    We know many of you have questions about what the next several months of work will look like at the Libraries, some likely prompted by Ramona Allen’s recent letter to Institute staff. We think an all-staff meeting after the new year would provide a great opportunity to discuss springtime planning. Watch for a calendar invitation soon for a meeting in January.

  • Institute holiday break and library services
    We hope everyone is looking forward to some well-earned time off at the end of the year, and we encourage all staff to step away from work during this time as much as possible and recharge. The Libraries will suspend all staffed services Dec. 24–Jan. 3, and only electronic resources will be available. Teams from R&L, DLS, and Collections will be planning for any necessary on-call duties should there be technology outages or emergencies during the break.

The Libraries will announce this service suspension to the community within the next week and let users know that turnaround times will be longer than usual for requests of physical or digital materials.

Hang in there (2020 is almost over

Full text of emails from the Emergency Management Team

November 30, 2020 Email from Shannon Hunt

Hi Everyone,

I hope you had a fabulous long weekend! I went hiking at the Tompson Street Reservation. Normally when I tell people I’ve gone ‘hiking,’ I mean I’ve walked through a clearly marked, flat wooded trail for about 2 miles, tripped over 2 roots, and saw 11.5 empty fireball whiskey nip bottles. I picked the wrong gateway for this hike, however, and ended scrambling up Sunset Mountain via a boulder field while some strange animal that sounded like a goat screamed (encouragingly?) in the background. I have all the strength and precision of a newborn deer, but I managed it without breaking an ankle so hooray! I saw some folks rappelling down the huge boulders lining the path, so if you like geology, challenging rocky hikes, rappelling, and have sturdy ankles, Tompson may be the spot for you.

MIT’s Covid Response Team met this morning, and shared the following which the Emergency Team would like to share with you.

Covid Testing Turn Around

Because of various glitches (including the AWS outage last week) 24-hour turn around on testing is not guaranteed.  If you’re up to be tested, you should give yourself at least 48 hours to get your results.

Calls from MIT Medical

We’ve been asked to remind folks to answer their phones if they get a call from MIT Medical. Talking on the phone is the worst and we all know it, but should there be a positive test case, contact tracing starts with a phone call to impacted individuals. (Other methods of contact will also be deployed).

Reminder about Covid-19 Related Time Reporting 

  • Employees who are unable to work because they have Covid-19 or are quarantining are paid at 100% of their usual pay for up to 10 days.  Support staff will use a special pay code of Sick-Covid19.
  • If their exposure to Covid-19 is from their MIT work, they are paid at 100% and do not have to use the allocated 10 days of Sick-Covid19 pay.
  • Example: employee who is a close contact of a co-worker who tests positive for Covid-19 is paid for their quarantine period and does not have to deplete the allocated10 days of Sick-Covid19 pay.

As always, please check in with your manager or any member of the emergency management team should you have any questions. We’ve been deluged with information that often has to change on the fly to suit updating conditions, and it’s a lot to keep track of. Obviously our hope is that we put systems in place that we never have to use, but we’re not out of the woods yet. I definitely identify strongly with the aforementioned screaming goat creature. (If anyone has any idea what that could’ve been, please let me know).


Shannon, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team


November 23, 2020 Email from Alexia Hudson-Ward

Good afternoon everyone,

I hope that you and your loved ones are doing well.

 I love to cook and eat so if you're like me, you're really looking forward to the holiday weekend!

Yet, I must temper my love of food. Since March, my epicurean pursuits have made fitting into some of my clothing a bit challenging.

 So, I'm committed to doing more walking this weekend and listening to some podcasts that appear to explore cutting edge and unique concepts in delightful ways.

 The three on my list to check out are: Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People with Chris Gethard; Dolly Parton's America by Jad Abumrad; and 99 Percent Invisible by Roman Mars.

 If you listen to any of them, let me know what you think.


Now, to the updates from today's Emergency Team Meeting (as of 10:00 am ET):

 Chris and Alexia attended the MIT COVID-19 Response Call this morning, where we heard updates on MIT’s COVID-19 testing, got guidance from MIT Medical's Team on safe Thanksgiving holiday practices, and reviewed the reporting protocols for those traveling during the holiday weekend:


For those traveling out-of-state:

  • Only two states are not designated "red" (VT, HI), meaning travelers from these two states to MA do not have to quarantine.
  • Therefore, please register your out of state travel plan in COVID Pass.
  • If you travel, AND you are regularly working on campus, MIT requires that you register personal travel, and you must quarantine for 7 days and then be tested for Covid-19 with a negative result before returning to campus.
  • If you travel, and are NOT regularly working on campus, the state of MA  requires that you either quarantine for 14 days on return or have evidence of a negative PCR test within 72 hours of arrival.  *Special Note: This requirement is important for those of you planning to come to campus for Hayden moving activities and/or those who are requesting limited COVID pass access to on-campus workspaces. 

If you are traveling and are not sure of your requirements for registering your travel, and/or of your responsibilities upon returning from travel, please contact your supervisor as early as possible to discuss your specific plans and responsibilities.


Guidance on safe Thanksgiving gathering practices:

Thanksgiving dinners with those outside your immediate household pose a significant risk –best advice: gather only with your household.


If you plan to gather with people outside of your household:

o   Gather outdoors if possible; if not outside, keep windows open

o   Have separate tables for people from different households

o   Do not use shared serving bowls and utensils

o   Shorten the duration of the gatherings


The Emergency Team and SRLT will ensure up-to-date guidance on COVID-related safety protocols is shared with all staff promptly.

The Emergency Team will also determine whether we will meet this Wednesday by noon tomorrow should there be new information for staff before the holiday weekend.

 With Kind Regards,

 Alexia, on behalf of the Libraries' Emergency Management Team

Full text of emails from the Emergency Management Team

November 18, 2020 Email from Sue Kriegsman

Hi all,

Brrr, I put on my winter coat today to go out for a walk before work and the air was cool enough to make my eyes water for a moment. On the other hand the fresh air is a good way to get moving and stretch my legs before using my shrink-ray machine so I can fit inside those little Zoom boxes all day. My first meeting today was with the Emergency Management Team:

  • The Restart Team is looking into moving the responsibility of the On Campus Feedback Report to a subset of the Emergency Management Team. 
  • Info on staff COVID Testing:
    • If you have not had a test for 14 days, you will be required to have a negative test result (not just a test) before accessing campus. You won’t be able to access campus without being tested, so plan ahead.” (see Covid-19 Testing Requirements). 
      • If you must come to campus for testing on a day when you are working remotely, the time spent fulfilling that obligation will count as regular work time on that day (up to 2 hours). 
        • Support staff: this time gets marked as “Work” in your timesheet
      • Please work with supervisors to ensure the time is planned and does not result in extra hours worked in the week. 
    • We have informed the union agent of both the testing requirements and the commitment to ensure that time spent fulfilling those requirements is counted as regular work time. 


Sue, on behalf of the Libraries’ Emergency Management Team


November 9, 2020 Email from Mohamed El Ouirdi


I hope everyone is starting to get back to some level of normalcy, after what felt like a very long and stressful week and weekend! 

If you need some help relaxing, here are a couple of my favorite playlists: traditional Japanese folk music or this tribute to one of the great masters of the Oud instrument.

And now, to the updates from the Emergency Management Team meeting this morning.

    • Snow closures and the Libraries in the times of the pandemic.
      • We inquired after the snow day-calling process. The Institute is aware that we have staff on campus who are not ‘essential’ personnel. Below you’ll find the response from Suzanne Blake, director of MIT’s Emergency Management.
    • Update from Friday’s meeting of the Institute’s Campus Space Contingency Working Group, that Tracy, Chris, and Alexia attended:
      • The group is in discussions around planning for spring student needs, and some of the topics covered include: touchdown spaces, pod lounges, and the needs around group collaboration spaces.
      • IS&T has a mockup of a space reservation system that could be tied to COVID Pass for real time reservations. 
      • In the Libraries, we are in the info-gathering stage around whether some of our unstaffed spaces might be useful to students. Decisions and implementation of this will be subject to public health guidelines and Institute guidelines. Feedback will be sought and input will be shared in a number of venues including: Services Restart team, R&L leadership, Collections leadership, Technology leadership, space team, etc. 

    • SRLT is starting to talk about current and future work from home needs. This is a heads up that we are about to start working out a process on how to assess current needs and possible expansion of support, that we’ll bring back to this group as we pull information together.

Best wishes,    

Mohamed, on behalf of the Libraries’ Emergency Management Team


November 2, 2020 Email from Felicity Walsh, MIT Libraries -

Well, we made it to election week! This feels like both a huge accomplishment and just the start of yet another enormously stressful week.  We hope that everyone was able to do something restful over the weekend and that we all have resources in place to get us through the near future.   

Here are the updates for this week and planning for the future:

  • Please see attachments for MIT information on:
    • MIT Election Preparedness (see attached PDF)
      • MIT principles used in approaching this work - flexibility, adaptability, focus on safety - including minimizing potential spread of COVID-19
      • Managing activity on campus Nov. 3-5, roles of Ambassadors vs. MIT PD
      • Resources for staff (links in document)
        • For Libraries staff, in addition to all the resources listed in this document, Chris and Alexia have scheduled open hours for those interested in connecting on November 4th to discuss how the election and related activities affect our work.
      • Resources for students (links in document, also MIT Reboot website)
    • Operation Holiday Break (see attached PDF)
      • Details and rationale for this year’s Holiday Break (12/24/20-1/1/21) 
      • COVID testing availability over the holidays to prevent loss of campus access due to this longer break
  • Reminders for all of us as we plan for the upcoming holiday season, this applies to all staff who rotate into campus regularly - full message from MIT Medical here
    • Registration of personal travel “those who are accessing campus” for holidays (this supports contact tracing if needed)
    • Please bear in mind this information may change in response to external events, so please consult these websites for updates as you make plans
    • Maria will continue to help managers of staff coming on site with reports of any staff who are outside of the 14-day compliance threshold

We realize this is likely to be a difficult week for everyone and that what makes each of us feel heard and productive will vary.  Please be kind to yourselves and each other and make use of any and all resources that MIT and the Libraries make available to all of us.

Best wishes,   

Felicity, on behalf of the Libraries’ Emergency Management team


October 28, 2020 Email from Heather Yager

Greetings, MIT Libraries!

The news from today’s Emergency Management meeting is minimal, but impactful - MIT shared the academic calendar for the upcoming IAP and spring semester 2021.  Dates of note:

  • Spring semester remote classes will begin on Tuesday, February 16, and in-person class meetings begin March 1
  • Theses for doctoral degrees will be due on Friday, May 7

And, MIT has not yet shared any decisions about what students will be on campus during the spring semester.  


Heather, on behalf of the Libraries’ Emergency Management team


October 26, 2020 Email from Stephanie Toews Moeling


This last couple of weeks, I’ve been taking walks through Somerville and trying to be grateful for and aware of the beauty of autumn, even in a busy city without a lot of trees or wildlife. It’s how I’m mitigating the anxiety around the reduced sunshine/time change (this coming Sunday), what’s going on in the world of politics and the pandemic, and the general sense that time is flying and I want to slow it down to enjoy what’s around me. So here is a quick series of pics of the wilds of the ‘Ville, including a volunteer sunflower growing out of the sidewalk – a metaphor for our tenacity this year if I’ve ever seen one.

I hope you get an opportunity to get outside and enjoy life this week, and with that, here’s the TL/DR:

  1. MIT advice and support on
    1. Responding to student needs surrounding the election
    2. MIT-sponsored events/gatherings guidelines
  2. Investigation into offering 24-hour study space for students in the spring

The Details

  1. MIT Advice and Support on:
    1. Here is some guidance from S^3 about supporting students vis a vis the election. These are useful ideas that are applicable to staff as well. Libraries have set up two optional post-election discussions on 11/04; but feel free to share this S^3 guidance with others across the Libraries.
    2. MIT has issued guidelines on group gatherings and events, including rules for on- and off-campus events (see attached slides and online guidance). The Libraries are not hosting any in-person events, but we wanted to share this for general awareness, especially for those of us who are working on campus.
  2. We are starting to do some information-gathering to assess safe options for opening some 24/7 library spaces for independent study space for Spring 2021. 
    1. Chris, Tracy, and Alexia are meeting with members of MIT’s Space Working Group in early November to learn more about what demand is anticipated for these spaces and to raise any issues we see for which we could use input and support.  
    2. Meanwhile, the ADs are reaching out to their teams to get staff input on what might be necessary to maintain these spaces to provide no-contact, indirect support for users, and continue to provide a reduced risk work environment for staff.  

That’s all we have from today’s meeting.

Have a great (if super cold and grey) day!

Stephanie on behalf of the EMGMT team


October 14, 2020 Email from Tracy Gabridge

Hello everybody,

Welcome back after a long weekend - I hope everybody had a chance to experience some of the great fall weather and colors out there.  This time of year always makes me think of apple cider and getting ready to hunker down for the winter.  One thing my family and I love to do when we spend more time indoors is play board games.  We tried out a new one this weekend:  Trekking the National Parks.  We had a great time and now I want to visit all 59 of them once that becomes possible again.

On to the copious news that we have via campus updates:


The details:

Research Ramp Up Phase 3

The Lightning Committee announced that Phase 3 of the Research Ramp Up is starting.  As a refresher, here’s what the previous two phases looked like:

  • Phase 1: 25% maximum capacity in Labs, 160 sq ft per person, 6 feet physical distance - Started June 15th
  • Phase 2: 50% maximum capacity in Labs, 125 sq ft person, 6 feet physical distance - Started July 15th

The maximum capacity was handled by managing the number of hours that lab personnel might work on campus to either 25% or 50% of the maximum possible.

Phase 3 removes that hours cap, but the physical limits are still in place.  Related to this, the Thunder Committee has recommended that the 50% occupancy limit for office spaces stay in place.

The Libraries Emergency Management Team continues to monitor the research ramp up phases and has determined that the changes to lab occupancy levels do not affect our current operations. 

One aspect of the Phase 3 ramp up that does affect our operations is the requirement that all Department Monitoring and Compliance (DMC) committees report weekly on any compliance violations we experience in library spaces.  You might recall that the Emergency Management Team is serving as the Libraries’ DMC.  This has a few implications for us:

  • For the safety of all, this is a good opportunity for us to remind ourselves that managers have the responsibility to manage compliance within workgroups via training and preparation for on-campus staff and walking around workspaces with regularity to make sure all staff understand the physical distancing and other safety protocols, and are following them. Additionally, any of us who do work on campus should continue to fill out the on-campus feedback form after each day of work.
  • We are watching the daily on-campus reports carefully and have noted the times when staff find people in our spaces that aren’t authorized to be there.  This concerns us greatly and we plan to use the compliance reporting process as another avenue to raise these incidents so they can be dealt with in a systematic way throughout MIT.

Encountering unauthorized people in Library Spaces

Related to the several incidents of unauthorized people in Library spaces - We want to support our on-campus colleagues by reiterating our stance on who is authorized to be in library spaces and where to find documentation and support for handling incidents of this nature.

  • To start: no one should be in library spaces except Libraries staff or facilities staff or vendors who have a specific reason to be there. We have posted large signs at all entrances that the Libraries are closed.
  • Documentation about how to handle incidents:
  • In brief, here are a few starting points:
    • If you feel prepared and safe, you can talk to the person to find out if they are in the space legitimately.  Jaclyn Wilson shared several good points on Slack yesterday that bear thinking about:
      • Even if it feels uncomfortable because the space should be secure and not wanting to be physically near other people, the person may have a valid reason for being in the space.
    • If you feel uncomfortable you can call on any of the managers on site or another ID&LA colleague to assist.
    • If they are unavailable or you feel unsafe for any reason, you can contact the MIT Police for assistance. Hopefully this is a last resort.
  • We’ll make sure that our documentation about handling incidents of this nature is up-to-date given the circumstances we are living with at this time.

More campus access points

The Space Working Group and Facilities have been working incredibly hard to create more access points to the campus so that people can get to worksites more easily.  They released a new map today that shows, via the black dots, where those access points are.  Please do continue to use the access point that is related to the zone you are authorized for.

Information about on campus touchdown spaces for students

We’ve heard that staff are getting questions from the community about where the touchdown spaces for students are located throughout campus.  The map linked above shows, via a bold red outline, the area in which the touchdown spaces are located.  This page lists the specific rooms that students can use.

All the best,

Tracy, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team


October 7, 2020 Email from Emilie Hardman


Hi all and happy fall! We really turned that corner, huh? The leaves are changing, the air is crisping, I went apple picking and got a flu shot--ahhh, ‘tis the season. 

So, let’s talk a little bit about flu shots. For those of you who are in the COVID pass system, you will find that getting your COVID test and your flu shot on campus could not be easier or faster.  It’s honestly remarkable. On Friday I was able to accomplish both tasks in literally 3 minutes and most of that time was spent simply walking from one side of the Johnson Ice Rink to the other. Now, it is true that I felt like I had been kicked by a tiny horse at the injection site for 2 days after, but that’s a different story… It’s also true that seeing an ice skating rink repurposed in such a fashion felt moderately dystopic, a sense may have been heightened by my recent reading of Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments, a long awaited follow-up to her The Handmaid’s Tale--the terrifying near-future New England exploration of life in an intensely patriarchal totalitarian society*. The rink certainly feels like it’s from a different time and one that is on the verge of being forgotten--why are there all these seats? So close together! And what for was a Zamboni**??! Anyway, reader, suffice to say that I’m just a little on edge. 

Maybe you are too. So, what to do? Well, the practical bits at least--get your easy flu shot on campus if you are registered for on-campus work. Seek out a local option near your dwelling and have a rejuvenating autumnal stroll to get one if not. Perhaps refill your allergy medication of choice. Have an apple. Check out all the facets of your plan for voting. Take care of yourself and your close ones. [Insert platitude here]. But really, it’s all true. Take care of what you can take care of today. We all have important work to do, but as Chris Bourg and SLRT have said throughout, we have to be focused on people first and taking care of yourself through flu season, through election season, through the lessening of our daylight hours season is all critical to that mission. 

Today in our Emergency Management Team meeting we discussed all of these things and planned, as part of taking care for the future, to revisit our business continuities documentation. Back in March at the close of the “Before Times,” our team, along with all the department heads, constructed plans to mitigate risks and maintain services in the face of some great unknowns. We now know so much more--how to navigate a pandemic while mitigating our risks for infection, how to be on campus, keep testing current, how to staff remote services from our closets and dining tables, how to back each other up and step in to maintain services and service standards. With all of this learning and with new realities and procedures at MIT, we will be revisiting and revising this work for the season ahead. Expect more as the leaves turn ever more to the full beauty of our strange New England autumn…

Until then, thanks for all you do. Be well...and toss me some non-dystopian, non-dread producing novel recs...I’m on a streak and it might be too much “leaning in.” Although for October I will recommend to you the slim volume, Ghost Wall, which I just swallowed whole the other night. 

Emilie, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team

*I mention this reason...

**If the digital dark age does not subsume all of YouTube, would this help anyone understand? Or might it simply drift them into sleep like a Medieval lullaby? With thanks to Chris, I submit to you 12 hours of ambient Zamboni sounds:

Full text of emails from the Emergency Management Team

October 5, 2020 Email from Erin Stalberg

Happy Monday, I hope you all had a lovely fall weekend.  Allyson Harper-Nixon shared this link on the Slack #random channel last week and I totally recommend it:  If You’re Already Dreading Winter, Here Are Some Small Ways to Prepare Now.  If your trashcan is too small, get a new trashcan!  Do the little things to make your life better so that they don’t grate at you, on top of all the big things to deal with.  When I mentioned the article to Drew last week, he cited this quote:  “It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out — it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.” (history of this quote).  Find something small-ish to take care of this week!

Today’s main agenda item was around Institute planning for the Spring Academic Calendar.  A few decisions have been made:

  • The spring semester will start either February 2 or two weeks after.
  • The first 2 weeks of classes will be remote in all models.
  • IAP will be fully online.
  • There will be no spring break, so that students don’t go away and come back.  There are likely to be mini-breaks dispersed throughout the semester.

A decision about the number of students on campus has not yet been made; analysis is being done now on spaces, etc. (You will recall that the Institute had initially planned 1st, 2nd and 3rd years to be back in the spring.)  They are currently reviewing MIT and other schools’ Fall data in the scenario planning.  We don’t have information yet on when a decision will come.  

SRLT is having similar discussions around Libraries’ services and spaces for IAP and spring, considering various scenarios.

Have a great week,

Erin, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team


September 28, 2020 Email from Brigham Fay

Hi everyone,

Monday greetings and g'mar chatima tova to those observing Yom Kippur. Welcome to the second week of fall (aka cider donut season) and Service Restart Stage 2!


  • Stage 2 services launched this morning. Many staff contributed to this enormous effort!
  • It’s especially important to get a flu shot this year. See who can get one at MIT and how.
  • We’re sharing a WorkLife and Wellbeing COVID-19 resource guide (attached).

Stage 2 Services Live

As you saw from Darcy’s email, Stage 2 went live this morning. What does this mean? Users can now request delivery of physical materials via the “Request item” buttons in both Barton and in the bento/homepage search interfaces (this is in addition to the “Request digital copy” button). The “Request item” button will lead users to a request screen in Barton where they can enter either a campus or off-campus delivery address (U.S. only for now). Requests have already been coming in this morning. It also means more staff are on campus to provide this new service.

Getting to this point has taken an enormous amount of work by a lot of folks across the Libraries. We are grateful for their hard work:

  • DLS: Tania Fersenheim, Melissa Feiden, Li Cheung, Darcy Duke, Jeremy Prevost, Adam Shire, Adam Jazairi
  • IDLA: Allyson Harper-Nixon, Alyssa Maynard, Ashley Clark, Astride Chery, Carol Schweigert, Cassandra Silvia, Daniel Pribble, Donald Long, Felicity Walsh, Georgina Lewis, Gregory Padilla, Hannah Winkler, Howard Martin, Jacky Martin, Jaclyn Wilson, James Eggleston, Jeremiah Graves, Jessa Modell, Jessica Holmes, Jess Shrey, Jonathan Paul, Lara Day, Pixie Rose, Maria Walsh, Maura Liggio, Melissa Feiden, Monica Ruiz, Moses Carr, Pat Page, Sam Hong, Steph Kohler
  • Other folks: Lisa Horowitz, Maria Rodrigues, Stephanie Toews Moeling, Judith Gallagher, Katie Zimmerman, Kim Maxwell, Martina Anderson, Nina Davis-Millis, Cate Gallivan, Forrest Larson, Bill Funk

Thank you, all!

Flu Shots

If you typically go to MIT Medical’s Flu Clinic, things are happening differently this year. MIT Medical is encouraging as many people as possible to get their flu shot off campus this year. Only the following community members will be eligible to get a flu shot at MIT:

  • All Covid Pass participants
  • All enrolled students
  • All patients with a primary care provider at MIT Medical

If you are working remotely and are not an MIT Medical patient, you are not eligible to get a vaccine at MIT this year. MIT Medical recommends that you look for a location close to your home to get your vaccine. All MIT-sponsored insurance plans will allow you to get your flu shot anywhere Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is accepted. More Info

WorkLife and Wellbeing COVID-19 Resource Guide

Many of our colleagues are facing difficult personal challenges during the pandemic. The attached guide shares some important benefits and resources – including new fall programs – that can support MIT employees and their loved ones during these uncertain times. These resources are available at no cost to current benefits-eligible MIT employees.

Be well,

Brigham, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team


September 23, 2020 Email from Shannon Hunt

Pandemic Greetings!

I don’t know about you all, but I am struggling with how to open and close emails during ‘these difficult times.’ My go to has always been ‘I hope this finds you well’ or some equivalent (and I mean it earnestly) but my email most likely does not find anyone well. I don’t want to just launch into business--that seems rude--but I also don’t want to sound like one of the many commercials that are like “in these challenging times, we’re here for each other, and Ziploc plastic bags are here for you too!” Let me know if you’ve found any greetings that are genuine and not trite.

And to close the email--I’ve been sticking with ‘Best wishes,’ but what if we all switched over to “Anyway…” at least until 2021?

Today’s updates are too short for a TL;DR so I’m diving right in. Community meeting today! Here is a reminder of the agenda. We’ve got a lot of good stuff packed into this meeting, but we’ll have alternate venues for information dissemination and Q&A engagement for whatever we can’t cover in our 30 minutes together.

    • Agenda for Community Meeting 9/23 at 3 pm:
      • Welcome (Chris, 5 minutes)
      • Brief status update on Services Restart (Lisa, 10 minutes)
      • EDISJ steering committee update (Erin & Heather, 10 minutes)

Also, if you’re looking for stats on how MIT is doing with COVID testing and results, you can check here:


Okay maybe that’s not the best outro. Thought I’d give it a try.

Looking forward to ‘seeing’ many of you this afternoon!

-Shannon, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team


September 21, 2020 Email from Mohamed El Ouirdi

Hello everyone,

Before I get to today’s updates from the emergency management team, I wanted to send a personal thank you to all of you who are making it possible for the libraries to keep moving forward amidst exceptionally difficult challenges. I also want to share a special appreciation for the ability of our colleagues to continue to be kind and offer to help each other. It makes me extremely proud to be part of such an organization. Seeing colleagues’ smiles, day in and day out despite everything that’s happening, makes me hopeful that we will all get through this together. Thank you, all!

A couple updates from the Emgmt Team:

    • Services Restart
      • Generally things still seem to be on the way and on track for launching on Wednesday. 
      • The DLS team is reviewing and addressing the results of last week’s testing.
      • ID&LA and Administration staff are working with UPS to confirm shipping options. 
      • The current plan is to have, by the 23rd, a minimum level of functionality in place that allows us to start accepting requests for shipping items to users on or off campus. We will continue to iterate with other Stage 2 options in the upcoming weeks, including potential on-campus pick up and BorrowDirect integration, and improving the overall user experience.
      • Li and Lisa are nailing down the general timeline with the teams, and will present any changes to SRLT.

    • Agenda for Community Meeting 9/23 at 3 pm:
      • Heather and Erin will give an update of the EDISJ steering committee
      • Brief status update on Services Restart


Mohamed, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team


September 14, 2020 Email from Maria Rodrigues

Hi All,

We only have two quick updates for you today.

Reminder - COVID-19 testing no longer has a 24-hour grace period for the first test. If it has been more than 14 days since your last COVID test or you are coming to campus for the first time, please be sure and get your test at least 24 hours before you are scheduled to work on campus.  

  • This does NOT apply to one-time access. Testing is not required for one-time access to campus.  

New Testing Location

  • The Johnson Athletic Center, building 34, is now open for testing.  To be tested you must bring your Covid Pass app or MIT ID card with you to the gym.  This testing is only available to staff who have ongoing Covid Pass-approved access to campus. One-time access staff or staff who are all remote cannot use this location and should contact their doctor or if they have questions.  
  • All testing in Johnson will be self-swab-tests only.  If you wish to have someone do the swab for you, then you must go to the trailers next to medical.  

Hope you are all enjoying the cooler weather.

Maria for the Emergency Management Team


September 9, 2020 Email from Heather Yager

Greetings, MIT Libraries!

This will just be a quick update from the emergency management team today, given that it’s the first week of partially-in-person classes on campus, and many of us are focused on service restarts (and the workflow adjustments, technical work, and backlog processing that accompany these changes) - I offer a simple thank you to everyone who has pitched in to make these services happen.   

Items of interest from today’s meeting:

  • New access points have been established for on-campus buildings - view the map here
    • Of particular note (and not indicated on the map): New E53 building card tap access points are active!
  • COVID testing continues at MIT, and the number of positive cases detected by MIT testing remains very low - view the data here

Thank you, all,

Heather, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team


September 2, 2020 Email from Stephanie Toews-Moeling


Labor Day weekend is nearly upon us. If, like me, you have squandered any time you had for planning and are now scrambling for ideas, allow me to provide you with several socially distant options from the “85 Best Things to do in New England” article from my husband’s copy of Yankee Magazine.

#16 - Get away from it all at Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park

“This Cornish, NH, gem is one of the least-visited national parks in America - a fact you’ll find hard to believe as you wander the tranquil former estate of sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, whose works include the stirring memorial to Robert Gould Shaw and the MA 54th Regiment, the nation’s first civic monument to the heroism of Black Soldiers.”

              #62 - See Immigrants’ Contributions Carved in Stone at Hope Cemetery

“The master granite carvers who migrated from Italy to Barre, VT, created monuments here that are as much works of sculptural grandeur as they are memorials. Founded in 1895 in the so-called “Granite Capital of the World,” Hope Cemetery includes a number of graves of the sculptors themselves-with some tombstones carved by the very artists who now lie beneath them.”


#71 - Unleash Your Inner Pioneer on Maine’s Bold Coast Trail

“No, you don’t really have the entire Gulf of Maine to yourself. It just seems that way on this pristine and oftentimes solitary 10-mile trek along beautifully rugged ocean cliffs in Cutler, ME.”


  • Please update your email signatures as appropriate
  • Employees reporting to shifts on campus MUST 
    • Use follow up form
    • Wear MIT ID in a way that’s visible
  • Reminder: Today’s community check in @ 4pm!

The deets:

  • Email Signatures 
    • When we fled for the hills, many of us changed our email signatures to reflect the Libraries’ closures and the unknown timeline of those outages. It is now time to review your signature and update as appropriate. Language you can hack below:
    • The MIT Libraries are always available remotely, and our amazing staff are working hard to carefully ramp up access to physical collections.
  • On Campus Feedback Report & Other Compliance Notes
    • All staff who go to campus regularly (not one-time access) MUST complete the feedback form at the end of each day they are on campus. In addition to providing real-time feedback on the on-campus experiences, we use this information to monitor and document compliance with building occupancy/density guidelines.
    • All staff, faculty, students, approved visitors, and vendors who access the MIT campus must follow the health and safety protocols MIT has put in place. This includes any MIT Facilities staff and all vendors (such as Elaine Construction) who we might encounter in library spaces. If you have any concerns about lack of compliance with MIT protocols by anyone you encounter on campus, please contact the hotline with as much detail as you can provide, so that appropriate follow-up measures can be taken.
  • Today’s Community Check In
    • 4pm
    • Draft Agenda
      • Changes to team structure for our response to the pandemic
      • Huzzah to on-site employees
      • Chance to socialize with each other

Have a great day, y’all.



September 1, 2020 Email from Stephanie Toews-Moeling


Welcome to September! September is the start of the school year, a time for new backpacks, finding great treasures on the side of the road, and the fantasy of starting with a clean slate, complete with a new, ultra-hip wardrobe! Well, this year I’m not getting a new lunchbox or a swatch watch, but I’m happy to report that I wore jeans yesterday, and after six months of yoga pants, they still fit! So that’s a little miracle to report.

Also, if you’re interested, student move-in is underway and there are some great pics and details in the attached ppt. If you look closely, you can find Dean Ian Waitz in shorts and a t-shirt who was apparently there dropping off one of his own kids. Still, seeing him dressed thus is very discombobulating, if you ask me.


  • Key takeaways from testing updates are below, but it’s going well! 
  • COVID compliance requires monitoring and documentation.
  • Access to campus is only for Libraries work.
  • Responsive team structure changes are underway.
  • This week’s community meeting: Wednesday at 4:00 pm.
  • No water delivery to campus or leased spaces.

The Deeper Read

  • Testing: 
    • Numbers since recent testing ramp up: 19,500 tests; 8 positives
    • Most results are available w/in 24 hrs, but some still over 28 
      • Medical working with Broad to keep turnaround time to 24 hrs for most tests 
    • Demand for testing is hard to predict because of messy data, so we may still see some days with long lines and wait times 
    • Adding extra high capacity testing facility (~10 days away) 
    • May have longer lines over next 10 days
      • Keep your Atlas app updated and check it for wait times
    • See attached slides for more juicy data and information!
  • COVID Compliance
    • All DLCs, including the Libraries, are required to set up and monitor compliance as directed by the Lightning and Thunder committee research ramp up guidelines
    • Requirements include: 
      • Establishing a DLC Monitoring and Compliance Committee (DMC)
        • Meet your COVID-19 Ambassador: Maria Rodrigues
          • Ambassador is responsible for making sure that folks have the information and resources they need to remain in compliance with guidelines; also, will be available to staff for concerns not put into the hotline.
      • Completing and filing documents that plan for safe staffing density and location details (Exercises A & B)
      • Monitoring staff density
        • Libraries are using the On Campus Feedback Report to do this
        • All staff who go to campus regularly (not one-time access) must complete daily to help us monitor this compliance
  • Access to campus:
    • Some staff are reporting that they have non-Libraries MIT activities planned this fall. If you are one of these folks, please be sure to check in with the sponsor of that activity for campus access. The access we provide is ONLY for Libraries work/shifts.
  • Responsive Teams are being restructured:
    • Many teams have been established to work through the complexities of our response to the pandemic, and while the work performed in those teams is excellent, the feedback has been that decision making and communication pathways need to be clarified.
    • New structure is being simplified to two teams that report to/are sponsored by SRLT
      • Service Restart Project Team, led by Lisa Horowitz, newly established to streamline issues and oversee tactical responses to Libraries needs.  A more detailed announcement will be sent this week.
      • EMGMT focus will be on taking in external info, triaging and distributing as needed, internal communication in Libraries, and compliance monitoring 
  • Community Meeting
    • Our next community meeting will be on Wednesday, Sept 2 at 4pm. 
    • Agenda to come, but will likely include updates on on-campus work experiences, responsive team restructuring, and a chance for all of us to do a little socializing and share kudos with each other.
  • A final quick word to campus-based staff: Per our conversation with Joe Higgins/Tolga Durak, we will not have water delivery at this time in compliance with MIT EHS guidance for staff safety. Please bring your own water bottles and refill at water bottle refill stations. 

Okay, hang in there, folks.


On behalf of EMGMT

Full text of emails from the Emergency Management Team

August 27, 2020 Email from Emilie Hardman

Hey there, all. 

Today we’re mostly sharing initial reports on return to campus from DDC, IDLA, and DLS.

Over in the DDC Slack channel, we converge around a question of the day or a small game to keep connected. Yesterday our prompt was to come up with songs about modes of transportation (no Googling permitted!) and together we built a collaborative playlist--DDC: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. As Grace Johnson-DeBaufre clarified for us,”if it gets you somewhere, it counts,” so there are also songs featuring submarines, starships, roller coasters, chariots, surfboards, SUVs, and even one’s own two feet. All of this because we are on the move! Along with a number of colleagues we’ve been firing up the old bicycles, the feet, the cars, the dusty T cards, and getting back to campus. As this first week of volunteer work to prepare our spaces for the relaunch of some services comes to a close, a lot of people have done a lot of work and learning to get things back in gear.

Overall, the experiences have been pretty smooth (according to multiple reports from the across the grounds), but of course there have been bumps in the road. How we move through spaces with comfort, maintain social distance while working, refrain from hugs (...if that’s your thing ¯\_()_/¯), set up new workflows, wrap our heads around the complexities of new conditions, new working spaces--it’s a lot to take on and figure out, but multiple departmental teams are moving it all forward.

Because of construction activities and workflow complexities, DDC has been setting up a pop-up in Barker Library. Our Imaging Team has equipment and plans in place to restart digitization activities there. Conservation Team has also set up a mini-lab space and scoped out paging and review of collections. Our reference team is plugging in to support these activities and will be on-site in what we are thinking about as stage 1.5. And behind all these teams, the whole department is taking on the responsibilities of appreciating, championing and stepping up to help make things go smoothly, providing support for our on-campus colleagues. 

This week, IDLA has focused on completing draft planning for stage 1 restart, submitting needed documentation on density, and finishing staff scheduling starting 8/31.  Draft is a key word here, as we expect to tweak and adapt as we learn more being on campus – everything from access routes, to testing, to numbers of available bins and book trucks are likely to affect what used to be well known workflows.

  • Working with Maria, Bill and Facilities on keys, alarm code access, mail restart
  • Working at all locations to check in, reshelve, clear holds, take down spring reserves, set up quarantine zones for materials, post and practice new workflow norms (revised opening and closing procedures, clean in and clean out procedures)
  • Set up and test new scanning technology to enable expanded scanning of reserves for fall 2020 (thanks to ITS for all their help making this happen)
  • Finalizing staff schedules and creating a shared Outlook calendar to enable clarity about who’s on site when (this will be shared in more detail later)
  • Redesigning Delivery for the current situation – the Delivery office has moved to the Barker conference room, and we are working to schedule YourMove to do an initial delivery to Dewey and the Annex to prevent the Delivery from getting bogged down trying to handle so many pent up returns with a small van

Working with stakeholders across the Libraries, DLS staff has done extensive work over the past three weeks to implement functionality in discovery tools that will enable users to request digital copies of our print materials. You can find the new “Request digital copy” buttons in the staging instances of our Bento and Barton interfaces - depending on the item’s material type, status, etc., these buttons will direct users to either an available online version, the Suggest a Purchase form, or our existing Scan and Deliver/ILB services. The functionality is undergoing final testing (with help from staff in IDLA and LIRS) and will be moved to production this Monday (Aug 31)

Oh, and meanwhile--students are back. Monday is registration day and we are officially beginning a new semester. There’s a lot of Institute-level information on campus re-start too. You can check out the links that were shared in this morning’s EHS meeting. They are here:

And here’s a link to the video itself:

Ok, here we go!

Emilie, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team


August 26, 2020 Email from Erin Stalberg

I know you all follow very closely who is up for rotation on the Emergency Management all-lib messages.  Well, today was supposed to be Stephanie.  But Stephanie needed to go escort Rachael Weisz to clean out her office today (see attached, masked evidence!)  And, so, I volunteered to swap the all-lib because next week I AM MOVING TO CAMBRIDGE and will miss my turn.  And THEN, we cancelled today’s Emergency Management meeting.  Yay for me!  (and thanks to Stephanie, who will still have to email you all next week in my absence).

In the meantime, work on yesterday’s new business continues (see Tracy’s message from yesterday).  And Chris shared the update that the Covid Pass app now includes information on wait times. Photo attached, see for info on downloading the app.

Have a great day,

Erin, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team


August 25, 2020 Email from Tracy Gabridge

Hello everybody,

Busy day today - so I’ll get right to the updates...

What’s covered in the message:

  • Meeting with EHS/Facilities Thursday at 10am
  • Testing stats
  • Don’t let folks ‘tailgate’ you on your way into buildings!
  • Feedback channel for services restart in process

All libraries meeting with EHS this week

On Thursday we are welcoming colleagues Tolga Durak from EHS and Joe Higgins from Facilities to join us and answer questions. The meeting will go as before: Stephanie Toews Moeling will guide the conversation and field questions in the chat. There is still time to submit advance questions here until 5pm today.

Testing update

There were 8100 tests done last week on campus, which comprises about 10% of the Commonwealth’s total testing for Tuesday through Friday, and 3 positive cases were identified  By Wednesday the wait times got down to 20 minutes or less.  Yesterday there were again longer lines, as students are beginning to arrive on campus.  The campus will continue to monitor and manage capacity - for instance they are going to add some line management approaches to help the flow of people work better.

Tailgating and new forms of politeness on campus

As a sign of the times, preventing “tailgating” (e.g. not letting in the next person behind you through a door) is the new standard of politeness and care on campus.  We in the Libraries are a kind bunch - many of us identify with holding the door open for people behind us when entering a building.  The new normal on campus is “one tap, one entrance” so that we close the door behind us and the people that follow also have to tap in to access the buildings.  So it’s essentially a new standard of politeness where we are active participants in keeping the community safe and healthy.  

Forming a robust channel for service restart observations and feedback

The team discussed creating a simple daily feedback form  to be used by all folks working on campus during the services restart so that we can attend to any urgent issues and make sure there is follow through and transparency on what’s happening.  The form will capture both what worked well, and what could be improved about the on-campus experience and providing service.  Once the form is ready we will share it and the process for reporting.  For this week, for the volunteers on campus, please use local work team processes to report any issues.

All the best,

Tracy, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team


August 20, 2020 Email from Brigham Fay

Hi everyone,

Just want to start with a quick thanks to all of you who respond to the many requests for content that Ned and I send out: selfies, shelfies, WFH portraits, pet photos, video appearances, and more. We couldn’t do what we do without your contributions. Now, on to the updates!


  • EHS staff will join a library staff session on August 27
  • MIT Medical’s COVID testing ramps up; providing clarity on who should get tested
  • If you take home equipment from your office, fill out the ITS form
  • Questions about commuting, testing, and pay? HR has answers on the Staff Web.
  • Opportunity to watch lectures (feat. Anthony Fauci and others) in a new MIT course on COVID-19

EHS Meeting with Library Staff on Aug. 27

Tolga Durak of EHS and Joe Higgins, vice president for campus services and stewardship, will join us for a meeting with library staff about preparations for returning to work on campus. Tolga and Joe can answer questions about building/facility access and safety measures. The meeting will follow the same format as the session with Suzanne Blake. Please watch for an Outlook invite and submit questions here

MIT Medical COVID Testing

Medical has a new trailer and tent for testing and has significantly cut down on wait times. They tested 1,800 people yesterday, and wait times were 15 mins or shorter. Results are coming in within 24 hours. The expectation is that MIT will be testing approximately 2,000 people a day.

Please see this blog post Felicity wrote for more information on testing and coming to campus. Feel free to reach out to Maria at if you have any questions.

ITS Equipment Form

If you retrieve equipment from your office, please fill out this form to let ITS know.

(For staff who already emailed ITS, no need to use the form.)

HR Questions

HR staff have received several questions about commuting, office retrieval, and testing and what counts as work time. Please see answers here. This document can be found on the Staff Web Administrative Services guide under the COVD19 tab, in the “Work from Home Resources” section.

New Course: 7.00 COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 and the Pandemic

If you have a personal interest in learning more about the coronavirus, a new biology class at MIT is opening up lectures to the public. Join Professors Richard Young and Facundo Batista as they discuss the science of the pandemic. Special guest speakers include: Anthony Fauci, David Baltimore, Britt Glaunsinger, Bruce Walker, Eric Lander, Michel Nussenzweig, Akiko Iwasaki, Arlene Sharpe, Kizzmekia Corbett, and others. The class will run Sept. 1 - Dec. 8 and begin each Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. ET.

Be well,

Brigham, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team

Full text of emails from the Emergency Management Team

August 19, 2020 Email - Shannon Hunt

Hi Everyone,

During this pandemic, two big sides of my personality have been warring. My astrological sign is Cancer, and therefore I have A LOT of feelings. I am also Boston Irish, so I want to hit those feelings with a hammer, bury them under a gravel pit and make a joke about them ever existing. I decided to err on the side of feelings here because I’ve seen how the stress of this situation is wearing on everyone, and I want to acknowledge that. At the same time, I want to acknowledge the wisdom, skill, expertise and heart this community brings. We’re moving imperfectly through a world that is on fire and I want to express my gratitude for you all. This is really hard, and it’s impacting us unequally. But this community is full of brilliant, talented people, and I believe that we will continue to solve problems and support each other as we do, even if that means we occasionally butt heads for the greater good.


  • Covid Testing Updates – things are moving faster
  • Updates from the Meeting with Suzanne Blake

Here is a direct link to the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 testing. COVID testing hours go until 5 p.m. today, 8/19 and 5 a.m.–5 p.m. tomorrow, 8/20. Reports say that the line is moving faster as well with closer to 15-minute wait times. For the most up-to-date information on all COVID-related news from MIT, check here:

Here is the link to the recording of the meeting with Suzanne Blake, Director of MIT Emergency Management. There are also notes in the original questions document (Thanks Sue!) here. Here are the links to the documents Suzanne shared in her presentation:


P.S Please enjoy this picture of my sister’s cats who have decided to quit their day jobs and accept their dream job as spokesmodels for toilet showrooms.


August 18, 2020 Email - Mohamed El Ouirdi

Good afternoon all,

I hope everyone is having a good start to the week, and enjoying the relatively nice weather. I also hope that everyone is able to indulge in the small things in life that bring us joy and contentment.

For me, and now that I can’t really play much soccer, watching a good soccer match is a sort of consolation and next best thing. I am a fan of the European Champions League, and it just so happens that last week, my favorite soccer club growing up: Bayern Munich, crushed another giant of the European soccer: FC Barcelona! The final score you ask? 8 goals to 2!!

I know we have some soccer fans in the libraries, and this may ruffle some feathers, but I am sure we can have a calm and reasonable conversation about it :)

Ok, on to the updates from this morning’s Emergency Management Team meeting.


  • Getting firmer service restart dates
  • Guidelines for material handling
  • Testing updates
  • Community meeting with Suzanne Blake
  • Update on access to campus buildings

The details:

  • We’ve been working on finalizing the on-campus service restart dates, pending final confirmation from DLS:  August 31st for updated request forms with duplicate e-version purchasing and scanning from general and distinctive collections; and no later than September 14th for shipping/delivery/pick up point for physical general collections.  We will communicate this to faculty this week, but will send a formal message to Libraries staff ahead of time.  We will also get our website updated with the latest information.  
  • The team discussed guidelines for material handling quarantine periods, and trying to take into account the recommendations from different professional groups (example: REALM Project report, CDC information, MIT Medical, state guidelines), practices in place in other libraries, and safety protocols in place at MIT. The aim is to create a clear set of guidelines to inform the workflows we put in place to ensure appropriate safety levels and service to users.
  • Testing updates: 
    • Given the change in testing frequency for people who are regularly on campus, there is a higher than expected demand at the MIT Medical testing trailer as everybody who already has access to campus is required to get retested.  This enables MIT to load test the current set up to ensure there is adequate testing capacity in place as students and faculty begin returning to campus.  The nursing staff is awesome and they are doing a great job! Yesterday and today, the line has been long but the staff are expertly managing the load.  MIT is working on increasing testing capacity by adding a 2nd testing trailer at MIT Medical as well as a third over by the Sloan School.
    • People should not go to get a test until they are notified that they need to. Notification is triggered either by getting entered into the COVID Pass system for the first time, or when you need to get a retest done according to the new campus testing frequency guidelines.   
    • There is a one time new training requirement as well. The training can’t be done on your phone, so it should be completed on the computer.  Once you are entered into the COVID Pass system, it will prompt you to complete the training.  Your access to the campus will be turned on after completion of the acknowledgement form, getting the COVID test, completing the training, and doing a daily attestation form.
    • More information is in the attached academic continuity slidedeck and the updates about testing procedures.
  • Preparing for meeting with Suzanne Blake:
    • The attached slidedeck from a presentation that Suzanne gave last week at the Academic Continuity meeting provides additional information which may inform folks for additional questions to ask..
    • Suzanne is ready to talk about how MIT is thinking about managing outbreaks on campus or changing conditions in the state, so we encourage everybody to ask questions about what the Institute is doing there.
    • We encourage staff to attend the meeting, and add their questions to this document before the meeting.
  • Access to campus buildings:
      • There have been a number of access and alarm issues in library spaces this week for a variety of reasons such as power shutdowns and equipment/system upgrades throughout campus.  Staff are encouraged to report issues to Maria ( if they encounter challenges of this nature when they return to campus.

August 11, 2020 Email - Heather Yager

Good morning, MIT Libraries!

A large cohort of Libraries folx have joined this week’s National Anti-Racism Teach-In, hosted by BC High - it’s been immersive, thought-provoking, and wonderful thus far, with a great slate of speakers. We’ve been compiling a running list of links to everyone’s socials and landing pages - sharing here for all to follow:  

And - the conference organizers shared out a NART playlist of the songs they’re playing between sessions, and it is :fire:!

Over on the pandemic response front, here’s the latest information from this morning’s Emergency Management meeting:

  • Chris and Tracy visited MIT’s Deans Council (the 5 school deans and the dean for College of Computing) this morning to talk about the Libraries’ plans for starting a subset of on-campus services. 
    • Chris explained that we will not have staff on campus to provide access to physical collections (via scanning and/or delivery/pick-up) until after new MIT guidance for returning to campus is available (note - that guidance is expected soon).
    • The Deans agreed that the libraries should send an all-faculty update once we have firm dates for the availability of our restarted services  (although planning and preparation will continue in the meantime and we will continue offering digital services).

Thanks all, Heather


August 6, 2020 Email - Felicity Walsh

Hi all,

Today’s message is going to be short and sweet.  Like these red pandas.  

Did you know that when they feel threatened, red pandas extend to their full height to look more ferocious?

We’ll be having our community check-in today at 11am and we hope to see everyone there!


  • Updates from Chris about MIT’s planning and communication
  • Answering questions submitted for this meeting from this google doc.

Best, Felicity


August 5, 2020 Email - Sue Kriegsman

Hi all,

Today seems like a good day for iced tea or some other cool and refreshing treat. Sometimes I wish my keyboard would turn into an ice cream sandwich and I’d find myself having a nice snack in the middle of the workday.


  • Next Community Meeting is tomorrow August 6, 11am and written questions are being collected in advance

The details:

We anticipate folks will have a lot of questions about where we are with restart planning. We have an all-staff community meeting on Thursday 8/6 at 11am, where we’ll aim to address some of your most pressing questions. So the EMGMT team can prioritize and gather information before the meeting, and share as complete and helpful responses as possible please add your questions to this shared google doc by 9am on Thursday.

Stephanie Toews Moeling will facilitate the meeting on Thursday, and she’ll start with the questions you’ve shared in advance. If there is additional time, she’ll also take questions in the meeting (or if it’s a direct follow up to answers provided in-meeting). We anticipate you’ll have some questions we won’t be able to answer this Thursday - in a lot of cases, the EMGMT team is still waiting on guidance from MIT, and information is changing/emerging rapidly. Given those constraints, the list of questions will be a useful indicator of what is most important to staff, and where we should focus on gathering the most information for you..

As stated before, questions about your manager’s expectations of your work schedule and location should be discussed with your manager. Questions related to your personal constraints, possible accommodations, or other concerns can be discussed privately with Library HR ( or our HR Officer Diane Stacey-Wood (

Best, Sue

Full text of emails from the Emergency Management Team

July 30, 2020 Email - Emilie Hardman

Hi all,

Have you ever made a list of the ways dear ones in your life would be able to know that an alien presence had taken you over? My short list includes things like:

  • You see me wearing a colorful print
  • I decline the offer of a vegan ice cream
  • My feelings about my cat, Mochi, appear to be just like kinda lukewarm
  • There’s a conversation about sports that I can add something to

So, um, did you all see Mike Yastrzemski end The Game in style last night?! He hit two homers and gave the Giants a walk-off win over the Padres! Mike Yastrzemski being, of course, the grandson of the Boston baseball legend, Hall of Famer and Triple Crown winner Carl Yastrzemski. No worries, I’m still me! I’m just sharing this sports news because it so obviously delighted our own Chris Bourg who was looking for some sports fan comradery this morning (it may have been experienced as a little thin on the ground…sorry, Chris). I’ve been thinking a lot about fandom this week because I watched a great documentary, Queering the Script, which was about tv fandom and representation. It made me think about how loving something, investing in stories together, sharing as fans, can unite people and fill us up even/especially in hard times. The delight of having your team succeed or seeing some unique element of your experience be represented in a tv show and the compounded joy of connecting with others who share in the pleasure of that—it’s a wonderful thing. I hope you can all find some delights and connections through engaging with something meaningful to you today! And may there also be ice cream in your near future. And should you want to chat about the many excellent qualities of my cat, please Slack me. Simple pleasures, people, simple pleasures.

Ok, and now onto the news.


  • Community Meeting for August 6 @ 11am
  • One time access form coming out today
  • New guidance from MIT HR on staff returning to campus will be coming out soon

The details:

Our next Community Meeting will be scheduled for August 6 @ 11am and an agenda is forthcoming.

Maria will be sending out a Google form today which will allow you to request your one time access to campus to pick up items needed in your work spaces. Please consider your need carefully and let’s all be cognizant of complexities involved in this planning effort. Thanks, Maria—

We expect new MIT-wide guidance on staff returning to campus to do work that can’t be done remotely to be issued very soon. We have not seen an advance copy, so unfortunately can’t yet provide any details. As soon as we know more, we will pass that information along, and if the new guidance comes out before our Community Meeting on August 6, we will certainly talk about it at that meeting. 


July 28, 2020 Email - Stephanie Toews Moeling


Day three of the heat wave in week twenty of the lockdown of year four of the Trump administration, and I’M BEAT. I basically just want to lie on a chaise longue and eat the black bean brownies that Renee posted in the cooking thread the other day. I want to immerse myself in a good novel (currently reading On Beauty by Zadie Smith but taking suggestions) and drink bourbon slushes topped with prosecco (ping me for recipe). In short, I need a vacation from this madness. My vacation will come in time (September, why are you so far away?), and I hope you are planning one, too. 


  • No visitors to campus; exceptions are outlined in email below
  • MIT-wide office access guidelines to be issued this week; procedure to access your office coming next week
  • PPE need being estimated for services restart
  • Staff ‘Readiness Questionnaire’ results are in; thank you!


  • No visitors to campus
    • MIT has released a final visitor policy for fall 2020 
    • Groups eligible to request exceptions include:
      • individuals involved in collaborative research
      • individuals involved in instruction
      • individuals involved in campus construction and operations, including residential and retail services; and
      • individuals who need to access benefits-related services such as medical care who are not MIT appointees.  
  • Office access guidelines 
    • While MIT is currently operating under the guidance that ‘all work that can be done remotely, must be done remotely’, on-campus office access may be necessary to further an individual’s work at MIT for a variety of reasons. To provide a structure for approval critical access to office spaces, the Thunder committee has developed guidelines that will likely be disseminated this week. Under the Office Access guidelines, DLCs will manage office access such that building density remains at or below 25% of usual occupancy. Under these guidelines, the Libraries will manage our own access to spaces.
      • One-time access: Libraries will be offering one-time access to staff offices via a process that is still underway. Look for an all-lib email outlining how this will work next week.
      • Ongoing and periodic access: This may be influenced by the work at the Thunder Committee, and will be rolled out at a later date.
  • PPE need being estimated for services restart
    • MIT is offering PPE to DLCs at no charge to us. We now must determine how much we will need to order monthly and how to get them to the staff who need them.
    • EMGMT members will be doing some outreach to other libraries to see how they are planning, stocking, and using PPE. If you have any insights into this to offer, please reach out to us!
  • Staff ‘Readiness Questionnaire’ results are in; thank you!
    • A tremendous thank you for completing the questionnaire! It is extremely useful to have your answers as we plan for services restart.
    • EMGMT is reviewing the data provided and has provided the details to managers who need this information to begin conversations with staff around the work we need to begin on campus. 
    • One thing we did hear loud and clear was that whether or not staff expect to return to campus, you are concerned about risks related to transportation to and from the campus. We are coming up with strategies to mitigate this, and will share more as we make progress.

That’s what we got for this Tuesday, folks.

Stay hydrated.


July 23, 2020 Email - Stephanie Toews Moeling

Hello, hello!

I don’t have anything clever to say today, so here is a pic of a cat dressed as a minion.

Moving on.


  • Look for a new, one-time access pass process to your office, coming soon!
  • Yesterday there was a meeting with union employees to answer questions on service restart. 
  • We’ve updated the staffweb COVID page to include links to the relevant Institute planning documents that we are using in our planning.  
  • Most results are in from the all staff questionnaire; thank you!

Details below; read on, Macduff.

  • One-time Access
    • Maria Rodrigues and the EMGMT team are creating a process for one-time access needs to pick up items from your office or the clean out of an office before departing MIT. It is not for recurring access.
    • Details to follow, including: how to request, need for forms/health attestations, and who is allowed on campus.  
  • Union Forum
    • On Wednesday, MIT Labor Relations, Libraries management, and the union agent held a discussion to review answers to many of the questions posed by represented staff in a previous meeting last week. We are working on packaging up any information that might be helpful to other staff as well and will share as it is prepared.  
    • One example of a question answered that is applicable to all:  MIT has two hotlines available to all of us that we’d like to make sure everybody knows about:
      • Medical hotline for anyone experiencing Covid symptoms:
      • There is a separate, more general anonymous hotline:
        • MIT has established an anonymous reporting hotline for whistleblower or other complaints about wrongdoing and violations of Institute policy. The reporting system is hosted and maintained by a third-party vendor called Ethicspoint.” 
    • Also, more information is coming about the work being done across campus to assess and prepare campus buildings for use and occupancy. We will share this information as soon as documentation is available.
  • Lib Guide FAQs
    • Can be found here in the MIT Resources ‘box.’ 
    • They include: MIT guiding principles for ramp-up, MIT FAQ about returning to work on campus, MIT Cleaning, sanitation, environment, HVAC, space usage, and MIT policies for sick leave, pay.
  • All-Staff Questionnaire
    • At the last check, at least 141 staff members have completed the questionnaire. Thank you! 
    • We will follow up with folks who have not yet completed (due to vacations, etc.) after review of the data. Here’s a link for those who have not had a chance to complete it.
    • These answers will be used by managers to plan for services restart and to mitigate obstacles that people are experiencing in their work, and we do expect all staff to complete it.

Be well!


July 21, 2020 Email - Brigham Fay

Hi all,

Hope everyone is staying cool. Anyone else excited/curious/desperate for the start of Covid-era baseball this week? Will you be cheering/booing virtually?

Here’s the latest from the Emergency Management Team:


  • The Thunder Committee is working on access to researcher offices (Libraries not included), human subjects research, and Libraries/Museum planning.
  • Please complete the Libraries’ Planning Questionnaire by Wednesday

More details:

  • Recent activity from the Thunder Committee:
    • The committee submitted a recommended process for providing non-lab researchers access to their offices, with an initial limit of 25% density. The process is being piloted with Economics and selected Media Lab and CMS/W offices and is expected to be rolled out to other non-lab DLCs in a week or so. We do not expect to use this process for library staff or offices. Please continue to direct requests for one-time access to library offices to the Emergency Management Team.
    • A subcommittee on human subjects research is working on a protocol for restarting research activities involving human subjects (on and off campus), in coordination with COUHES, and hopes to issue guidelines in mid-August.
    • The Libraries/Museum/Archives subcommittee, led by Tracy, will soon provide a draft report to the full committee with a justification for providing services, the services we plan to reintroduce, as well as recommendations for additional guidance and policy that is not addressed in other documents from the Lightning or other committees. There is continued desire for Libraries’ services from the community, but we are stressing the need for safe, equitable planning and have not committed to a start date.


July 16, 2020 Email - Shannon Hunt

Hi Everyone,

Today is a slow news day for the Emergency Management Team, so no updates on that front, but here’s an update from me/NASA:


NEOWISE is cruising 70 Million miles away from us and is visible with the naked eye, though binoculars are helpful if you want to see the tail. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on how you’re feeling about the current state of things) NEOWISE is too far away to destroy the earth or turn people into dust/zombies a la “Night of the Comet,” a sci fi/horror/comedy movie that I saw when I was way too young and obviously haunts me to this very day.

Here is how to see NEOWISE, as it won’t be back for another 6,800 years, and the last time we had a comet this bright was Hale-Bopp in the 90s. Luckily nothing weird happened around Hale-Bopp so I’m sure this will be fine too.


July 14, 2020 Email - Mohamed El Ouirdi

Hi everyone,

 Here are the latest updates from the Emergency Management Team.


  • Voluntary Office Access pilots starting this week 
  • Grants for students and possible effects on reserves services
  • CovidAcces update & Plan for approving who can go to campus
  • Changing frequency of Community Meeting 


The details:

  • Thunder Committee has developed a proposal for ramping up voluntary access to individual offices for research, and are running a pilot process with the Economics Department, parts of CMS/W and the Media Lab, and the MIT Museum.
    As part of the Phase 1 Research Ramp up at MIT, all research personnel approved to work on campus were tested for COVID-19, and follow up tests were given to a 20% random sample of on campus personnel. To date, there have been no positive test results.
    Thunder Committee is also working on guidance for restarting human subjects research, and library/archives/museums collections access.
  • MIT is offering a number of financial supports to students recognizing that there are significant impacts due to the pandemic. We are working with the Admissions Office and Student Support Services to determine if those supports are sufficient for covering the purchase of textbooks that the Libraries would, under normal circumstances, provide via print course reserves. We will share further details as they emerge.
  • CovidAccess update & Plan for approving who can go to campus:
    • Maria went to campus on Saturday and yesterday (Monday) to test the Covid Pass process. Some parts of the process take a bit of time, so we need to build in some extra time. 
    • The whole process changes tomorrow! Everyone who has been registered under the Limited Access system will have to go through the whole process again under this new system and process.
    • For now, the few  people who need urgent access to the campus can keep working through the Emergency Management Team. Once there is a bigger on-campus work ramp-up/service reintroductions we will need to change the approval process.


  • Changing frequency of Community Meeting:
    • We will cancel the meeting this week and we’ll move to an every other week schedule for the summer. 
    • There will be a meeting slot held for next week.
    • In order to have multi-vectored ways for staff to receive information, especially during the summer, we are considering holding open office meetings for specific topics the way we did last week with the service reintroduction updates. 


In addition to these updates that we share via email, more information is available and accessible anytime at these links:

  • Covid-19 StaffWeb page: has all previous emails from the Emergency Management Team, in addition to more information about the libraries’ handling of the pandemic response
  • MIT’s Covid-19 Info Center: this is the official MIT site covering the institute’s response to Covid-19


July 9, 2020 Email - Sue Kriegsman

Hi all,

My engagement with the Emergency Management Team is new so please bear with me as I get up to speed writing descriptive intros, witty comments, and thoughtful connections. It’s Thursday and the humid summer weather reminds me of growing up in New Jersey and going to the local farm stand with my dad to buy Jersey corn and tomatoes for dinner on hot evenings (yes, New Jersey is called for the Garden State for a reason). I’m grateful the local farmers markets in the area have opened and I hope to indulge in some fresh produce and enjoy it outside in this sticky mess before the storms roll in...and now let’s talk about things related to the Thunder Committee!


  • The COVID Pass is evolving to add some options for vendors and one-time access.
  • The Emergency Management Team is adjusting their meeting schedule for the summer.

The details:

  • The COVID Pass process is underway for everyone who is authorized to be on campus. It includes a COVID test and a daily ‘good health’ attestation. The Libraries are only providing access to campus when it is absolutely required. Access is on a “must have” not a “nice to have” basis. All requests for access to campus should still be directed to the Emergency Management Team.
  • The Emergency Management Team is moving meetings for the summer from Monday and Thursday to Tuesday and Thursday. The next message from this group will come out on Tuesday 7/14.


July 2, 2020 Email - Maria Rodrigues

Just a brief update today.           

Updates from Chris:

  • The Thunder Committee and its subcommittees are now meeting regularly. Sub-committees are:
    • Libraries, Archives, Museums
    • Human Subjects Research & Travel
    • Office and Equipment Access
  • Details about MIT’s plan for the Fall undergrad experience will be released next week.
  • Chris is on vacation next week.

Update from Tracy:

  • Tracy gave an update on Service Reintroduction regarding our phases. 
    • We discussed how to provide our reintroduced services equitably given the likelihood that many students may not be on campus to access services in person. 
    • As planning moves ahead, we discussed the need to rename the stages of our work to establish clarity between Libraries planning and MIT planning, which while tightly connected, will not always happen in lockstep. 
    • The Emergency Management Team will provide an update that will give more updates about service reintroduction and will include information about process, as well as open office hours for Q&A.

I hope everyone has a great long weekend and enjoys the time off.  


Full text of emails from the Emergency Management Team

June 25, 2020 Email from Erin Stalberg

It’s a cooler day in the neighborhood!  Or, at least, in my neighborhood in western Massachusetts -- I hope it is equally beautiful out there further east (or wherever you may be!)  


  • Caring for family and yourself this summer
  • Thunder Committee for non-lab research
  • Community Meeting 7/2 @11:30am
  • Open office hours regarding the budget 6/25 @ 2:00pm 

The Details;

Now that schools are out and we head towards the long early July weekend and bask in summer heat, we know that summer brings a mix of joy and complications, particularly for those of you with children but also for all for us trying to live lives and do work in this odd and difficult time.  We encourage you to find the balance that you can. 

  • We want to remind you that the HR Covid policies have been extended through August 2, 2020.  The HR FAQ is @ and guidelines specific to recording time are @ From the website:  The Sick-Covid19 code Is caring for a child under 18 whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to Covid-19. Or is caring for an elderly or disabled family member whose regular care is unavailable due to Covid-19. Note that use of MIT sick leave to care for a family member is normally limited to 5 days per year; that time limit is not in effect between March 16-August 2. Use of this code does not reduce the employees' sick leave balances.”
  • Please take advantage of all benefits available to you and discuss your needs for flexibility with your supervisor. 
  • The Libraries has an active Slack channel #mit-libraries-parents where summer ideas, plans, and concerns are welcomed and supported by parent colleagues.  
  • As you plan summer personal travel, please also remember that a number of states have public health guidelines that include quarantining and you can find MIT’s current guidelines around travel @


The Thunder Committee had its first meeting today.  This is the group that Chris is chairing to develop plans for non-lab research ramp-up in the Institute.  They formed a Libraries, Museums, and Archives subcommittee and Tracy is our representative.  Other sub-committees will focus on Human Subjects Research; Access to Secure Data, Computing, and other Equipment; Research Travel; and Individual Office Access. Chris has also been invited to the Legal, Equitable, and Ethical Committee (LEE - a group charged with oversight of these issues for MIT’s proposed operations during COVID19) meeting this afternoon.


Next week’s Community Meeting will be July 2nd @11:30, just before the long weekend.  Agenda forthcoming.


And, finally, a reminder about today’s open hours with Chris, Stephanie, and Tracy on the budget:  June 25th @ 2:00 pm,  Bring your comments and questions!

Thanks and take care,

Erin, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team


June 18, 2020 Email from Heather Yager

Libraries update for Thursday, 2020-06-18

Greetings, Libraries staff!

A huge, huge, rousing THANK YOU to the R&R Committee for the fun and festive Infinite Mile ceremony this morning - you made the event special, and created a welcoming virtual space for our community to gather and celebrate.  And congratulations to our Infinite Mile award winners (and thank you to our nominators and everyone who joined the celebration!) - you’re all the true heart and soul of the Libraries.

And now, on to the updates!

TL;DR (“Too long; didn’t read:”):


WWTLV;PFD! (“We want the long version; paragraphs for days!”): 

  • The THUNDER Committee (Ramping Up Non-Lab Research) chaired by Chris will launch in the upcoming weeks. Its charge is to provide guidelines around the ramping up of research not covered in round one (aka via the LIGHTNING Committee).
  • Lightning committee’s guidelines to common space usage can be found here.
  • The Ivy Plus Library Directors met to discuss the restart of Borrow Direct - the group decided not to start it up again before September 1st, and has not yet identified a restart date.
  • We’ll be sharing out the results from the MIT PULSE survey, which measured how staff across the Institute are adjusting to full-remote work (as with previous MIT surveys, we’ll be able to compare the experiences of the Libraries in comparison to all of MIT, and we’ll be able to compare the experiences of staff in support roles and staff in administrative roles).
    • We’re not able to break the results down by directorate, but recognize that this would be useful information for the Libraries, to determine how remote work is working for different departments across the org.
  • The Executive Office of Health and Human Services reached out to share information about free testing for COVID-19 in Massachusetts!  The state is encouraging anyone who has been part of a large gathering in the last 2 weeks to do so - statewide, sites will be open on June 17 and 18, and you can click here for more information
  • MIT Libraries leadership met with Harvard Libraries leadership to think about efforts around reintroduction and planning: staff engagement efforts were a key part of Harvard’s key planning and success, and we hope to align thoughtfully with the work Harvard is doing. 

Thanks, everyone!


Heather, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team


June 15, 2020 Email from Felicity Walsh

Greetings all, and welcome to week 14. 

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, so I’ll just jump in and start with some nice news about the upcoming holiday ...


  • MIT has extended the July 4th holiday weekend, MIT and Libraries are CLOSED 7/3-7/6
  • MIT’s Phase 1 ramp up information, how Libraries are/are not impacted
  • EMGT meeting and communication frequency 

The details:

  • July 4th Holiday Extended

As you likely saw this morning, the Institute will close July 3 to July 6.  Just to be clear, the Libraries will also be closed.  This means virtual services (Ask, RT, Digprob) will be NOT staffed, but DLS is equipped to respond to any systems’ emergency or failure.

  • Phase 1 Research Ramp Up 

As you might have seen MIT is starting to lay the groundwork to enable DLC’s start to bring staff on campus for MIT’s Phase 1.  This document provides information for all staff on how the Institute plans to handle cleaning, access to campus/buildings, testing protocols, parking, childcare and more.  This is a tremendously useful and thoughtful document and it will be used by the Physical Collections and Spaces group (described in the April 16 email to all staff) as we plan the Libraries phased reintroduction of services. 

Please note the Libraries are NOT part of this phase for the Institute.  The Libraries Phase 1 that Tracy described in her June 8th email is still in planning stages and has no start date assigned at this time.  Managers for all services areas (ID&LA, Music, DDC, ITS, A&A) will work together to propose detailed staffing and workflow proposals for the Services Synthesis Team and SRLT to review, understand impacts and make final choices from. 

**Please note, I’ve attached the 2 emails referenced above so you can easily refer to them.

**These attachments were the All-Lib emails from Tracy Gabridge on 4/8/20 and 4/16/20


  • Meeting frequency

The team has decided that, for now at least, we can cut back on our meetings (and hence, these emails)  to 2 times per week - just so no one thinks they’re missing anything.  For next week, out of respect for the meeting free week we currently plan to meet only once.


Felicity, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team


June 11, 2020 Email from Emilie Hardman

Hi all and happy Thursday. 

I hope this finds you all well as can be.

Yesterday was a deep, focused and quite serious day of #ShutDownAcademia #ShutDownSTEM overall for me, but there was one particular moment of extreme joy that I will share here in hopes that it will offer the same to you. My partner was clicking around #BlackinSTEM hashtags and happened across the brilliant @soFISHtication who offers the most spirited #animalfacts TikTok videos. We paused to watch a number of them together and really smiled and laughed and learned. You know when someone is doing exactly the thing that most gives them life and in exactly the best possible way? That’s @soFISHtication. I’m remembering that early on in these (then daily) emergency team messages I thought of them as ship’s logs. Well, if ever I were on a ship, this is the person I would 100% want onboard to narrate our mola mola sightings. 


May you all sail smoothly today --


  • Chris to chair Non-Lab Research Ramp-Up Committee
  • Building 14 Construction and Repopulation Update
  • Infinite Mile and Community Check-ins


The details:

  • Chris to chair Non-Lab Research Ramp-Up Committee

Chris will be chairing the Non-Lab Research Ramp-Up Committee for MIT. Meetings will begin soon and the committee charge will be coming next week. This will be an important group for planning service reintroductions on campus and Chris’s role will help serve the Institute broadly and position the Libraries well in these planning activities.

  • Hayden Construction & Repopulation 

Elaine Construction has requested we keep Building 14 empty of staff until the end of August in order to continue their rapid progress on the renovation work. This request has been approved by Chris & Tracy. SHASS has also agreed to this for the other residents in building 14. Staff may still enter Building 14 to retrieve materials that aren’t in the construction zone but they would not occupy Building 14 for steady work. We are very aware that this has implications for how we may reintroduce key services such as imaging of distinctive collections materials. Exploration of and planning for alternatives will begin now that we understand these new constraints and more news will be forthcoming.

  • Infinite Mile and Community Check-ins

Are you getting excited for Infinite Mile awards? It’s coming right up and let’s send out lots of gratitude to the R&R team for all their good work to plan this big event in these strange times. Thanks all! 


Senior Leadership Team will discuss today and determine how to integrate one of our regularly scheduled community check-in around the Infinite Mile, so stay tuned.


Emilie, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team


June 8, 2020 Email from Tracy Gabridge

Hello everybody,

Welcome to week 13 of work from home.  

Did you all catch the profile of Kaija Langley and Lanita Foley in Sunday’s Boston Globe?   Grace Kindeke’s voice was featured as well this weekend in Nashua.  We work with the most amazing people.



  • Lots of data coming soon from MIT about survey, charettes, and more to inform scenarios for next fall.
  • We will not be scheduling a community check in meeting this week in order to accommodate the AD interviews.
  • Sue Kriegsman will join the Emergency Management Team going forward.
  • The high-level framework for the Libraries’ service reintroduction will be sent today.  
  • We are determining the Libraries’ needs for PPE, and how to procure what we need. 


The details:

Data coming from MIT

In the last month MIT has run a number of ways to get community input including:  the 2020 option feedback form, Pulse Survey, Student Preference Survey, small group discussions, charettes, several town hall events, and they’ve received a report from the Undergraduate Association on their recommendations for the upcoming academic year.  There is a huge effort underway to bring all of those inputs into a coherent set of themes and recommendations.  Stay tuned as MIT shares the results in the weeks ahead.


No community check in meeting this week

Due to the schedule load from the R&L AD interviews, we won’t add a community meeting to the load.  We’ll be back at it next week.


New member for the Emergency Management Team

Sue Kriegsman is joining the group because of her new interim responsibilities for liaison to MIT Labor Relations.


Service reintroduction framework coming

Later today we will share the high level framework for service restarts as the summer progresses.  No dates have yet been decided, but we want to give folks a sense of what to expect when we do get started.



Maria Rodrigues has been attending meetings with EHS about many topics including what PPE the campus will provide.  While it is allowed and expected that folks can bring their own masks when the time comes to be on campus, we are investigating what else we need to have on hand and how to acquire it.


Tracy, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team


June 4, 2020 Email from Stephanie Toews Moeling


Today’s message is quite brief:

  1. Agenda for the Community Check In below:
    1. Chris will briefly address the current national situation
    2. Hayden construction updates and cafe name
    3. R&L AD update
  2. We are still working on scenario planning for the reintroduction of services in the Libraries. More to come soon.


STM on behalf of EMGMT


June 3, 2020 Email from Shannon Hunt

Hi Everyone,

June is Pride Month, and given the state of our nation and the world, it’s hard to feel like celebrating. However, though Pride has become corporatized, its roots lie with activists like Marsha P. Johnson, a Black drag queen who, according to one retelling of the events, hurled a shot glass at a mirror in the Stonewall Inn yelling “I got my civil rights!” It was the shot glass heard round the world, and an important reminder that change is possible. But those of us with privilege should not leave the changemaking to oppressed people. It’s up to white people to educate ourselves and take action against white supremacy and systemic racism. Here’s a great book to get started with: So you Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo. And, in celebration of Pride, here’s a fantastic memoir by Saeed Jones on “growing up Black, gay, and Southern in the nineties and early two-thousands,” How We Fight for Our Lives.

Today’s Update:

At the Academic Continuity Work Group Meeting (attended by Chris), a preliminary assessment of the quantitative feedback from the Team2020 survey was shared. Initial takeaways are listed at the end of this email.

Secondly, we’ve received questions about the weekly(ish) community meeting and wanted to provide some clarity on process:

  • Our goal is to schedule the meetings between 11-2 on Thursdays. We’ve had folks ask both to keep the meetings at the same time and rotate the time, so we thought this constitutes the best of both worlds. We are working on getting the meeting dates out a week in advance rather than week-of. From one scheduler to another, apologies for all those blown up meetings.
  • The agenda is based on Libraries’ needs, but also on information coming from the Institute, some of which Chris receives day-of, which is why the agenda often is later than we’d like it to be. This is also why we aim to have the meetings on Thursday so our information is as up to date as possible.
  • We don’t record the community meetings as staff have stated that doing so creates an environment where they are uncomfortable sharing, asking questions, etc. Folks are feeling extra vulnerable right now, and we don’t want to exacerbate anxieties by filming the meeting.
  • All information covered in the community meetings will be shared out in all-lib messages prior to or following the meeting, either from this group or the Senior Leadership Team. Because of this, meeting minutes would be redundant, and add a layer of labor to an already taxed group. If you can’t attend, we ask that you please check in with a colleague for updates, and see these emails for further details.

Please feel free to ask anyone on the Emergency Management Team if you have questions about our processes! Our intent is not to be mysterious (I personally am not cool enough to be mysterious) but we realize that it’s not always possible for us on the team to see how confusing some of our practices may seem. 

In solidarity,

Shannon, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team


June 1, 2020 Email from Mohamed El Ouirdi

Hello everyone,

We only have a couple of updates from today’s Emergency Management Team meeting.

  • Planning for the coming school year: MIT leadership continues to work on a plan for the 2020/21 year, and discussions cover topics such as: 
    • Whether to go for a 2 or a 3-semester year, and how that changes the calendar
    • Which students to bring back to campus, and what campus facilities are needed to facilitate the learning experience
    • How to account for inequities in students’ home learning environment as a factor in prioritizing which students are invited to return to campus 
  • Libraries scenario planning: we continue to monitor MIT's planning efforts for the summer and fall. The Senior Leadership Team is working on a service reintroduction framework that will balance the stringent safety policies and practices MIT is drafting to bring operations back to campus with research and teaching needs from the community. As mentioned last week, Chris and Tracy are now members of the new "non-lab research ramp-up" group that Maria Zuber has formed. The group hasn't met yet but anticipates thinking through how to support non-lab based research like the work that predominates in SHASS, SA+P, and Sloan.
  • Community meeting: we have another community check-in this Thursday at 11:30 am. Agenda will be shared before the meeting.
  • MIT Community Vigil: following the events taking place across the nation recently, MIT is having a vigil this Tuesday, June 2 at 5:30 p.m. (Password: 862788)

With compassion.

Mohamed, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team


May 27, 2020 Email from Maria Rodrigues

Good Afternoon Everyone,

Today we have a very short message.  

  • Scenario Planning - We reviewed a draft of the Service Reintroduction Scenario Planning document. This is still being developed and will be shared as soon as possible as we continue to get guidance from MIT’s planning.
  • New Institute Committee - Maria Zuber has created a new committee to investigate the reopening of research operations for SHASS, Sloan and the Department of Architecture. Chris and Tracy were asked and have agreed to be on the committee but the group has not met yet. 
  • Community Meeting - There will not be a community meeting this week.  We have two retirement gatherings this week and we hope everybody can attend those in community with Nora and Kate.

I hope you all are enjoying the hot weather.

Maria on behalf of the Emergency Management Team


May 21, 2020 Email from Erin Stalberg

For my SECOND email to all-lib, I get to send today’s Emergency Management Team message!  On the day before the day before the long weekend, I offer you an Origami Satisfying GIF @ I hope you have a glorious holiday weekend filled with lots of sunshine -- no zoom calls -- and warm weather!


  • Community Meeting today - see agenda below
  • MIT is planning a safe, gradual return to campus for graduate students
  • Research Town Hall reminder for Friday

Community Meeting agenda

Today 1:00-1:30 

  • Service reintroduction
  • HR transition planning update 
  • R&L AD position update
  • Budget process update

Safe, gradual return to campus for graduate students

While plans for undergrad classes in the fall are still very unknown and undecided, an email went out to graduate students yesterday outlining a phased return of graduate students living in on-campus housing.  The Emergency Management Team is sharing this example of the thoughtful, incremental approach by the administration as further context for Libraries’ planning.


MIT Research Town Hall

Friday, May 22

1:00 – 2:00 pm Eastern time

Audio only call-in line:

  • Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
  • US: +1 646 558 8656  or +1 669 900 6833
  • International numbers available here
  • Webinar ID: 920 5889 1756

Closed captioning will be available.


May 20, 2020 Email from Heather Yager

Greetings, MIT Libraries!

Here is our Emergency Management Team message for Wednesday, May 20, 2020 (I’ll keep it simple today).


  • Gov. Baker released an initial “Reopening Massachusetts” plan which identifies four phases for reopening, and MIT is also discussing reopening scenarios.
  • Construction on Hayden is planned to restart on June 1!  Read all about it on the Hayden Renovation Updates Blog
  • Construction on the courtyard is scheduled to start on June 29th (pending approval of the construction permit)!


A little more info on the “Reopening Massachusetts” plan and its implications for MIT, and for the Libraries...

  • Gov. Baker’s plan defines four phases for reopening Massachusetts, including information about which businesses and organizations will have permission to reopen in each phase (acknowledging that reopening is not mandatory).
  • Phase One of Massachusetts’ reopening plan lists “Laboratory and life sciences facilities” as having permission to reopen - highly relevant to MIT’s research enterprise.
  • MIT’s plan for reopening research includes pilot-testing the reopen of three on-campus buildings, starting with approval of each PI’s plans by MIT’s DLC heads. This pilot began recently.  The pilot test utilizes regular health checks, and makes personal protective equipment available. VPR Zuber will host an MIT Town Hall for research on Friday at 1pm. Zoom info available below.
  • Members of the emergency management team have proposed what a multiple phase service reintroduction would look like for us, taking into account MIT's reopening model, our staff's health and safety, and our community's needs. SRLT is considering the options and will make a decision soon about the phases, but timing of implementing them will be dependent on Institute guidance.  More to come!


Thanks all, happy Wednesday!

Heather on behalf of the Emergency Management Team


May 18, 2020 Email from Felicity Walsh

Hello everyone,

Welcome to week 10!  I hope everyone is doing okay?

As we continue to work from home into our third month, I thought I would share this podcast about how to show up for yourself (I promise it’s brief).  

Personally, I am struggling with exhaustion on every level, and while I intellectually understand where this is coming from (uncertainty fatigue, cabin fever, limitless sources of anxiety all competing for my attention), I am struggling to find or build the tools I need to cope right now. I found the reminders, not just to be aware of the easily overlooked good stuff, but to also be vigilant against the drains on our energy really helpful.  Being mindful takes practice and it affects both what I focus on (playing games with my family, videos of our new grandniece giggling, the birds singing, this Twitter post by local talent Chris Evans with his dog Dodger) and what I choose to let go of (things I don’t control, like internet trolls and rain). 




Planning for fall and beyond:

As you saw in the email from President Reif, MIT is continuing to refine and evaluate scenarios for fall and beyond.   Work is underway to begin testing how to repopulate campus, starting with laboratory research staff who both need to be on campus to do their work and whose being on campus can be made safe at that level of density. The results of these efforts will be made available to other DLCs to inform their planning. In addition, MIT will be hosting a number of activities In order to learn from the input, experiences and ideas of its faculty, students, and staff.  The full list is available in the email, but of particular focus for the libraries:

  • For all staff: Working with local leaders across campus, Human Resources will provide a systematic process for staff to help inform the Institute’s planning and decision-making for the future of MIT.
  • To get feedback from the whole community, we are conducting several online surveys to better understand how people are experiencing online teaching and learning and other forms of remote work.
  • To help us begin to imagine a post-Covid MIT, the members of Task Force 2021 will start work together in early June. Including a broad range of faculty, staff and students, the task force will also develop a formal process for tapping the wisdom of our alumni around the world.

The Libraries encourages staff to participate in these activities.  As always, please check with your manager to ensure that individual time and workloads make your participation feasible.

MIT plans to increase the frequency of communications on this topic, some aimed at students who are keenly interested in how MIT’s “hands on” teaching could translate reasonably and safely to a future that includes the need for remote or socially distanced modes.


Facilities is working with the Libraries to enable on campus book returns:

A book drop has been moved to outside the doors of Lobby 7 to enable returns from users who may need to leave campus soon.  Maria has been partnering with campus mail to make sure books will be moved into the Libraries daily.  This should also diminish the number of returns by mail from our graduating students (details are being finalized on this too) and reduce stress for many of our users.   

If this location is not accessible for users, they may also place books in specific  interdepartmental mail receptacles that are in service:

  • Building 8 (at intersection of Buildings 4 & 8)
  • Building 32 Basement, D Tower
  • Building 66 Lobby
  • Building E19, 1st Floor

Books returned to mail receptacles do not need to be packaged - campus mail services will know where to return the items. 

Thanks to everyone for your continued hard work and perseverance!

Best regards - Felicity, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team


May 14, 2020 Email from Emilie Hardman


Happy Thursday, all! Sun is shining, I’ve got three Zyrtec in my system, and tonight I am planning to bake garam masala cupcakes with coconut frosting and a cascade of toasty coconut shreds on top for a friend’s birthday tomorrow, so I’m feeling cheery as can be! How are you?


Speaking of cheer, DDC collaborated under the great guidance of Grace Johnson-DeBaufre to build a cheering playlist on Friday. It’s a wild ride of joy and you can shimmy along in your office chair/couch cushion/deck lounger/bed/wherever you find yourself at work these days: 


I was struck by this quote from a recent Pitchfork interview with Tessa Thompson, “I’m sitting with the feeling of being really undone by circumstance, and it’s nice to have a soundtrack to that. I can’t remember another moment where it felt like I needed music as much as everybody else did at the same time, for similar reasons.” 


Music and the community around it has always been really important to me and I’ve noticed a great uptick in making and sharing playlists lately--it’s a good way to get through. Tonight as I bake I’ll be listening to a buddy’s “Quarantunes” playlist. The experience will be 1 part dance as I bake, 1 part connection to friends through the act of sharing music and creating food, and 1 (critical) part drowning out my partner’s ukulele practice*... 


*Please note I am truly supportive of my partner, of the uke, and of practice! It’s just that I think even the most tolerant person would find themselves challenged by week three of the attempted perfection of Taylor Swift’s “Shake it off;” the ukulele carries this venture with...difficulty. 



Too Short; Just Join Us for Community Check-in!


Agenda for the community check in:

  • Budget process update (Tracy)
  • Brief update on New Urgency statement (Chris) 
  • R&L AD search update (Rachael)
  • Q&A

Emilie Hardman



May 13, 2020 Email from Brigham Fay


Happy Wednesday, all. In the spirit of Cookies with Canines, which would have been tomorrow, I hope you can take a break for a delicious snack (I might try some of these ways to zhuzh up mac ‘n’ cheese) and/or a dose of animal cuteness (even a virtual one). 



  • We will likely continue our all-remote situation at least through the end of June.
  • Chris and Tracy will coordinate with the Institute’s Space Planning Working Group on possible scenarios for a limited reintroduction of services and return to limited on-campus work.
  • Community check in tomorrow at 11:30; agenda to come


More details:

Time has no meaning anymore, but what do we know about timing?

While Governor Baker’s current stay-at-home order for Massachusetts expires May 18, MIT has announced that the campus will continue its limited operations. Decisions about fall scenarios are still pending at the Institute level, and they estimate decisions will be made by late June or early July. The Emergency Management Team is confident that Libraries staff will continue our current all-remote situation at least through the end of June.


Space planning for the fall

Chris and Tracy met with the Space Planning Working Group on Monday evening and plan to coordinate closely with that group on any and all possible scenarios for use of library spaces and/or possible future limited on-campus library work. Professor Rafi Segal (Department of Architecture) and Greg Raposa, space administrator in the Office of the Provost, will be the primary contacts from this group for the Libraries.


Any future return to limited on-campus library work will happen in a very different way from the way we all left campus -- we have the benefit of both time and MIT’s experience with limited campus occupancy since mid-March to allow us to plan carefully. Under any scenario for a limited reintroduction of services and return to limited on-campus work, our goal will be to limit the on-site staffing required to the minimum necessary to provide core services in direct support of essential research, teaching, and learning activities at MIT.


See you at the community check in! Agenda to come.

(That’s it.)


Brigham, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team


P.S. Please note that our organized staff should remember that they are now represented by AFSCME with regard to their compensation, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment. If they have any concerns in these areas, they should first discuss them with their union representatives.



May 11, 2020 Email from Tracy Gabridge


Hello everybody,

Welcome to week 9!

Being a fan of tabletop games I finally figured out how to play a few of them online with far-flung friends and family after being inspired by many in the Libraries who already actively do this.  We were able to play Settlers of Catan, Splendor, Dominion, and Codenames this weekend.  While nothing replaces the joy of getting together face-to-face to play, this was a worthy substitute that broadened the circle of folks to play with.  It was a fun Mother’s Day.



  • News from the Northeast Document Conservation Center - Advice on quarantining books = 3 days
  • Travel advisory update from MIT - no MIT sponsored travel through August 31
  • Q&A’s from last week’s town hall are available
  • Moving focus to reopening planning on campus and in the Libraries
  • Emergency Management Team membership update
  • Planning underway for a means for graduating students to return books


More details, where applicable:

Quarantining library materials:

The Northeast Document Conservation Center has issued guidelines for handling materials that are returned or handled by community members, based on research finding.  Tests are showing that quarantining materials for 72 hours, without disinfection interventions, is sufficient for safely handling materials.  We can use this information as we plan for our gradual, eventual move back to campus.


Scenario Planning for reopening

In the past few weeks the MIT planning groups have shifted their energy towards what it will take to restart various aspects of campus life.  Likewise the Emergency Planning Team is shifting focus.  We are beginning to imagine what could be the first of campus-based services we could restart as safety and conditions allow. Chris and Tracy will be meeting with the MIT Space Planning Continuity Team this evening to learn more about how the campus is planning for reopening spaces to staff and under what conditions.  As this work starts gaining momentum, we will determine and communicate processes, objectives, and ways to provide input.


Emergency Management Team membership update:

As we begin to shift the team’s work toward reopening scenario planning we are making some adjustments to team membership.  Erin Stalberg is joining the team as its newest member.  Welcome Erin!  Coming off the team is Jana Dambrogio.  Jana has been instrumental during our move from campus and the initial weeks - working tirelessly to make sure that collections were protected and that we got plans in place to handle incidents with them while we work from home.  She’s also been inventing creative ways to use easily available materials in the Conservation Lab to create face shields.  Thank you Jana for all of your contributions to the team!


Upcoming: Ways for graduating community members to return books

Like our Ivy Plus partners, the Libraries are working out how to help graduating graduate and undergraduates return materials. ID&LA is working on a plan for dealing with the estimated 2,500 items currently checked out.


All the best,

Tracy on behalf of the Emergency Management Team


May 4-8 No Meetings/Emails

Full text of emails from the Emergency Management Team

April 29, 2020 Email from Stephanie Toews Moeling

My friends,

It is now week seven and I’m worried about creating a deep quarantine rut. I am trying to branch out from unhealthy levels of social media, but it’s really hard when the sun seems to be playing peekaboo behind Wuthering Heights-level weather. At any rate, I’m reduced to basically communicating in memes, so here’s one that describes my current state.


I fed buttered toast with jam to both wolves this morning.


Below are the notes from today’s meeting. Please take care of yourselves today, and remember that next week is a meeting free week. We will NOT be having emergency management meetings next week and there will NOT be any daily messages sent.  We will, however, send out urgent information, as needed.


  • Webinar diving into the science behind COVID detection methods is available: details below
  • Official MIT communication forthcoming: masks are required on campus, stay at home officially extended to 05/18, MIT-wide Town Hall coming on 05/05.
  • The agenda for today’s community check in is below.
  • Clarification on the COVID Sick Time designation is below.


Webinar details 

  • If you want to deep dive with experts on the science of COVID detection methods and how that relates to starting up work again, a webinar will be held on May 1st @ 10am
    • Topic: MassCPR Symposium on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Detection Methods
    • From the Reagan Institute; presenters include: Connie Cepko, Jim Collins, Lee Gehrke, Marc Lipsitch, Pardis Sabeti, Michael Springer, David Walt, and Feng Zhang.
    • Institutions: Harvard Medical School, MIT, The Wyss Institute, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and the Broad Institute.
    • Hosts: Bruce Walker, MD and Arlene Sharpe, MD, PhD, Faculty Co-Leaders of MassCPR
  • This webinar will be recorded. Please click the link below to join:


Official MIT communications

  • There is a new MIT advisory coming out pertaining to updated city and state orders to stay at home through May 18. Requirements include:
    • Face coverings are required on campus, responding to the Cambridge City declaration
    • Every student on campus has been given a care package including face masks
    • MIT will provide face masks to anyone who has permission to come to campus; Lobby 7 is the location for pick up
      • No one in the MIT Libraries is currently cleared to go to campus. Please be sure to formally request access if you need it from the emgmt team.
  • Another MIT-wide Town Hall is coming next Tuesday afternoon. MIT leadership plans to provide insights into the decision-making process, and the complexity of decisions related to Fall semester options and plans to ramp up on-campus research activities. 


Agenda for the community check in @ 2pm today - 04/29:

  • 2:00pm - Chris presentation: MIT Libraries Vision - A New Urgency
  • 2:30pm - Q&A
  • 2:50pm - Adjourn


Clarification on the COVID Sick Time designation

  • Please use the COVID sick time designation when you or someone you are caring for is sick with symptoms that may or may not be officially confirmed as COVID-19.
  • If you need to take a mental health day, use your vacation time or regular sick hours.
  • The COVID sick time designation is a way that MIT is tracking how many hours of work have been directly impacted by COVID-19.


April 27, 2020 Email from Rachael Weisz

Hello Libraries’ Folks-

Welcome to week 7!  We decided, in this morning’s Emergency Management Team meeting, that it’s “Lucky Week 7,” and I’m going whole-hog in on that.  Share your good luck news!  I got lucky over the weekend when my brother did a Zoom tutorial for me on how to sew a better face mask than the ones I was making; did you know that the twisties from coffee bags can be hot-glued into masks so that they fit better around your nose?!?  

Here are the highlights from today’s Emergency Management team meeting:


  • Scenario planning continues at all levels of MIT leadership; not yet clear what the fall semester will look like.
  • We await input from MIT on future options to retrieve items from on-campus workspaces.
  • Libs department heads asked to engage in the next stage of business continuity planning.
  • Please note: change in time for Community Meetings and agenda.
  • Self care reminder below.


The details:

  • Scenario planning: Chris shared two different articles of interest: one from the president of Brown University and one from the Chronicle of Higher Ed as food for thought.  The EMGMT team started a discussion around what additional information we might need to do informed planning.  There is a small subgroup thinking about our spaces and what information would be most useful to us as we plan.
  • Retrieving stuff from our on-campus workspaces:  Managers have heard from some staff who are experiencing challenges trying to work in spaces that weren’t built for work.  We understand that there may be equipment/materials/etc. in office spaces that would improve your productivity and working experience.  We’re trying to get guidance from the Institute about whether we could be allowed some limited access to campus in the coming months; we’ve raised this and have been told some additional guidance will be coming in mid-May.  
  • We are building on the succession planning that managers did a few weeks ago to create more in-depth business continuity plans.  We are using an adapted worksheet from MIT EHS to map out how we support the services we are offering today should we have a number of staff out due to illness or caring for family members who fall ill.  All department heads have been asked to map out business continuity in their areas.  The succession planning and business continuity plans are an important part of a healthy emergency planning eco-system. 
  • Community Meeting time change and important agenda: Our Community Meeting time has shifted to Wednesday this week and we are asking people to hold 50 minutes so that Chris can share a new take on our vision based on current circumstances.
  • Taking care of ourselves: This is hard, folks.  I am finding myself exhausted at the end of each day, falling into bed, and too tired to even crack my book.  This is a reminder that we all have access to paid time off benefits from MIT, and we encourage folks to use time off to care for themselves.  I, personally, am taking a mental health day on Friday!


Hang in there, wash your hands, and be well!

Rachael, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team


April 23, 2020 Email from Shannon Hunt

Good morning!

I hope you are all hanging in, and I look forward to seeing many of you soon at the community meeting. Has anyone cut bangs yet? If you ever wanted to try out a mullet, now is the time to do it. While I have not given myself bangs yet (not ready for the ‘Teddy Roosevelt’s Moustache but on my forehead look’ yet) I have been working on some of the projects I’ve been putting off, most of which involve excessive contact paper and super glue.


Today’s message is actually an agenda for the Community Meeting:


  • MIT’s scenarios for length of remote work (Chris)
  • Updates on Digital Lending—shout out to amazing staff efforts (Emilie)
  • Thank you from staff to graduating student workers (Brigham/All of us—will be recorded)


For the third bullet, sadly we won’t be able to celebrate our graduating student workers like we normally do, so Brigham is going to lead us in a big group Thank You which we’ll share with them in video form. This portion of the meeting will be recorded (obviously).


Take care, and see you soon!

-Shannon – on behalf of the Emergency Management Team


P.S. Sophie is not AT ALL impressed with my cacti contact papering of the hand-me-down credenza my stepmother gave me, and I bet you my stepmother won’t be super impressed when she sees it either. But thanks to social distancing, that could be a very long way out!




April 22, 2020 Email from Mohamed El Ouirdi

Good afternoon colleagues,

Welcome to week…, wait, what week is it again? Well, I think I am just going to switch to months at this point! So I know it’s been more than a month but less than two months, so let’s call it: month 1.x.

I hope everyone had a long and restful weekend, and that you were able to relax and recharge. I also hope that this week, which is supposed to be short, on paper, actually feels short!


One thing that is different for me, and for most of you I am sure, is that I don’t have to commute to work! Not having to spend almost two hours on the red line every day, has opened up many possibilities for me. One of the things I get to do a bit more of is meditation, and today I am reflecting on a quote by Rumi: “You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean, in a drop”.

And with that, here are the highlights from today’s Emergency Management Team meeting:



  • MIT-wide updates = further discussion of campus return scenarios and density.
  • Electrical transfer switch in NE36 requires computers to be restarted.
  • Policy on equipment purchasing to support WFH is being reviewed.
  • If you use the new VPN service, please read the update below.


The details:

MIT-wide updates:

  • Scenarios for coming back to campus to conduct research and engage in teaching/learning activities are being reviewed. Noting that “doing research on campus is a privilege, not a right,” the Institute is considering what is the proper balance between risk and continuity. The thought/calculations for coming back to campus includes a goal of providing 160 square feet per person. This makes classroom assignments very difficult. With these guidelines, there are only 40 classrooms that could fit more than 10 students
  • Under all scenarios for bringing students and/or research back to campus, it is expected that staff work that can continue to be done remotely will remain remote. Once we know what activities will return to campus and when, we will need to re-assess the need for on-campus library services.   
  • Student Success Coaches program is going really well - participation rates are high, and students are extremely appreciative of the support and the additional contact point with MIT.

Electrical transfer switch in NE36:

  • A power test is needed in NE36 and is planned for Saturday. A number of staff are relying on remote access to their desktops on campus, so someone will need to access the building to turn them back on. Emgmt team has approved that Mohamed will submit the formal request to Krystyn Van Vliet and her team, to have a staff member from ITS handle this task.


Review of policy on purchasing equipment to support at home work

  • ITS has been receiving requests for monitors and other equipment from staff to be used in home office setups, given the expectation that we may be remote for an extended period of time. Because we need to better understand the overall staff needs around equipment, we have set up a team to survey the issue and then suggest an approach to meeting those needs that takes a variety of criteria into account.

Update on the new VPN service:

  • ITS continues to test the beta version of the new VPN service that IS&T rolled out a couple of weeks ago. We found a number of issues with the service, that we are working to address with IS&T. Because of that, we recommend that staff don’t use the service at this time. One of the potentially more serious issues is a strange behavior we’ve observed when trying to access electronic resources though the new VPN. Mohamed will convene a team from the libraries and IS&T to investigate further and find out what our options are.

Mohamed - on behalf of the Emergency Management Team


April 15, 2020 Email from Rachael Weisz

Hello to my Libraries’ Peeps-

How are you all, out there in virtual land?  I miss seeing your faces and sharing snacks, listening to bad Dad jokes, solving problems together, and having people pop into my office for chocolate.  It’s just not the same here at home, although we have had some excitement on the home front: my son and I mastered sourdough starter and have been baking like mad.  Some of you may appreciate our humor: 




  • Some MORE MIT-wide updates are available.
  • The Emergency Management Team and Senior Leadership Teams are starting to think about how to plan for various scenarios of ramping up research on campus.
  • Construction updates with bonus photos!


Some MIT-wide updates include: 

  • There was a story on NBC about face shield efforts.
  • MIT has created the MIT Staff Emergency Hardship Fund, providing financial assistance to MIT staff and post-docs who are experiencing financial hardship.  I will be sending out information about additional resources from Central HR tomorrow.


Scenario Planning:

  • MIT’s Academic Continuity team is discussing seven possible scenarios for the Summer and Fall 2020, and Spring 2021, ranging from “we all continue to huddle in place” to “close to normal.”  Conversations began in the Emergency Management Team about how best to think about our work in each scenario; this work will continue in the Senior Leadership Team meeting and will involve Department Heads and Managers as we get closer to defining what our work might look like. 



Construction Update

  • Progress on the Hayden renovation continues! While construction is paused, the teams continue to work on furniture selections and service design.  And, in the most exciting news I have heard today, construction was approved for Hayden Courtyard, where we can all gather once we are allowed to gather.  


Wishing you all good health, an excess of TP, and maintenance of sanity.

Rachael, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team


April 13, 2020 Email from Stephanie Toews Moeling


Good day and welcome to Week Five (5)! You made it, if by the skin of your teeth. Last night, I decided that I would FINALLY overcome whatever it is that has prevented me from getting up early and exercising. That I would get up and do hair and makeup, and eat a healthy breakfast for good energy all day. Well, my dog Gus woke me up every three hours last night because he had belly issues that needed walks to resolve, and my plans went out the window as I overslept and then ate leftover chocolate cake for breakfast. And you know what? It’s okay; I’m okay. I hope you had chocolate cake, too; and if you didn’t, give it a whirl. It turns a frown upside-down.



  • Some MIT-wide updates are available if you care to read on
  • Community Check Ins will have agendas & we will send emails 2-3 times per week
  • Mental Health Days: craft your own by using this clever technique! 


Some MIT-wide updates include: 

  1. President Reif will send an email to students today with information and ideas about the Institute’s financial situation, planning for the fall semester, and the aim to have these decisions made by mid-summer. 
  2. Planning for MIT’s many summer programs is on-going. All programs planned for now thru the end of June are being cancelled or ‘virtualized. Decisions about July and August programs will be made by late May..  
  3. Campus space to support ill or convalescing members of the MIT and local community is expanding to include use of the ice rink in the Johnson Athletic Center.
  4. VP Research Maria Zuber is reviewing results of a recent  survey of attitudes and experiences of the graduate students, staff, and postdocs who continue to work on campus supporting essential research. Results of the survey will inform the Institute’s decisions about how we will repopulate campus when the time is right. 


Emgmt-Lib Communication Update:

  • We heard at the Community Check Ins that the balance of news delivery and light-hearted check in is a good plan, but that we ought to share agendas in advance. We will do that starting this week, and what you can generally expect is that Chris will share updates for the first 10 minutes, followed by Q&A and/or discussion, followed by open discussion.
  • Also, Emgmt-Lib will send these ‘daily’ emails 2-3 times a week, following the cadence of our meetings and depending on having updates to communicate.


Hopefully all of you had the opportunity to use the Mental Health Day last Friday or have a planned day not too far in the future. I used the day to do nothing more complex than a jigsaw puzzle, which I completed in less than 24 hours. (Yes, that’s a brag.) However, I think that I may need more mental health days than just that one. But how to do it? Here’s a DIY and a bit of technical HR info that you can use to your advantage.

  • Use your own sick time or vacation time to block out work for your mental health benefit. This is legit, so feel free, as long as you’ve discussed with your manager.
  • FYI: Your vacation accrues at 1.67 days per month (there is an hourly equivalent), and you may accrue up to 40 days. Vacation is use it or lose it, so no more days accrue after you hit 40, no matter how hard you work. Many people like to keep a very full bank of vacation days so that they can take long vacations on the French Riviera, etc., but in this time of limited travel, you may choose to use your time differently. Consider using a vacation day as mental health day and be sure to track it. 

I’m considering taking Fridays off for a while because I just got two new puzzles and I am on a streak! (Also pictured here: chocolate cake plate from breakfast.)


Okay, that’s all the news that’s fit to print. I hope you all are happier than the gray skies that seem to be perpetually overhead. I send my warmest wishes to you all!

Stephanie on behalf of the Emgmt team


April 8, 2020 Email from Brigham Fay

Hello all,

I hope you’re having a good Wednesday and wish a happy Passover to all who are celebrating.

Yesterday my dog, Luna, had her first taste of pizza when I dropped a half-eaten slice on the ground. It’s important to savor those small moments of pure joy right now, and I hope you all get to enjoy your version of floor pizza today.



  • MIT has a hardship fund for staff, and the Libraries will contribute.
  • The MIT Town Hall recording is available, and questions are still being accepted.
  • The community check-in is tomorrow, and we’ll discuss the frequency of these messages.


More details:

  • MIT has a Staff Emergency Hardship Fund that is administered by the Work/Life Office and seeks to help employees facing financial hardship. Given the financial impact of COVID-19, there are now more staff than ever with financial hardships. Contributions will help those in serious need and keep them as part of our community.


The Provost has approved contributions from DLCs’ discretionary funds of up to $2,000, and the Libraries will make a contribution to the fund. Those of you who are able may consider making a gift as well. Once there are enough funds in the account, the Work/Life Office will solicit applications.


  • You can watch a recording of yesterday’s Town Hall. Institute leaders shared some important information about MIT’s finances, online learning, ongoing research, and efforts to help those on the front lines of fighting the pandemic. I was impressed to hear that MIT (including the Libraries) donated more than 600,000 pieces of PPE!

There will be additional town halls with more interactive formats. Questions are still being accepted at this address:


  • Tomorrow is another community check-in (at 1pm), and we hope you and your pets will join us. One of the topics we’ll discuss is the frequency of these messages; please bring any other questions you might have.


Be well, Brigham on behalf of the Emergency Management Team


April 7, 2020 Email from Emilie Hardman

Hey all--here we are on a sunny Tuesday and I’m imagining a different morning--one where maybe I biked into work and the sun was on my face and the wind in my hair. Sometimes it’s these little moments of normal which seem so out of reach and far away that make me a bit melancholic. You? 


Should you need to lean in a bit, you could do worse than celebrate the inimitable Billy Holiday (1915-1959) today, as it would have been her birthday. Get some glorious sun on your skin and let some shadows play across you too as you listen...


Billie Holiday’s burned voice

had as many shadows as lights,

a mournful candelabra against a sleek piano,

the gardenia her signature under that ruined face.

Rita Dove in "Canary" from Grace Notes (1989)


Not a lot of substance to report today, but some nice highlights--


  • The light in the shadows: a bunch of MIT-focused good news stories to enjoy in this tough time 
  • President Reif hosts an MIT town hall meeting today April 7, 4-5:15 p.m. 
  • Succession planning for the Libraries is ongoing


The details:


  • Minecraft version of MIT campus (amazing!)
  • 3Q: J-WEL leaders on retooling education during a global crisis (learning continues!)
  • Covid-19 Challenge: Over the weekend, MIT COVID-19 Challenge: Beat the Pandemic hosted the first in a series of virtual hackathons and events aimed at designing new tools to address the virus (get it!)
  • MIT and Harvard leading in rent forgiveness (“The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has forgiven rent to its tenants indefinitely” (impressed! grateful!)


President Reif town hall meeting today April 7, 4-5:15 p.m. 

  • I’m really just following my formatting commitments here, but there’s not much more to say. Just please attend if you’re able. For those who aren’t, we will synthesize in Thursday’s All-Lib message.


Succession planning for the Libraries 

  • Managers received an email yesterday asking them to put together a succession plan in case of illness.  We’ve had a robust response so far, and are expecting the list to be completed by tomorrow. More soon!


Enjoy your days, all. Take care of yourselves and each other.

Emilie, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team


April 6, 2020 Email from Rachael Weisz

Hello Libraries’ Colleagues, and happy Monday!

Tracy noted in the Emergency Management Team meeting this morning that we are on week 4, which was simultaneously hard for me to believe and hard to remember what life was like when we actually went to campus… I don’t know about you, but I am losing all sense of time.  Thankfully, the blooming trees remind me that spring is coming (as does my chicken soup bubbling on my stove for Passover).



  • Institute leadership is thinking about the bigger issues involved in conducting the business of MIT moving forward
  • Many folks on campus got tested over the weekend as part of the research study on Covid-19
  • We are changing the frequency of Emergency Management Team meetings and may adjust the frequency of daily messages


The details:

  • Institute leadership is shifting to thinking about how to best continue to push forward the mission of MIT while staff, faculty, and students are all remote.  This includes thinking about summer and fall terms, managing faculty promotions, etc.
  • 560 community members were tested for Covid-19 over the weekend as part of the MIT research study.  The reaction to the research study has been very positive, and testing opportunities will be extended to essential staff who must be on campus.  We should expect to see an uptick in the number of confirmed cases within the MIT community as we increase testing capacity.  
  • The Emergency Management Team is shifting to meet three times a week; this week, we’ll meet on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday.  We will try this new schedule for a couple of weeks and see how it goes and whether we feel it is working.  One issue for you to think about is how frequently you would like to continue to receive messages from this group; it will be a topic of discussion at Thursday’s Community Check-in.  We plan to continue Community Check-ins on a weekly basis for the foreseeable future.


Looking for a laugh?  A friend sent me this over the weekend and I’ve enjoyed it several times.  If you like quieter humor, my go-to pick me up is the cat fail, which I’ve kept in my back pocket for many years now.

Enjoy the sunshine, everyone!
Rachael, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team


April 3, 2020 Email from Jana Dambrogio

Happy Friday all! 

Here are today’s updates.


  • Next Friday is a mental health day for MIT Libraries staff -  April 10
  • Continuity planning for managers guidance coming from the Emergency Management Office and the ADs will be sending out Libraries-specific guidance soon
  • MIT Medical is launching a COUHES approved study of the spread of COVID-19
  • We have received approval to activate HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access
  • Guidance on systems security while WFH is coming from Mohamed and his ITS team 


More details:

April 10th - a Libraries Mental Health Day 

At yesterday’s community check in Chris announced that the Libraries will have a mental health day where staff are encouraged to spend the day in self care.  We will be providing services to the community so all staff who need to work on April 10th can discuss with their managers an alternate day to take. 


Continuity planning for managers

Suzanne Blake, Director of Emergency Management, is sending out continuity planning guidelines for managers soon. The AD team will be sending out information to managers for Libraries’ specific planning.  Part 1 will be to determine leadership continuity for every manager and work team. Part 2 will be to plan for service continuity. 


MIT Medical is launching a research study of COVID-19 spread

MIT Medical is launching a COUHES approved study of the spread of COVID-19 in residential higher education settings. Participation in the study is voluntary for students, staff, and faculty who are currently living/working on campus; and over 200 students have already volunteered for rapid COVID-19 testing and study participation. Results from this research will contribute to our understanding of the disease, how it spreads in college residential settings, and will help us flatten the curve in our community. More information is likely to be available from MIT and MIT Medical soon.


Guidance on computer security while WFH from Information Technology Service 

Mohamed and his team are preparing a comprehensive WFH documentation to help us maintain systems and technology infrastructure security. This will cover the safety and security of personal computing devices, best practices and behaviors to stay safe online, and the measures we need everyone to understand and actively follow in order to keep our critical enterprise systems and tools we all rely on to do our work, safe and secure.


Also related to this is making sure staff use the VPN when connecting to our systems, this helpful grid provides guidance for when the use of VPN is required: WFH Decision chart for Remote Desktop and VPN.


Digital Access to Collections, Expanded

MIT Libraries has received approval to turn on HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access. This program will expand well on the many and varied efforts to provide an increased number of digital resources to our community.


Through Iron Mountain, we will soon be able to provide digital scanning services to records held at that facility, offering our MIT records users access to pdfs of these materials.


As we head into the weekend, I share with you with a quote that hangs on my fridge and reminds me of one sweet approach to living life: 


“We must remember three things,” he said to them,

“I will tell them to you in the order of their importance.

“Number one and first in importance,

we must have as much fun as we can with what we have.

“Number two, we must eat as well as we can,

because if we don’t we won’t have the health and strength

to have as much fun as we might.

“And number three and third and last in importance,

we must keep the house reasonably in order, wash the dishes, and such things.

But we will not let the last interfere with the other two.”

It comes from the appendix to Steinbeck’s The Log from the Sea of Cortez, entitled “About Ed Ricketts.” 


Thank you for showing up, working, and being present. I am looking forward to the moment when we can have as much fun as we can while eating well — in person together. Until then, I wish you a peaceful and calm weekend, and we’ll see each other virtually on Monday.

Truly, Jana on behalf of all the members of the Libraries’ Emergency Management Team


April 3, 2020 Email from Tracy Gabridge

Hello everybody,

As we’ve made the shift to working from home and shifted our service portfolio to be focused on what we can do online, the AD Team has been thinking through how to express our priorities for this short term, melding both our new reality with some of our longer term projects and work.

We think this will guide some of the choices we have made as well as those that are emerging.

These are the priorities at the broadest level during our time working from home:

  • Support for the most impactful online teaching and research with an emphasis on current MIT students, and critical research.
    • This is happening in many ways, such as work to increase access to digital content via purchase or controlled digital lending initiatives, as well as putting together a fully digital thesis submission process.  Other examples include support for faculty and students in their online classrooms, expanding Ask Chat hours, focus on digital delivery of ILB materials, and more.
  • Business workflows and operations that can’t afford a break in service or progress, for the foreseeable future, without significant negative impact to users or stable operations.
    • Think of this as keeping our digital lights on and advancing key strategic projects such as the Hayden Renovation and the Alma Migration.


There will be communications over the coming days and weeks about the first broad priority and how we manage that.  For the remainder of this message we want to briefly cover how the second broad priority is being manifested, particularly for the Alma Migration and the Hayden Renovation.


In each of these cases the projects are continuing but with flexibility and resiliency based on changing circumstances.

  • For the Hayden Renovation, while construction has stopped for the moment and we don’t know when it will start up again, we are focusing on finalizing purchasing and detailed design decisions so that the project can start up as fast as possible when the time comes.  Additionally the work to develop service level definitions and business requirements for Hayden-based services is continuing, though the timelines are expected to expand and flex as needed to accommodate circumstances as they unfold.  You can find the latest updates on the project on this staff-focused web page.


  • For the Alma Migration, the project is continuing into the implementation phase, but we are aware that we’ll need to be agile and adjust timelines as needed, as the pandemic unfolds.  The AMO team will continue to send out regular updates.


For both of these projects we will continue to put staff health, safety, and bandwidth first as we map the path forward.  Please continue to look for the updates that come regularly from the project teams to get a sense of what is going on in each.


We are incredibly proud of the teamwork and camaraderie that everybody has shown as we make unprecedented shifts in our work and planning.  Thank you!

Tracy and Heather


April 2, 2020 Email from Stephanie Toews Moeling


Here we are: Thursday of week 3. I am sure we’ve all been up and down so many times now, that a dose of Dramamine might be of use. In my home, we’re trying to mitigate that with baking, cocktails, puzzles, and (this is really embarrassing) exercise videos. Honestly, the combo works to the extent that such things can suffice to make up for the lack of human contact. 



  • Zoom meetings should observe MIT time because we’re still human.
  • Campus Preview Weekend is going online; Libs will not participate.
  • Chris’ message from Community Check In was heavy.
  • Libraries Staff Mental Health Day - Friday April 10
  • Clarification on noting sick time/less productive time/etc. is below.


Zoom meetings: recently a student wrote to Ian Waitz to ask that professors still honor MIT time (starting at least five minutes after the hour and ending on time) because other classes and Zoom meetings have been running over. Similarly, it is useful for us to remember that even though we don’t have to think about moving our bodies across campus to attend meetings, we do have to breathe and get our heads ready for a new meeting, and that giving a little grace time up front is a nice gesture.


Campus Preview Weekend: CPW is a critical experience for many admitted but not confirmed students. MIT’s admissions office notes that CPW is an especially important event for women, 1st generation students, and students of color, all of whom report feeling more comfortable and excited about coming to MIT after experiencing the community in person. Therefore, admissions is planning virtual activities, gaming, etc. to recreate the “chaos and exploration” of that weekend. Because we’ve got a lot going on and the Libraries tend to participate with tours of facilities that primarily appeal to parents, we are going to keep a low profile during this year’s CPW.


Chris’ financial message: Sobering financial context has come from the Provost regarding the financial outcomes of this “three pronged” (pandemic, financial, mental health) crisis. We don’t have any numbers or expectations from the Provost yet, and Chris and the leadership team are discussing how we might respond under different scenarios. We do feel, however, that Shannon’s daily message from yesterday hit the exact right note on this: be aware, try not to worry, and we’ll let you know more when we know more.


Libraries Staff Mental Health Day - Friday April 10: Chris has declared another mental health day because we need one. Managers are working to ensure virtual services are staffed for students and faculty and to ensure that everyone gets a day, even if not on the 10th. Be in touch with your manager if you have any questions, and please note timesheet suggestions below.


How to note your time: I have four things here.

 #1) With regard to productivity:


#2) Support staff:

  1. Mental health day: mark these hours as “work” in your timesheet
  2. Less productive days*: Ideally you would:
    1. Mark hours worked in a day as “work” in your timesheet.
    2. Mark hours that you spent [fill in the blank]ing during your day as “Public Health Emergency Pay” in your timesheet
    3. Honestly, do your best here; there is no perfect reporting. :)
  3. Sick time: mark these hours/days as “sick”
  1. If you are very sick and need more time than you’ve banked, please be in touch with Rachael to discuss your options. 
  1. Hourly paid staff who wish to attend the April 7, 2020 virtual Town Hall will be paid for any hours they normally would have worked during the time of the Town Hall. Time attending the Town Hall that falls outside the normal working hours is unpaid. See example here.

#3) Administrative staff:

  1. Mental health day: as you have no timesheet, please take this time for yourself.
  2. Less productive days*: do your best. Let your manager know, no leave procedure required.
  3. Sick time: track these days as “sick”.
    1. If you are very sick and need more time than 3 business days, please be in touch with Rachael to discuss your options.


#4) Be in touch with your manager and read the actual pay policies here.


With fondest regards, Stephanie on behalf of the emgmt team

*Less productive days: Listen, we get it. This is how this crisis rolls, so do what you can. We are still hoping for ⅔ productivity!


April 1, 2020 Email from Shannon Hunt

Hi Everyone,

Working in the Libraries has really brought home how important the creation, curation, and preservation of knowledge is. Even though this situation is new and frightening in many ways, I find comfort in knowing that people have faced similar challenges before. Famous plague diarist Samuel Pepys chronicled burying his Parmesan cheese to save it from fiery destruction, and today’s diarists will have a lot to say about toilet paper hoarding (note: do not hoard TP and certainly do not bury it in a hole by the Thames). I highly recommend our own Beth Barnett’s webcomic, Social Distancing, as a way to feel connected even as we self-isolate (and it’s not just because she immortalized my story about punting a turkey that made the mistake of trying to attack me during a leisurely stroll by a cemetery).


  • The hours page on the Libraries website will be updated to reflect governmental and Institutional directives.
  • We don’t know what the economic impacts of the pandemic will be for MIT and our staff but will share out any data as soon as it’s available.
  • Discuss contingency planning with your manager should you need to be out for an extended period of time.
  • The Institute is starting to think about academia in a post-COVID world.

The less heavy stuff:

With the constant barrage of information, it’s difficult to know when the Libraries may reopen. Please keep an eye on the Libraries’ hours page. It will be updated constantly to reflect information coming from federal/state/local government agencies as well as from the Institute. The date through which we are marked “closed” will reflect these advisories. For example, yesterday Gov. Baker extended the stay-at-home advisory through May 4.

The heavy stuff:

Economic Implications of the Pandemic

Chris met with the Academic Council on Tuesday, and the meeting was focused on the long-term financial implications of the pandemic. The Institute is spending tens of millions of dollars purely on the COVID-19 response: refunding undergraduate housing and dining fees, upping IS&T budgets for licenses, continuing to pay contract labor force, even where contract labor cannot be completed, and paying hazard premiums to onsite workers. The longer we stay off campus, the more revenue we lose.

MIT’s economic experts are planning for the fallout which will come from this, and the way MIT manages its endowment and funds has ensured the availability of contingency “rainy day” funds. 

This is that rainy day. 

But we don’t know how long the pandemic will last. We don’t know the full extent of its impact on global markets, so can’t fully predict the long-term financial implications. We don’t know yet what will happen to the Institute, the Libraries, or to us individually.

It’s scary, and it sucks. And we wanted to acknowledge that.

It’s hard not to make assumptions in the face of uncertainty; as I mentioned at the beginning of this message, it’s human nature to look for patterns and use prior experiences to fill in gaps. I talked with staff who experienced the 2008 economic downturn in the Libraries as I thought about what to say in this message, and there are understandable fears that something similar will happen now with layoffs and furloughs. But we just don’t know what’s next, or if it will look anything like 2008.

Here’s what we do know:

  •  As soon as Chris and the leadership team have more specific information from the Institute about financial impacts, budgets and related future directions, it will be shared with the entire Libraries’ staff without delay.
  • You aren’t alone in this. Libraries’ leadership will work with partners across the Institute as well as with the AFSCME union to support staff as best we can through whatever comes next.

I’m not going to tell you not to worry—I’m worried! But I will suggest that intense speculation on things we can’t possibly determine yet isn’t great for anyone, and fuels more fear and anxiety. Our Libraries community has been absolutely incredible during the initial part of this crisis, and I’m personally very grateful to be able to trust that we’ll continue showing up for each other as the rest unfolds.

COVID-19 Peak in MA and Contingency Planning

MIT Medical advises us that the peak of COVID-19 has likely not yet occurred in MA, but is expected soon. Leadership is working on overarching contingency planning, but all staff members should talk with their managers to plan coverage for critical tasks should they become ill or need to support someone who is ill. We unfortunately need to work under the assumption that any one of us could be absent for as much as two weeks or more.

Future Directions for Academia

There will be an end to this. Though it is in the very early stages of development, an Institute-level Task Force is being charged to think about a post-COVID academic world. Chris will serve on this group, and more information will be shared about it as soon as it becomes available.

In the face of all this anxiety and fear, I hope you’re able to find moments of peace and joy. I’m working on teaching sean nόs, or old-style Irish singing to my cat, and based on the excited pounding on the floor by my upstairs neighbors, we’ve really nailed the yodeling and nasalisation parts. Another of my favorite things are Dad jokes, so please slack me your favorites and in true Dad form, I will steal them and pretend I came up with them myself. Here is one to get us started:

Q. How did the diamond find a girlfriend?

A. Carbon dating.

Be well, or at the very least don’t stick magnets up your nose like this Astrophysicist did.

--Shannon on behalf of the Emergency Management Team

Full text of emails from the Emergency Management Team

March 31, 2020 Email from Heather Yager

Greetings, Libraries!

Today is the last day of March, and what a March it’s been.  While it’s said that March comes in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb, in our case, March 2020 has shown the resilience, creativity, spirit, and strength of the MIT Libraries community.  

In that same spirit, the Libraries got a great shoutout on Twitter today from Prof. Markus Buehler, Department Head and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, who said “Thank you @MITLibraries for keeping us going!  You are an integral part of our continued progress in teaching and research.”  


News of the day:

  • We’re in the process of requesting access to HathiTrust’s Emergency Temporary Access Service!
  • Collections teams are monitoring collections spaces remotely using WaterBugs!
  • We’re finalizing a group decision-making structure so that staff who interact directly with our communities can work quickly with Libraries leadership to make service decisions!


And, MyLife Services (our Employee Assistance Program) has put together a great COVID-19 resource page, focused on self-care, care for our children and elders, remote working and more.  It’s worth a scan - plenty of useful, supportive, and community-oriented info there.  MyLife also offers direct counseling services - if you find yourself hitting the wall, in need of support, or just want to talk to someone outside of your daily life, you can contact a MyLife counselor at 800-648-9557, or by email at  


Wishing everyone safety, peace, and community (and the hope that April showers will bring the hoped-for May flowers),

Heather, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team


March 30, 2020 Email from Brigham Fay

Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to Week 3, which I have (unofficially) designated “Whatever Helps You Cope” Week. WHYCW is brought to you by cookies, needlepoint projects, dog walks, and soothing British series on Netflix.*


  • Courses resume today, and we’ve highlighted ways we can help on the website.
  • We recommend following IS&T’s best practices for securing Zoom meetings.
  • All MIT undergraduates will be assigned a student success coach, and the Libraries are volunteer superstars!
  • The use of some campus buildings is shifting under the limited access plan to support students still on campus and help the city of Cambridge.


More details:

  • Courses resume remotely today, and we may see more requests for support from the community. As Darcy shared last week, the Libraries’ COVID-19 page and the homepage were updated to highlight several of the ways staff continue to support teaching, learning, and research online.
  • MIT sent an email over the weekend about Zoom meeting security and preventing “Zoom bombing.” We encourage you to follow IS&T’s recommendation to use a password or Touchstone authentication, especially for large meetings or meetings where the link may be publicized. Be sure to alert any non-MIT attendees if a password is required. 
  • There were enough volunteers to ensure that all MIT undergrads will be assigned a virtual student success coach. Chris reports that the Libraries were called out as superstars in this volunteer effort. Chris is also serving on the Student Success Team, which will soon be alerting students to this new resource and exploring how to expand it to include coaches for graduate students.
  • Access to campus continues to be restricted; MIT police are doing foot patrols and checking IDs at various points around campus. The Institute is considering how its facilities can be used to support the students remaining on campus, frontline healthcare workers, and the city of Cambridge. Plans under discussion include using East Campus to house healthcare workers and using Burton Connor for students who may experience COVID-19 symptoms.


I leave you this Monday afternoon with a moment of zen.

Hang in there, Brigham on behalf of the Emergency Management Team

*Your coping strategies may vary.


March 27, 2020 Email from Emilie Hardman

Happy Friday all!

In a previous position I worked with a lot of ships’ logs and something about this time brings those to mind. End of week 2. Seas choppy, but spirits high. Lentil stores robust. Ice cream running low. 


Speaking of ice cream, allow me to give you a bonus recommendation of Salted Caramel Cluster cashew ice cream--my uncontested favorite of the moment--it has made appearances in more than one Zoom call this week…mmmm. Anyway, hoping this finds you all well, enjoying a bit of this sun and looking forward to a peaceful and restorative weekend ahead.


And now, allow me to change into my cardigan and present you with updates:


  • Thanks to the COVID Collections Team and UX/WS, a LibGuide chock full of resources available to the community is now online.
  • MIT communications is engaging thoughtfully and considering the pace and timing of MIT Advisory texts/emails. 
  • Work continues in all of the departments to connect with and support the MIT community in this time.
  • Access to campus: there is no access to campus!
  • Classes begin again on Monday in a totally remote environment.


More details:

COVID Collections: The stellar Covid Collections group, with help from User Experience and Web Services, has put together a LibGuide with expanded and free resources available from publishers during the COVID-19 closure. New resources will be added as they become available. The page is linked from the COVID-19 updates page.

 And here’s a direct link:


MIT communications: Chris passed on feedback from our community check in that the timing of MIT alerts regarding COVID-19 were sometimes jarring. They appreciate the Libraries’ feedback about this timing and are making efforts to adjust. 


Departmental Updates: A special edition of departmental updates focusing in on what we are working through in these extraordinary times. So much work on so many fronts continues and is evolving to meet new needs and challenges. Thanks all for your great efforts! You can view them all here:


Access to campus: Again, MIT is making every effort to truly limit the number of people on campus to those who are considered essential. It’s very sad for your plants; it’s very sad for your (my) Salted Caramel Cluster cashew ice cream that you (I) left in the freezer; it’s truly tough to not have resources that you may need to be responding to faculty or students, we know. Unfortunately, any access to campus must be definitionally critical. We ask that if you believe you have a critical need, please contact the Emergency Management Team:

Classes start Monday: This will be a huge change for faculty and students and all of the other people who help support classes at MIT. Libraries staff will be there to help in whatever ways we can--let’s get ready to welcome everyone “back” Zoom.

Emilie Hardman


March 26, 2020 Email from Rachael Weisz

Hello Libraries’ Friends-

We’re closing in on the end of week 2!  I don’t know about you, but I am ready for the weekend.  Stephanie turned me on to the “The Durrells in Corfu,” which is a lovely PBS drama where nothing truly bad ever happens, and I plan to escape into it for a few hours.

On to the update for today!

  • We’re seeing the shift from emergency management into maintenance mode for the long haul of this remote work period.
  • MIT continues to work out the kinks in closing down campus.
  • Conversations are happening across institutions about student concerns about the impact of MIT’s mandatory “Alternate Grades” (basically, MIT’s version of Pass/Fail) policy for this semester will impact grad school admissions, etc. 
  • A new group will be working on how to help staff and faculty continue to feel connected to MIT.


More details:

Emergency Management Mode: Chris noted that the MIT-wide Department Heads’ meeting she’s been attending daily has started ending earlier, and we’ve seen the same thing in our Libraries’ Emergency Management Team Meeting.  As folks continue to settle in for the long haul and adapt to the “new normal,”  we will keep evaluating the role these daily meetings will play.


Campus Closure: Yesterday was the first day of restricted access to campus.  There were over 100 one-time requests from community members to be allowed to return to campus for various reasons; most were deemed not critical and were therefore denied.  If we had a longer lead time to the shutdown, we certainly could have prepared better by bringing home hardware, books, plants, etc.  However, campus access is limited to ensure the security of campus buildings and to safeguard the health of remaining students and essential personnel.  As Dr. Sanjay Gupta says, everyone needs to “Act is if you are carrying the virus.”


Grading: Chris reports that the Chancellors from the Ivy+ schools have come together and are working on putting out a public statement about how Pass/Fail grading during the pandemic will be considered for graduate school applications.  MIT Admissions has content on their website about how they take catastrophic events into consideration.


Helping our non-student community stay connected: There is a new working group being formed under the auspices of the ICEO office and MindHandHeart with a focus on how to best help staff, faculty, researchers, and postdocs feel connected during this time of social distancing.  Stay tuned for more details.


Stay safe, all of you!

Rachael on behalf of the Emergency Management Team


March 25, 2020 Email from Chris Bourg

With thanks to everyone who has already taken their turn at sending these daily updates, today is my turn.

Dear Colleagues,

We are at Day 12 since we suspended all in-person library services and closed our physical locations. To commemorate that milestone, here are a dozen awesome highlights of things y’all have done since then (in no particular order):

  1. Donated PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) from the Wunsch Lab and from ID&LA supplies in support of the overall MIT effort to support health care workers in local hospitals and medical centers.
  2. Fielded and filled resource sharing requests at about twice the normal load, including locating articles to help with ventilator development.
  3. Volunteered to serve as Student Success Coaches - we had 17 early volunteers, but/and new volunteers are welcome - just fill out this super short form, and let your supervisor know.
  4. Adjusted to working from home while also taking care of self and loved ones, and displayed patience and generosity with colleagues doing the same.
  5. Conducted virtual reference interviews and training with students, faculty, and staff across the Institute.
  6. Shared work-from-home strategies, playlists, recipes, and self-care tips with each other.
  7. Outfitted colleagues with equipment needed to work remotely -- in addition to laptops, an additional 24 headphone sets were provided by DLS in March to staff who needed them.
  8. Learned how to use Zoom, including some truly awesome virtual backgrounds.
  9. Exercised ‘creative compassion’ in developing plans for student workers to stay connected and continue to get paid. 
  10. Made innumerable, time-sensitive updates to the Libraries COVID-19 page and elsewhere on the website to keep the community informed
  11. Processed rapid purchases of new e-book packages and other digital content to support online teaching.
  12. Worked with colleagues across the country to develop a Public Statement on Fair Use and Emergency Remote Teaching and Research

It was nearly impossible to name only 12 highlights, so feel free to share additional highlights via email or slack. 

I am full of gratitude for all of you, and hope everyone remains healthy and safe. I look forward to ‘seeing’ folks at tomorrow’s Community Check-In -- join us if you can!

My usual sign-off of “Cheers” seems not quite right, so …

Peace, Chris


March 24, 2020 Email from Tracy Gabridge

Good afternoon everyone,

I hope you are all settling into our second week of working from home. 

Todays’ topics, TLDR;

  • Governor Charlie Baker’s “Stay at Home” Advisory puts our return date to the campus on or after April 8th.
  • We will not be reopening the 24 hour spaces due to the Advisory
  • Sixteen staff members volunteered to be coaches to students.  Thank you!
  • The Libraries donated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the cause
  • Say hello at this Thursday’s Community Check In
  • Thanks from faculty


More details:

Return date to campus

Governor Charlie Baker’s Stay at Home Advisory from yesterday applies until April 8th, which is the first official guidance we’ve gotten about how long we may be working from home.  While the Advisory gives us guidance for now, we also note that it is possible that our work-from-home time will extend beyond that.  


Update on the 24-hour spaces

While the campus emergency planning groups were originally eager for us to reopen the 24-hour spaces in Barker and Dewey for the use of grad students, the new Advisory gives guidelines that make the plan unworkable because of not allowing groups of greater than 10 people in a space.  Instead the campus is identifying empty individual offices for faculty to reserve for online teaching needs.


Volunteer staff coaches

We are so grateful for the 16 folks who volunteered to be a virtual coach to students!  Their time, empathy, and support are going to be so helpful to students during this uncertain time.  Thanks again to all of the volunteers! There will likely be an all-MIT call for additional volunteers coming later, so if you are interested but didn’t sign up this time, there may still be an opportunity to participate.


PPE Donation from the Libraries

The Institute put out a call for Labs and other units to donate any personal protective equipment they might have on hand for sending to local hospitals.  We proudly have made supplies available from the Wunsch Lab as well as boxes of gloves that we had ordered before we left the office. We informed the appropriate folks where they could find the materials, thus not even requiring us to go on campus to make them available.


Next Community Check in

Many folks have found the Libraries Community Check Ins a good opportunity to experience community while we are all dispersed in our remote work environments.  The next one is scheduled for Thursday, March 26th, at 1pm.  We hope to see your bright faces there!


Thanks from faculty

To round out this edition of the daily email we’d like to share a quote via email from an MIT faculty member:

“We all hugely appreciate the creative, time-sensitive work our colleagues in the Libraries system are doing to help keep our teaching and research lives as productive and seamless as possible in these challenging times.”


All that you do makes a positive impact for MIT.  Thank you for keeping the Libraries running  and impactful as we adjust to changing times.

Tracy on behalf of the Emergency Management Team


March 23, 2020 Email from Felicity Walsh

Hello Colleagues,

Is everyone ready for week two??  We can do this!  Here is today’s daily digest.   

TL-DR version:

  • Evolving limits on access to campus
  • Call for volunteers to support student life: please see email from CB at 11am today
  • Libraries will be supporting students on campus with Barker and Dewey 24/7 spaces
  • Developing guidance on searches and hiring


More details:

Access to campus: As you’ll see from MIT’s updates, access to campus has been dramatically reduced. There are still some instances where key groups may need ongoing access to buildings, so there is a list for approved personnel being created.  For one-time needs, there is a form being created to handle these requests.  This form is expected to enable 24-hour turnaround of requests, and anyone who does go on campus will need to bring their ID as MIT Police are checking IDs for anyone on campus (both inside and outdoors).  As noted in the 3/18/2020 digest, Libraries staff who have a significant need to go to campus must get approval from your manager and the emgmt-lib team before submitting your request via the MIT form.


Volunteers for supporting students: DSL, ODL,  and other offices are working to recreate a support system of spontaneous adult interactions for our students in this unprecedented time.  This is not academic support, but rather trying to create a fabric of a “virtual community” to support student wellbeing and success the way we all have always done in real time in our physical spaces. You have already seen the call from Chris for volunteers to provide coaches for our students. In this coaching role, volunteers would be assigned a limited group of students and be asked to check in with each of them once a week.  In these check ins, coaches would provide an empathetic ear (not seeking to solve problems, though), and provide encouragement for students to take advantage of office hours, peer study groups, all other services in place for support, and provide connection to MIT.  Volunteers would be provided with training for how to support students; more details will be forthcoming as they are worked out.  Anyone who is interested should fill out the Google Form by 5pm today (3/23/20).


Providing Libraries’ 24/7 spaces for remaining students: In support of providing our remaining students places to study and work where they can also practice appropriate social distancing, the Libraries are working with MIT Facilities to reopen Barker and Dewey 24/7 spaces.  All the work to make this happen will be done by Facilities, not Libraries staff, and will include requests for enhanced cleaning of surfaces.

Guidance on searches and hiring:  MIT will be offering significant guidance to DLCs regarding hiring in the context of the pandemic. To that end, Libraries’ HR will be implementing new processes to comply with this guidance.  All current offers are in force, but any further hiring will require approval from the Provost.  We will be developing our practices in response to Institute guidance.  For the moment, please hold your questions until we have a chance to put our own procedures in place. 


Hope everyone is having a great start to the week –

Felicity, on behalf of EMGMT


March 23, 2020 Email from Chris Bourg


This is a purely voluntary opportunity (No pressure, I promise!) for interested staff who feel they have the capacity and the interest in serving as virtual coaches to MIT undergraduate students. This MIT-wide effort to engage staff volunteers to serve as coaches for students is being coordinated by colleagues in the Division of Student Life and Open Learning, and expert staff in those units will provide training for any volunteers who get matched with students.


The role of the volunteer virtual coach is simply to provide students with an additional point of contact with MIT  -- someone who will check in with students regularly (once a week), who can nudge students to take advantage of the resources available to them, who can suggest study and learning tips, and who can simply ask students how they are doing and listen with empathy. Coaches are not expected to be subject matter experts in the courses students are taking, but a general sense of the MIT undergraduate experience and of how MIT students learn will be helpful – so former MIT students might be especially well-suited to this opportunity.


The goal is to match every undergraduate student with a coach – how many students get assigned to each coach will depend on the number of volunteers; but volunteers will be consulted before matches with students are finalized. I expect/hope that the student-to-coach ratio will be in the single digits.


If you would like to volunteer to be a virtual coach to MIT undergraduates at this time, please sign up here.

There is a sense of urgency to this, as MIT would like to have coaches in place before classes resume next week; so please sign up by 5pm today. I will send the list of volunteers to the coordinators tonight.  If there is a subsequent call for additional volunteers, and/or as additional details about how this will work become available, I will pass that along.


Let me repeat what I said at the start of this email  – This is purely voluntary and I suggest folks only volunteer if they feel confident they can commit the time and energy to checking in with students on a weekly basis for the rest of the semester.

Many thanks, Chris


March 20, 2020 Email from Rachael Weisz


Hello Colleagues,

Here is today’s daily digest.  Give yourself a big pat on the back for making it through the first week!  (What??!?! It’s only been a week?!?!)

 TL-DR version:

  • General Institute-wide updates
  • Slack update
  • Tech teams working on electronic theses submissions
  • All staff are being paid for the regular hours, regardless of their ability to work from home


More details:

Changes on campus: Look for an email update from the Institute soon with additional information about what’s happening on campus, guidelines for travel, grading policies, etc.  MIT HR will be sending out information about recruiting, hiring, and onboarding during this unprecedented time.  

Slack Update: The migration to the Enterprise instance of Slack will happen over the next couple of weeks. ITS will update all staff when the move has taken place for the Libraries’ workspace.

Tech teams working on electronic theses submissions: DDC and DLS teams are currently load-testing our process and tooling to accommodate campus-wide digital submissions; Chris is coordinating with the Committee on Graduate Programs, the Registrar’s Office, and the Office of the Vice Chancellor to make necessary policy amendments enabling digital deposit.  As details are firmed up we’ll share more information with everybody about how it works.

Recording your time: Expectation from Central HR is that staff be as productive as they can be, acknowledging that we all have many demands on us beyond work.  Effective March 13, all staff will be paid for their regular hours regardless of their ability to work from home.  Central HR is asking hourly paid staff to differentiate their hours worked versus hours they are unable to work and mark those hours as “Public Health Emergency Pay/Other Leave.”  Don’t stress over  trying to break down each hour of the day; if you think you were able to work about 50% of your regular hours this week, mark half your time as “work” and half your time as “public health emergency pay/other leave.”  See this page for details.  

Have a good weekend, friends!

Rachael, on behalf of EMGMT


March 20, 2020 Email from Nicole Hanafin

Facilities services remain available during COVID-19

Following is a round-up of information related to Facilities services during COVID-19. Please do not hesitate to contact our Customer Service Center if you have any questions or need assistance with our services.

Please note that Facilities staff remain on campus and will continue to provide services to maintain operations. To support our students, faculty, researchers, and staff who continue to work, study, and live on campus – crucial services will remain operational, including custodial, repair and maintenance, mail services, and utilities. All other staff are actively working remotely, using online meeting tools and engaging via phone, email, and text.

Updated 3/19/2020

Request services or assistance

  • Continue to place Service Requests in Atlas to order most services from Facilities, or view ways to request all service types.
  • Questions? Contact the Customer Service Center team at 617-253-4948 or by email Monday through Friday 7AM to 3PM.
  • Outside of those hours, calls and emails will be handled by the Operations Center. Managed by the Repair & Maintenance Operations group, the Operations Center continuously monitors all life safety and mechanical systems on campus, including fire alarms and heating and cooling systems. Team members work 24/7 to ensure quick response to emergencies and to make sure that all critical systems are functioning.

Cleaning requests

In preparation for COVID-19, our custodial staff have received enhanced training in cleaning and disinfecting touch points and have switched to a disinfecting cleaning solution, Morning Mist. This disinfectant meets the EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2.

  • If desired, additional cleaning services can be requested via Atlas Service Request (see instructions).
  • Please note that special decontamination procedures are only required for spaces occupied by individuals who are suspected of having COVID-19 (i.e., are being tested and/or awaiting results) or have been confirmed as positive. In the absence of a suspected/confirmed COVID-19 case, routine disinfection procedures are sufficient. If your office has a possible exposure related to COVID-19, please first contact MIT Medical, and then call Marty O’Brien, senior manager of Campus Services. Marty can arrange for the services you need and can be reached 617-253-6728 or, or on his cell at 617-593-8997.

Mail Services

  • Mail Services plans to continue to provide the Institute with all services, assessing needs daily and adapting as Institute recommendations require.
  • Outgoing mail will continue to be collected and processed Monday-Friday; please note that collection times for campus boxes have changed from 5PM to noon.
  • We will hold packages and materials for any areas that are closed and not available for deliveries. If space becomes an issue within Mail Services, we may attempt package deliveries to secure locations within a DLC’s space.
  • Questions may be directed to Marty O'Brien, senior manager of Campus Services, or Mike Fahie, manager of Mail Services.

Transportation programs

  • Please note that the Atlas Service Center location in E17 closed in-person operations on March 17 until further notice. Parking & Transportation staff continue to remain available via the online, email, and phone contacts provided on the Commuter Connections pages and via the Atlas website.
  • Parking: To assist those who will continue commuting to the Cambridge campus, most MIT parking facilities on the Cambridge campus are free of charge and available to all MIT ID cardholders. View location maps and learn more on the parking site. Note: The Medical and Ford (E19) lots are not included in this expanded program.
  • MBTA Commuter Rail and LinkPass distribution: With the temporary closure of the Atlas Service Center location in E17, student and employee commuter rail and LinkPasses that are usually picked up at the Center or distributed via interoffice mail will be mailed to home addresses or distributed via House Managers. View details including actions to take if your home address has recently changed.
  • Deadline to cancel/suspend MBTA LinkPasses has been extended to Friday, March 20 at noon; learn how to cancel/suspend here.
  • Shuttle service changes: On Saturday, March 21, several of the campus shuttle services will transition to reduced schedules. View the updated schedule for each shuttle. At this time, Charles River TMA has not announced any changes to the EZ-Ride shuttle; we will post an update as information becomes available. Questions regarding shuttle services may be directed to or 617-253-1440.

Construction activities

In accordance with a temporary emergency construction moratorium instituted by the City of Cambridge, MIT will suspend construction activities effective Saturday, March 21, with the exception of emergency activities that have been approved by the City. Teams will complete the safe and secure shutdown of our construction sites by Thursday, March 26. Permitting and inspection activities will be suspended as of Thursday, March 19. As noted previously, staff who provide repair and maintenance services will continue to be available on campus and will work within the City guidelines to provide approved emergency repairs as needed.

Note that this moratorium only affects the construction phase of these projects and that planning and design activities will continue.

MIT news and resources

News from our partner offices

Office of Campus Planning

OCP staff continue to work remotely.

Environment, Health & Safety

EHS staff continue to provide support services on campus. Visit the team directory to access staff contact information and to view the list of EHS Coordinators in the Departments, Labs and Centers. You may search by topic area, department support team, or role. If you have any questions or concerns, please email the EHS team or call 617-452-3477 Monday through Friday, 8AM to 5PM. Outside of those hours, please call the Operations Center at 617-253-4948.

Office of Sustainability

MITOS staff continue to work remotely.

Nicole Hanafin


March 19, 2020 Email from Stephanie Toews Moeling 

Hello friends,

Here is today’s daily digest.

 TL-DR version:

  • Review the remote teaching web site (site link below).
  • Video meeting fatigue - got it; let’s slow it down.
  • Hayden Reno - Site to be shut down by 03/26.


More details:

Remote teaching: Faculty are getting ready to begin remote teaching on March 30th, and the Institute has an excellent resource to support them: The Best Practices page includes a section on Digitizing Your Course Content, and the first bullet links to our subject experts list. It would be worthwhile for our liaisons and other user-facing Libraries staff to review this site in order to anticipate the questions that folks will have. 

Hearing from staff about video meeting fatigue: Are we having fun yet? Dumb jokes aside, we are all trying to find a new healthy, sustainable pace right now; and we think that probably means cutting back on the number of online meetings -- even the ones intended as optional community check-ins. What might have begun as a thoughtful idea on how to cope with remote work expectations is starting to feel like a 26.2 mile sprint with baton hand-offs and children (two- and four-legged) dragging from our shoelaces. So here’s what emgmt-lib is thinking, and we are open to your feedback:

  • Where e-check ins are necessary, consider switching to Zoom; we heard quite clearly that this platform is broadly preferred over Webex.
  • We are considering going down to a once-per-week community check-in with a Friday optional chat. If you haven’t gotten enough through the week, this could top you off! And for those of you who are sufficiently socially sated, you can opt not to log in without any worries.
  • Remember to practice good WFH hygiene. (Don’t glaze over, this is not about hand-washing.) Map out your day, block in ‘off-line’ time for focused activity without interruption, and build in some physical activity to keep the juices flowing. 
  • If you haven’t already, perhaps work with your manager to create departmental WFH norms and expectations such as this example from DDC.

Construction moratorium: As per the City of Cambridge, March 21st is the last day for all construction activity except efforts to secure job sites. Making job sites safe and secure for closure must be completed by March 26th. And while the overall scheduling impacts are unknown at the moment, there is still a great deal of planning that we can do in anticipation of the eventual construction completion. The teams that we have already established will continue to work to consider these plans and implications, as well as how to prioritize this work while we handle the additional workload created by the pandemic. We will update you as we learn more.

Hang in there, everyone!

STM on behalf of EMGMT


March 18, 2020 Email - Stephanie Toews Moeling 

Hello friends,

Here are some important messages as well as further details from the Community Check In.

 TL-DR version:

  • Temp pay reminder: temps will be paid.
  • Home access to supplies and services will not be reimbursed.
  • The Hayden renovation project may be on hold.
  • Access to campus will be severely restricted; please see below.
  • Resources for students available through ARM Coalition.
  • Mantra: Compassion and Flexibility


More details:

  • Temp pay reminder: We received word from the Institute yesterday on employee pandemic payment processes. This message explicitly excluded temps as they are not employees of MIT, but are employees of temp firms. We would like to reiterate to both temp staff and their managers that the Libraries are committed to supporting you through this period. Please continue to enter your time sheets as if you had been on site working, and managers, please approve these time sheets. Further information about recording hours can be found on the MIT HR site, and you should feel free to reach out to should you have questions.
  • Home access to supplies and services: We are unable to reimburse staff for telephone and internet charges.  We are similarly unable to order office supplies, including furniture, for staff working at home.  We know you may not have what you normally have in the office, but we hope you will use your imagination and creativity to ‘MacGyver’ a solution that will work for you.
  • The Hayden renovation project may be on hold: You may remember from our update yesterday that Boston Mayor Marty Walsh put construction on hold, and it seems as though Cambridge is doing the same. This of course potentially impacts campus renovation projects, including Hayden, and we don’t know yet what the implications of this will be. We have asked the members of the OT team to keep us in the loop, and we will keep you informed as best we can from there.
  • Access to campus will be severely restricted: Effective 5pm today, staff should not go to campus or NE-36. If you have a significant need to go to campus, you  must get approval from your manager and the emgmt-lib team. This is an effort to support Campus Police guidelines and maintain the safety and security of campus while the majority of faculty, staff, and students are off site.
  • Resources for students: Many of you have expressed concern about our student workers, and at this time, we want to be sure to connect them with Institute resources. If you are in touch with them, please refer them to the ARM Coalition. Also see:
  • Mantra: Compassion and Flexibility: Breathe with me. [Breathe in compassion]; [breathe out flexibility]. Also, take in the good ideas from the #working_from_home slack channel, and remember to stop and stretch, take breaks, be sure to eat, and enjoy the sunshine.


Thanks all.

We see you doing your best. We appreciate it.

Stephanie on behalf of the emgmt-lib team.

March 17, 2020 Email - Tracy Gabridge

Hello everybody,

Just a few quick updates for today.

TLDR version:

  • We will be holding the first Community Check in tomorrow at 1pm using MIT’s new Zoom license.  Details are in the calendar invitation.  We’d like to get to “see” everyone, but attendance is not mandatory. 
  • The Hayden renovation project is still underway and on schedule.
  • ITS (Mohamed’s team) is setting priorities for equipping staff who need more complete work-from-home set ups to reduce our dependency on desktops that remain on campus.

More details:

Hayden renovation:

You may have heard that Marty Walsh is suspending construction projects in Boston.  Thus far his decision for Boston is not affecting the construction on campus.  The Hayden renovation is still on target for the time being.  As we all know, the situation is fluid, so we’ll keep you all up to date as we move forward.

Equipment for work from home:

Staff should NOT go to campus during this work-from-home time.  We need to stay away from campus for our own health, the health of the students who are remaining on campus, and the staff who must support them. Because there are staff who depend on desktop computers to be powered on for remote desktop to work, the ITS team is developing a priority list of staff who need a new set up to reduce that dependency as well as methods to get that equipment direct to folk’s homes. Please let ITS know of any new requests as a result of this (, and in case of an urgent need, please copy Ola Mustapha on the fix-lib request: .

Best,  Tracy, on behalf of the Libraries Emergency Management Team


March 17, 2020 Email - Shannon Hunt

Hi Everyone,

Per Tracy’s email yesterday, we will be hosting two community check-ins weekly. The first meeting will be Wednesday, 3/18 at 1pm, and the second will be Friday, 3/20 at 11:30am. (Calendar invitations to follow) Wednesday’s meeting will be recorded, and will be a more “official” space to ask questions or share concerns. Friday’s meeting will be a half hour, will not be recorded, and will function as a casual community space to check in as we adjust to remote work life. If this is your first time using zoom, you may want to log in a few minutes ahead of time to test your set up and download the web application if needed. If you can’t attend the Wednesday meeting and have a question you’d like shared, please send it to me via email. Looking forward to seeing and hearing you all (virtually) soon! The details for the Wednesday meeting are below.



March 16, 2020 Email - Tracy Gabridge

Hello everybody,

Welcome to the new week as we do our transition to working from home.  Last week Chris advised us to take today for self care, setting up our work-from-home environments, and regrouping.  We hope that is going well, but have some points of support, below, should you need it.

Today’s message covers a few points.  Here’s the quick TLDR;

  • Service update:  We will be closing our two 24-hour spaces (Barker, Dewey) as of 3pm today, keeping in line with other campus gathering spaces.  
  • Updates on communication practices from the Libraries Emergency Management Team
  • Advice from MIT about what to do if you are exposed to the virus or may have been indirectly exposed
  • Where to get support as you set up your home working environment - Fix-lib for individual technical support,  managers for operational support, new slack channel for general questions and tips for working from home.
  • Messages from the MIT community about the Libraries.  We’ve been getting so much love from the MIT community despite the stressors.  We want to share some of what we’ve been hearing.

More detail:

Closing 24-hour spaces

You all have heard that MIT is closing down a variety of gathering spaces on campus including the fitness centers and the Student Center. We are going to follow suit and do the same with the Libraries 24 hour spaces at Barker and Dewey as of 3pm today.  The Libraries web site has already been updated. While we're not sending anyone in to update our signs, the ones Brigham made are written to cover this situation

Updates on communications from the Libraries Emergency Management Team

While last week we needed to get a lot of information out quickly, as we begin to adjust to this new normal, we can be more thoughtful about how to manage information overload.

  • We are going to continue providing updates on a daily basis to all-staff with the latest information, with TLDR; options.  We are, to balance urgency with overload from long emails, going to break out HR updates of a more urgent nature and send them on their own, as soon as they are prepared.  
  • We are also going to set up bi-weekly all-staff meetings where Chris will provide up-to-the-minute updates and we can do a community-wide check in.
  • To equip managers for this time we will do two things:
    • Have some manager-specific emails designed to support their specific role in managing in this new environment
    • We will also set up weekly check-ins for department heads and the Director’s Group to discuss operational topics.  More to come as these get set up.

What to do if you’ve been exposed or may have been exposed to COVID-19

MIT sent a message last night with updated guidance for managers for what to do in the case of exposure or possible exposure to an individual with confirmed COVID-19.  Rachael sent out an update today to all-staff with the process boiled down for Libraries’ staff.  

  • If we hear about exposure related to our workplace and working together, the Libraries HR team is committed to communicating with those affected and with updating all-staff about that possibility, as you saw this past weekend.
  • So many of us are experiencing heightened anxiety at this unprecedented time - we are impacted in many ways both large and small.  The Libraries Emergency Management Team will do all we can to communicate factually and with speed about things that are relevant to us.  We ask that everybody be mindful of how we communicate through our community-wideml,, channels and seek to support each other as much as possible to keep unnecessary anxiety at bay.

Where to get support for setting up your home working environment:

  • Individual technical help - email
  • For help related to your functional/operational work, be in contact with your manager
  • For ideas and support related to ways to productively work from home, sign up for the #working_from_home Slack channel
  • For new technology purchases, continue to use the list. ITS is updating the ordering/delivery process and will share with all staff when it’s ready.

Messages from the MIT Community about the Libraries

We’ve gotten some great, supportive messages from the community.  Here’s a small sampling:

Chris received a note on Friday from a faculty member who stopped by one of our locations to pick up a much needed item – “please thank the whole library staff profusely for still being there for me on Friday.”

Chris received a note in response to her message to faculty that we were suspending in-person services:  “Good call. In case anyone hasn't said it recently - you guys are rock stars and your efforts are appreciated.”

Tracy, on behalf of the Libraries Emergency Management Team


March 16, 2020 Email - Rachael Weisz

Dear Libraries’ Staff-

I wanted to share some information that we all received from MIT Central Leadership about steps you should take if you believe you have been exposed to an individual with a confirmed case of COVID-19.  In order to ensure that we all have the best and most recent information to help us take care of ourselves and mitigate risk to ourselves, our families, and those around us, MIT is asking the Libraries to report any possible exposure; you can do so by emailing

What to do if you have had an exposure:

Please email and provide a number where we can reach you.  A member of the HR Team will contact you to get a description of the situation, including the date and location of the contact.   You should then contact your primary care provider to obtain medical advice specific to your situation.

What will we do with the information you share?

We will contact the MIT Medical COVID-19 resource line to request a Public Health Consultation.  A member of the MIT Medical COVID-19 team will likely reach out to you to obtain additional information.  Depending on the details, MIT Medical my contact your local Department of Public Health.  Any advice received from the Department of Public Health will be provided to you.  If necessary, your information will be anonymized and shared with others with whom you may have interacted in the workplace.

What you can do:

Because we want to balance the care and concern we have for each of you with minimizing anxiety in our community, please do not disclose your potential exposure to others in your work area until you have received advice regarding the public health risks of the situation. 

Stay safe and be well, everyone.




Full text of emails from the Emergency Management Team


March 14, 2020 Email - Rachael Weisz

Dear Colleagues-

I am reaching out today because, as you may have heard, a staff member from another MIT unit who has been in Libraries’ space the past week has had secondary exposure to Covid-19 (his partner was in proximity with an individual who we now know has tested positive). We have asked for advice from MIT Medical and have been reassured that in this situation, “with several degrees of separation from a direct contact — the risk is so small as to be close to zero.”

That said, please continue to follow this advice, found on the MIT Medical site: “Please continue to take personal preventive steps to stay healthy. Stay home if you feel sick, wash your hands frequently, and avoid touching your face whenever possible.”

We are of course, concerned for the MIT staff member and his partner, and hope that they remain healthy.

Best, Rachael


March 13, 2020 Email - Mohamed El Ouirdi

Good afternoon,

As the whole library transitions to remote work, I want to assure everyone that our technology support functions will continue as usual.

And even though we are not changing our normal support model, we are doing a few things in order to adapt to the new reality:

  • We will monitor the ServiceNow queue for incoming tickets, so we can route tickets more quickly to our library team when needed.
  • We have the capability to remotely troubleshoot most computer problems, aside from hardware issues.
  • We are working on delivery processes to get equipment to staff during the WFH period, and to retrieve equipment that requires service.
  • ITS staff will have extremely limited access to staff spaces, in order to perform critically needed tasks.
  • A member of ITS will come to NE36 tomorrow to turn staff computers back on after the power shutdown.

As always, please use to report problems or seek assistance.

Very best,



March 13, 2020 Email - Tracy Gabridge (2)

Hello everybody,

We’ve been sharing as much urgent information as it comes in today rather than waiting to gather it all together, but this message is a little different and less urgent.

This message is the long one for the day, with details about how different departments are preparing for remote work and service implications.  Please don’t worry if your department is not listed this time around – information will be shared as it become available/relevant.

We’ll keep sharing urgent information as it comes, but feel free to browse this email at your leisure to catch up on the work that various departments are doing to prepare today (it’s awe inspiring to behold).  We are considering how best to share this sort of information going forward, so please consider this a first iteration (and I welcome your feedback on it!).

Thanks everybody!

Tracy, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team


March 13, 2020 Email - Rachael Weisz (2)

Are you sick of me yet? J  This is an important enough message that we want it to stand alone in its own email.

All staff will continue to be paid for their regular hours, whether they are able to work from home or not.  Temps will continue to be paid.  We know that all staff may need to take time away to care for themselves, family members, or community members, so we encourage folks to work as they can and stay in touch with their managers. 

When we find out any specifics about how to report time during this period, we will share it.



March 13, 2020 Email - Rachael Weisz (1)

Hello Staff-

Because we are asking all staff to work remotely and not come in to any campus locations, we encourage you to do what you need to do today to be prepared to work from home for at least two weeks, and possibly longer.   If you have been away and need to come to the office today or are already here and need to get hardware (monitors, etc.) home, and need help with transport, please take an Uber/Lyft/taxi and save the receipt for reimbursement.

We are asking all staff to work remotely for at least the next two weeks, and we will not be approving any requests from individuals who may prefer to work from campus.  We do this for a number of reasons:

  • We need to walk the talk – we are saying the safest thing for all staff to do is to WFH and not have contact with other folks on campus, and having any staff on campus is in direct opposition to that message.
  • Having any staff on campus puts a strain on systems that need to be in place to support the people who HAVE to be on campus, including essential personnel and the staff who need to come in to support the students who will remain on campus.
  • The goal is mitigation; shutting down workspaces, schools, classes, etc. is proven to slow transmission (see chart below from the NY Times).  We need to do our part.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we encourage all staff to take Monday as a mental health day, as much as possible.  If you have critical work/meetings/assignments that need to happen, go forward with that – but we really encourage people to take the bulk of the day to take care of themselves, their families, and their preparations.  We acknowledge that, on top of all the work we are doing to support the MIT community, this is a difficult and scary time for most of us personally.  MyLife Services is available to all of us, and we encourage folks to do what is needed to care for themselves and their loved ones.

Rachael, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team

Rachael E. Weisz



March 13, 2020 Email - Tracy Gabridge (1)

Good morning to all,

I write to inform everyone of a major shift in library operations, effective 5pm today.

  • ALL staff should begin working remotely, effective 5pm today.
  • ALL in-person library services are cancelled effective 5pm today.
  • I am asking the emergency planning team and all managers to spend today doing what we need to do and what we can do to prepare our staff, our spaces, and our collections for a closure of unknown length.  There will likely be frequent communications today as those plans coalesce.

I know that this situation is incredibly stressful for everyone, and that abrupt shifts in guidance and operational plans only add to the anxiety we are all experiencing. I am deeply sorry for that, and wish it could have been different.

As always, please keep your questions coming to your managers or

That’s it for the moment. You’ll hear more soon.

Chris and Tracy


March 12, 2020 Email - Tracy Gabridge

Hello everybody,

We are so heartened by the goodwill and teamwork that so many of you are exhibiting as we shift our work practices so quickly.  Thank you all for contributing so helpfully during a stressful time!

We have a few important HR related updates:

  • From Ramona Allen’s email this afternoon: “Starting tomorrow, and until communicated otherwise, all MIT parking facilities will be free and open for employees who must report to campus for their jobs. Employees will need their MIT ID cards to access parking facilities.” Here is a map of campus lots for your reference. Please note: the cost of off-campus parking is not covered by this policy. 
  • We have approval from the Provost to implement a policy available in other union contracts regarding a “pandemic clause.” MIT Employment Policy 5.8 states, in relevant part, “In case of pandemic or other wide-spread health emergency, or in the case of an emergency closing longer than two days, special policies on leave, pay and other related policies may be announced.” 
    • As such, the Institute will make the following changes with a tentative date of March 16, 2020 as part of their “social distancing” plan: 
      • Hourly unionized employees whose work requires them to appear on Campus will be compensated at 1.25 times their regular compensation.
      • This is a distinction from emergency closing/snow closing pay because the majority of Institute employees will be required to either work from home or appear on Campus.
      • A determination may be made by management to release some employees due to lower volume and other operational considerations.
        • Released employees will still be paid straight time even when not reporting to work.
        • Employees required to appear to work will continue to get paid at 1.25 times their regular compensation.
      • If the Institute announces an emergency closing, released employees will still be paid straight time even when not reporting to work.
      • This plan has a tentative end date of April 15, 2020. 

Service Updates:

  • As you saw from Chris, we are planning for a shift in service strategy.  Given that we are expecting a greater number of graduate students to remain on site than originally anticipated, we are planning for a limited ability to page and pick up print materials from our general collections from a single location.  More details to come as the plans develop, pending approval from the Provost.  We will continue to be responsive to ever-changing circumstances.
  • Service reminder - all of our online help tools (Ask-Us, Chat, Email, Tech-Help, etc.) will be staffed remotely and will continue to be a resource for our community. 
  • We’ve provided an email for liaisons to send out to their communities about the current state of service planning for the Libraries.


Other quick updates and tips:

  • In order to encourage community members to check our website for the most up-to-date information about services, we’ve come up with some text you can include in your email signature 

Please note that MIT Libraries open hours and services may be impacted by current COVID-19 response. For the most up-to-date information please see:

  • Custodial Services currently has no plans to increase the frequency of cleaning on campus, though they have begun using stronger cleaning agents to disinfect hard surfaces. We have put in requests for increased cleaning frequency in our 24-hour spaces.
  • A huge thank you to everyone who helped assemble cleaning lists for our staff spaces to help supplement common area cleanliness. Because of shifts in staffing planning, we realize it may not be possible to keep up with rotations using individual assignments but believe the information gathered can be quite useful. To that end, we have created general templates for your use (attached). 
    • Managers, please tailor these as needed to your team’s workspaces and post them and work with your staff to create a process for use that best suits your team’s needs.
  • Because requests sent to individual staff members are too difficult to manage, we have a gentle reminder to request tech help via  This will help us track requests and keep all requests moving forward.
  • The travel-lib team has been working incredibly hard to support staff who have had to make changes in travel plans. If you still have questions, the Institute is also providing more information for the community about cancelling and expensing travel under these circumstances.
  • Work from home items:
    • In accordance with Ramona Allen’s email, if you are prepared to start working from home tomorrow (Friday), please notify your manager and do so.
    • In order for ITS to be able to plan for supporting our staff as we transition to remote work, all WFH folks should fill out this Remote Computing Readiness Checklist to let us know what you need in terms of technology equipment (hardware or software), or assistance.
    • The Excel spreadsheet  Work from Home Checklist is one that you can use with your manager and contains helpful reminders like clearing out things in the local refrigerator, etc.
    • If you need to bring your monitor from your desktop to your house to support working from home and don’t have access to a car to do that, we will reimburse you for a Lyft/Uber ride home with that equipment.  Please contact your department’s administrative assistant to help with the reimbursement process once you have a receipt. Please notify Olimpia if you are doing this, so ITS can keep track of equipment that’s been moved.
    • All folks who will be working from home or who are excused from work, please do keep checking email so you are aware of any workplace needs or changes as they arise.
    • The “Working from Home Resources” section on the Staff Web COVID-19 page has a growing list of information available to those staff making the shift.

As always, please keep your questions coming to your managers or

All the best,  Tracy, on behalf of the Libraries Emergency Management Team


March 12, 2020 Email - Chris Bourg


Based on a larger than anticipated number of undergraduates and graduate students remaining on campus, we are now preparing to provide some form of paging access to physical collections, during limited hours, and at limited locations (possibly single location TBD), starting as early as Monday March 14, and continuing for as long as feasible.


If you get questions, please do convey the following to patrons and we will update our website accordingly:

“All library locations will close starting March 14 until further notice. The 24 hour study spaces in Barker and Dewey libraries will remain open to MIT ID holders only.

We hope to be able to provide paging-only access to available physical collections on a limited basis starting on Monday, March 16. Location and hours to be determined, please check back for updates.

Library staff also remain available during the closure to help the community access online resources and services.”


More detailed information and guidance is forthcoming soon including text the liaisons can send to their communities, but wanted to make sure everyone knew what was in the works.


Huge thanks to all of the folks working on this, and on the many other things that are in flux right now. I am blown away by the creativity, commitment and compassion you are all displaying right now, and am proud and grateful to work alongside you.

All best, Chris


March 11, 2020 Email - Tracy Gabridge 

Hi everybody,

Because I created the work-from-home doc on the MIT google drive a lot of you are blocked and are requesting permission to access.  To make it a little easier here is the content from that page:

Work from Home (WFH) by departments/functions (as determined by managers)


  • ID&LA - hybrid, some functions WFH, some on site, some rotation possibilities
  • LIRS - WFH
  • DSS - WFH


  • A&A - hybrid, some functions WFH, some on site, some rotation possibilities
  • DDC - hybrid, some functions WFH, some on site
  • SCCS - WFH


  • ITS-Infrastructure - WFH
  • ITS-Desktop support: hybrid, some functions work from home, some on site
  • TPIE- EngX- WFH
  • ITS-Enterprise Services: WFH
  • DLS-Architecture: WFH

Admin Svs/Director's office - WFH with occasional exceptions related to facilities, invoicing, etc.




March 11, 2020 Email - Tracy Gabridge

Hello everybody,

We have a few quick updates to share as plans start shaping up.  At the end we include a link to the all-staff webex recording and list the Q&As that we captured.  As always, please keep your questions coming to your managers or

New websites to track it all:

  • Staff Web page: In order to help with keeping track of these all-staff emails and campus-wide information we’ve created a site pulling it all together. You can find a link to this site on the staffweb in the Spotlight box.
  • Public-facing page: Updates to the community are posted here:  

Work from home guidance:

We’ve created a list that shows which departments we expect will be either working on site, working from home, or in some hybrid combination starting on Monday. The goal of this strategy is to increase social distancing, while also enabling us to support continuity of operations for the MIT campus.  For groups where a hybrid situation is expected please await instructions from your department head as to how it will work specifically in your group.  

For those of you who will definitely be working from home, on the LibGuides page you’ll find checklists for individuals to use to prepare. The excel spreadsheet is a basic checklist that anyone can use and should be reviewed by managers to ensure that staff are considering particular concerns or equipment in planning to work remotely. The other link is a checklist to assist DLS in determining if staff have technical knowledge or equipment needs so that they may plan appropriately.

Technology purchase requests should be submitted by noon on Thursday, March 12th, by managers for their staff:


For staff who are expecting to work from home and may need office supplies, please use this form, by the same deadline, to request them.  Orders will be distributed on campus and cannot be delivered to home locations. We will determine additional opportunities for others to get supplies down the road, but at least want to get a first pass complete this week.


Organization wide, we will probably depend on Slack more during this time.  For helpful guidance on best practices for Slack:


Service updates:

  • We are working on an email to go out to faculty about the Library closure.  

A few service details are emerging:

  • The community can borrow reserves as usual through Thursday. Use of reserve materials will be in house use only on Friday. This enables us to keep a copy of all required course readings quickly available to equitably support course needs during the period when classes are taught remotely.​
  • We now have a view on how hours will look for the rest of the week, being responsive to available staffing.  Today: no change.  Thursday: close at 8pm.  Friday: close at 5pm.  Changes will be made soon to web sites and all.
  • Katie Zimmerman is working on a statement with other university libraries about fair use and reserves during campus closures and consulting with the Office of General Counsel.  This will help guide what service we offer for reserves in the coming weeks and months.
  • We are working with the Internet Archive and the HathiTrust to increase the number of items in our catalog that are available digitally.
  • We are also closely coordinating generous fine forgiveness and renewal policies for MIT materials and with our Borrow Direct partners.


All Staff meeting link and Q&A:

Thank you to everybody who participated in the all-staff WebEx meeting today.  If you missed it here is the link to the all staff recording. We’ve also captured the questions asked at the meeting and share the answers below:


Q: Is there an email scheduled (possibly pending other info getting figured out) to go out to students/faculty about the Libraries closure?

A: We are working on an email. Chris is clearing it with the Provost. We are trying to be mindful of the sheer volume of emails and information that is coming at students and faculty right now.


Q: What happens if a student checks out a reserves book on Friday, March 13th?

A: We will not be checking reserves books out to the community except for in-library use as of Friday. This enables us to keep a copy of all required course readings quickly available to equitably support course needs.


Q: Are there plans to increase cleaning of campus spaces?

A: At NE36 the building management firm has put in place a more active cleaning program. We are checking on the plans for Custodial Services on campus and our library spaces.  We are also putting together a process where we share wiping down of common areas in our staff spaces to supplement what the campus is providing.  


Q: Guidance about working from home:

A: See above for the latest guidelines for working from home.  Having some number of our staff working from home provides more social distance for on-site staff to work. Please work with your manager to determine how your WFH or onsite work fits into the unit plan for the next few weeks. 


Q: Guidance for staff who have underlying health conditions

A: Please consult with your health provider for guidance and then with your manager and HR to make informed decisions.  While we don’t yet have updated information from central HR yet about this, our usual protocols and processes are also helpful in supporting staff.  


Q: Should staff who get sick, then recover stay away even if they feel better?

A:  Please consult with your health provider to help determine when you should return to work.  We are also awaiting guidance from MIT Medical and HR on this matter.


Q: Do we have a timeline on information from central HR?

A: No, not yet.  These are high priority questions for the Business Continuity Team and as soon as we hear anything, we will share what we learn.  


Q:  Project suggestion for supporting a project and skills exchange board.  

A: Please email suggestions to emgmt-lib


Q: What other ways will we support online classwork?

A: We are planning to continue with reserves, scanning, have a call out to OGC for using fair use more extensively during this time, and will suggest that liaison librarians are a good resource for faculty to determine how we can best support them.


Q: Book returns & fine forgiveness

A: Students are really stressed right now, and we’d like them to be able to take care of themselves and not worry about books. So we’ll be implementing generous fine forgiveness.   We are not asking students to bring books back before they go.


Q: How will we staff Ask chat and other services if we see an increase of traffic and questions?

A: Felicity is looking at a staffing plan right now for this.

Take care,

Tracy, on behalf of the Libraries Emergency Management Team


March 10, 2020 Email - Tracy Gabridge


As you will have seen from the MIT message from Rafael Reif this afternoon (included below if it hasn’t arrived at your mailbox yet), the situation and response is still rapidly evolving.  We are planning on an all-staff virtual staff meeting tomorrow morning at 11:30am (details to come), but in the meantime here are the latest updates about how MIT plans are shaping the Libraries planning.

Updates on context:

MIT is planning to send students home, and will resume after a 2-week class cancellation with 100% remote instruction; students will not return to campus.  For the Libraries, we are going to close all Library service points but keep open our 24 hour spaces (pending confirmation of custodial services availability) starting on Saturday, March 14th, through at least March 30th, after which we will respond to the situation as it develops.  We will continue to provide all digitally based, online services.  

For the remainder of this week, staff should maintain usual business and work practices, with some increased attention to providing disinfecting supplies in our public spaces, and paying attention to common spaces in our staff areas.

We understand that this is disruptive to us all and requires us to shift services on a very short timeframe.  We appreciate that the staff of the Libraries are so highly committed to serving the needs of the MIT Community and that we will put our ingenuity to the test to “MacGyver” our services to match the needs of MIT’s students, faculty, and staff. 

As you’d imagine, to shift from our normal operations to at least a 2-week service point closure, there are many steps we need to take to put it in place.  Please stay tuned as further details are worked out for specific workgroups.  Your managers will be the best source of local information pertaining to the services you support.

Service mitigations in the planning stage:

  • How might we increase scanning services to deliver more information digitally when the community is primarily remote?
  • How might we accept digitally deposited theses as the default this semester?
  • Can we implement more controlled digital lending across more of our collections?
  • What policies do we need to modify in this time period, e.g. renewals, fines, etc.

Some of the things we are working on diligently:

  • How to support the greatest number of people working remotely.
  • Getting supplies to our units to implement social distancing tactics for the rest of the week.
  • How to handle hiring/interviews in the coming weeks/months
  • Setting up a site where all of the emergency planning communications will be gathered for an easy one-stop place to check for the latest Libraries specific inf
  • Impacts of the change in services on staff whose work is primarily on site
  • Tomorrow the Emergency Planning Management Team will meet to discuss the information we are getting from all managers via the worksheets we distributed last week to incorporate any new items into the planning.

Answers we are waiting on/monitoring from MIT or other external folks:

  • Pay strategies for all types of staff based on different scenarios and timelines
  • Mail service status
  • Hayden renovation impacts

What you can do, in addition to items mentioned yesterday:

  • We encourage all managers and staff to evaluate meetings scheduled this week to see if they can be postponed or cancelled to make room for emergency planning work to take priority.

  • Be ready to support the campus in the ways that are needed.  You may be asked to do work that you normally might not or at a different level of priority.
  • Everyone has the responsibility to keep common spaces clean, our ADLIB team is working on a schedule and approach to get this done.  Please be ready to be assigned a space to manage - we are seeking to share the work.

If you have concerns, questions, or thoughts to share about the Libraries emergency planning efforts please be in touch with your manager or with the team directly at


Tracy on behalf of the Libraries Emergency Planning Team


March 9, 2020 Email - Stephanie Toews Moeling


Updating this email with a few additional prompts:

  1. Please update emgmt-lib with names of staff who are currently on vacation, or if staff have recently traveled to Level 3 or 4 Coronavirus sites
  2. Please send a list of all planned classes and workshops to emgmt-lib – include expected class size, location, frequency of occurrence
  3. Please add the following questions to the spreadsheet that I sent, or use the attached spreadsheet for your planning purposes.
    • What is the work that staff in your unit will be doing offsite?
    • Are there folks who will be fully occupied remotely vs. not fully occupied remotely? Do you need to address?
    • Are there workflows or inputs that you need to secure from other Library units in order to work remotely?
    • What else do you need from Libraries leadership?
    • Social distancing: Do you have staff who are clustered or working closer than 6-feet together? How to manage this?
    • How will you identify which staff will be onsite/not onsite? How will you make this fair? Esp. IDLA, A&A, DDC folk



March 9, 2020 Email - Tracy Gabridge

Hello everybody,

At the end of this message you’ll see an update from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for how the Institute is thinking about online teaching, student travel and more.  Continue to expect frequent updates in the days ahead from MIT’s Leadership.

Our planning efforts in the Libraries are also ramping up and we expect to be sending a daily update to all staff about our current thinking and activities.  This is a long message, so please bear with me.

To get started, we’d like to share a little bit of context.  The main focus for planning on campus is to create strategies that help minimize the spread of the virus during this early stage while respecting that community is going to continue to do a lot of research and learning.  In addition to the advice about frequent handwashing and disinfecting commonly used surfaces, you’ll hear a lot about “social distancing” which is a strategy to decrease the density of groups of people to lessen the degree to which people are in direct contact with each other.  It doesn’t mean that we cease all gatherings of people, but rather we thoughtfully think about how to increase distance between people.  If we are successful at doing this it would mean that fewer people might get the virus and that systems like hospitals and other critical care entities could avoid being overwhelmed. 

The way our planning in the Libraries is shaping up to align with MIT’s planning is that we are strategizing in three ways

1) planning for an increase to the number of people who can work remotely as the situation warrants it;  

2) thinking about how Library spaces can help reduce density of people in spaces across campus – e.g. can Libraries be useful in reducing the density of people who would otherwise be spending increased time in more crowded dormitories?;

3) what modifications to services do we need to plan for if the MIT community is mostly working/studying from a distance?

As we get the planning underway in each of these areas we will send updates.  A sampling of some of the actions that are currently underway include the following:

  • We’ve added some additional people to the Libraries Emergency Planning Team.  Members now include:  Chris Bourg, Jana Dambrogio, Mohamed El Ouirdi, Brigham Fay, Tracy Gabridge, Emilie Hardman, Shannon Hunt, Brent Oberlin (MIT Press), Maria Rodrigues, Stephanie Toews Moeling, Felicity Walsh, Rachael Weisz.  The email for the group is
  • We are working to source supplies for disinfecting surfaces.
  • We are planning to implement a few distancing techniques this week in our public spaces – providing disinfecting wipes or supplies at our libraries for the community to use, and reducing the number of chairs at long tables to decrease the density of people sitting at them.
  • Managers are assessing in their departments who can do work remotely and who can’t.  If we keep doing some work on site, what might that look like and how do we minimize the impact on staff.
  • Figuring out what support we can provide to staff who can work remotely, e.g. refreshers on WebEx or VPN set up.
  • Create a plan to wipe down common areas on an increased basis – All staff who are on site may be assigned a task of this nature.

While we keep moving forward with the planning work there are few things that you can do as well:

  • Sign up for emergency notifications
  • Learn how to forward your work phone
  • Share information with your manager as they need it
  • Add WebEx information to any meeting you have scheduled to support remote participants
  • Participate in the shared effort to keep common areas wiped down (more information coming soon)
  • Be mindful of supporting colleagues that may be experiencing harassment as a result of fears raised by the spread of the virus.  This is particularly notable for colleagues of Asian American descent.  Please see the end of the message for a more complete treatment of this issue.
  • If you have a compromised immune system or underlying health conditions, please do consult with your health provider to get guidance on how you might manage the situation.  Please be in touch with your manager and HR colleagues ( if you need to discuss.
  • Please check your email frequently, this is a rapidly evolving situation, so stay tuned for information as it develops.
  • And of course – keep washing your hands and stay home if you show any signs of illness.

There are few items that we are tracking at the Institute level that we know folks have questions about. 

  • What are impacts to pay if aspects of our services need to shut down or shift to remote for a period of time?  If staff get sick, but don’t have sick time built up, what happens? We have raised these questions to the Institute level and will be guided by MIT HR.  As soon as there are answers, we will share them.

If you have concerns, questions, or thoughts to share about the Libraries emergency planning efforts please be in touch with your manager or with the team directly at


Tracy on behalf of the Libraries Emergency Planning Team


March 8, 2020 Email for NE36 from Suzanne Blake

From: Suzanne Blake <>
Sent: Sunday, March 8, 2020 2:18 PM
To: MIT Emergency Management <>
Subject: Message #2 to NE36 MIT Staff Regarding COVID-19

Dear MIT Staff in NE36,

We wanted to keep you updated on the status of NE36 and Biogen, the building’s operator, with respect to COVID-19.

What we know

  • Three individuals who visited Biogen Headquarters for meetings last week tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.
  • The only Biogen employees in NE36 are located at the front desk and in the command center (security personnel watching cameras behind a secure wall). There are no other Biogen employees in NE36 on any of the floors. It is all tenant spaces.
  • Custodial service in NE36 will continue. 
  • Biogen office-based employees have been directed to work from home until further notice.
  • The Biogen employees in NE36 will report to work as usual (i.e. they are not part of the work from home contingent).

The risk for transmission of COVID-19 is considered to be low in absence of “close contact.” Close contact is defined as face-to-face interaction of more than 15 minutes in a distance of six feet or less from a currently infected person.


Guidance for MIT staff in NE36

  • NE36 will be open for business operations on Monday, March 9th.
  • Continue to follow the general MIT guidelines: "Please stay home if you feel sick, and urge others to do so. Encourage handwashing, provide hand sanitizer and tissues, minimize communal food, and educate your students and colleagues about proper precautions.”

It is possible that there are MIT employees who work in NE36 who are not on this list.  Please ensure that your colleagues have received this and forward it to anyone who may need it.   

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your department heads, all of whom have approved this message.  Thank you for your cooperation and support as we continue to manage the COVID-19 situation for our community. 

Suzanne M. Blake, CEM, CBCI
Director, MIT Emergency Management
Administrative Director, MIT EMS
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 
Office: (617) 715-2531


March 6, 2020 Email - Stephanie Toews Moeling


Please see the attached documents that we sent to managers this afternoon. We are sharing them with you in their entirety so that you can participate in the conversations that we will need to have as departments and units. We are grateful for your assistance with this process.




Attached are three documents that we are sending to managers to begin to plan MIT Libraries response to COVID-19 outbreak concerns.

We wanted you to have this first for review, and we will forward to all-lib in several hours for transparency.

You are asked to do the following:

  1. Review all three documents beginning with the memo.
  2. Postpone/cancel non-essential work as needed to complete these planning activities with your staff.

This is a work in progress, and we may not have considered all angles. To that end, feel free to reach us at , the group email address for the pandemic leadership response team comprised of: C Bourg, T Gabridge, R Weisz, M Rodrigues, J Dambrogio, and S Toews Moeling.

Thank you in advance for your work on this issue. We hope it will be useful and provide clarity.




March 6, 2020 Email - Chris Bourg


Following the email we received last night from President Reif (attached), I have decided that effective immediately MIT Libraries will conduct no further travel domestically or internationally between now and May 15. This means that if you had planned to attend any conferences, workshops, etc., you should seek to cancel your trip, and inform your supervisor and once you have done so. I understand that this might be disappointing to some of you, and it may seem like a significant reaction in a changing environment. However, we are erring on the side of caution, both to protect the health of our staff and community members and to reduce the burdens on systems and people responsible for tracking travel at this time. We have reviewed planned travel and none of our staff have pending travel that is CRITICAL or ESSENTIAL. Also, because this is a rapidly changing environment, we will send updates as necessary, hopefully on a weekly basis. However, we STRONGLY URGE you to consider upcoming travel beyond the May 15 deadline as suspended or in jeopardy. Therefore, I am asking managers to please stop approving new travel effective immediately.

To the folks who are traveling today or are currently away, please complete your trip as planned. Wash your hands frequently, and avoid handshakes in favor of a courteous nod or a fist or elbow bump. Be aware that you may, upon your return, be required to self-quarantine or work from home dependent upon factors not in your control, so please be in touch with your manager about how to handle that. If you were expecting to travel today or this weekend and prefer to stay home and not travel, we support you – just update your supervisor and Your health and safety are of primary importance.

Of course, canceling trips means concerns about reimbursements and refunds. Here is how we are handling:

·         If you were part of the groups traveling to LMSI, New England Archivists, or ArchivematicaCon, Stephanie Toews Moeling and Nikki Hanafin will be in touch to help coordinate cancellations.

·         If your destination is not listed above, we recommend:

o   That you cancel your hotel as quickly as possible to receive the maximum refund.

o   That you try to change or cancel your flight for a voucher for future travel.

o   That you try to cancel your registration for the conference.

·         MIT Libraries is committed to covering the costs of these trips not taken so that you will not be out of pocket.

o   Please contact Nikki immediately if some portion of your trip was approved as covered by professional development funds and some was to be covered by you personally.

o   If your trip was paid on your personal credit card but approved as professional development, we will ensure that you are refunded.

·         We have not yet determined what the impact of this will be on our professional development funds/allowance for staff. Determination of that will be forthcoming.

I am grateful to everyone for their planning and understanding. Please feel free to send any questions to - Nikki and Stephanie will endeavor to answer as necessary.



Chris Bourg, PhD (she, her, hers)

Director, MIT Libraries

77 Massachusetts Avenue, NE36-6103

Cambridge, MA 02139-4307


March 5, 2020 Email for NE36 from Suzanne Blake

From: Suzanne Blake <>
Sent: Thursday, March 5, 2020 9:45 PM
To: MIT Emergency Management <>
Subject: Message to NE36 MIT Staff Regarding COVID-19

Dear MIT Staff in NE36,

We wanted to reach out to you because we were informed of the three positive cases of COVID-19 detected in individuals who visited Biogen Headquarters for meetings last week. Please know that the risk for transmission of COVID-19 is considered to be extremely low in absence of “close contact.” Close contact is defined as:

a) being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time; close contact can occur while caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a healthcare waiting area or room with a COVID-19 case

– or –

b) having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on).

We want to assure you that there is no reason to think that staff who work in NE36 have met the criteria for close contact, even though there may have been shared cleaning staff who were in the other building when the meeting occurred. For further information, please see our COVID-19 FAQ and see the attached informational document from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Additionally, please refer to the attached letter from Biogen to occupants of NE36.

Please forward this along to anyone who may not have received it. If you have any additional concerns, please feel free to reach out to us. 

Suzanne M. Blake, CEM

Director, MIT Emergency Management


Cecilia Stuopis, MD

Medical Director

March 5, 2020 Email - Rachael Weisz

Dear Libraries’ Colleagues,

President Reif’s email contains important information related to the Coronavirus outbreak, including travel and gathering restrictions.  In addition to this guidance, please know that the Libraries will be doing the following:

  1. We encourage all staff to monitor their own health carefully, as well as that of those they live with.  If you or others in your home are feeling unwell, please communicate with your manager and make a plan to stay home.  Please err on the side of caution!
  2. Tracy and Chris have established a pandemic emergency response team composed of Jana Dambrogio, Maria Rodrigues, Rachael Weisz, and Stephanie Toews Moeling. This team has drafted and will send, to managers, a business continuity plan including a checklist by end of day tomorrow.  Once managers have had the chance to digest this information, they will be working with their team members to think through what action needs to be undertaken so that we can be as prepared as possible.   Of course, all of our planning will integrate advice and guidance from Institute leadership.
  3. We will continue to send Libraries-specific emails as new information arrives.

Again, if you are feeling unwell, please take care of yourself first.  

All best,

Rachael and Stephanie