Summer 2021 LRL Newsline: Library Question

8/9/2021

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This summer, the LRL regional directors reached out to all our member libraries to ask the following questions:

  1. Did your legislature/chamber/office allow teleworking before March 2020?
  2. Was telework offered or mandated once shutdowns began in March 2020?
  3. Will telework policies be implemented and/or amended once COVID restrictions have been completely lifted in your state (will telework continue to be offered or disallowed)?
  4. Can you provide a sample of your policies if you have them and are able to share?

Alabama

  1. At the Legislative Services Agency, there was no teleworking before March 2020.
  2. During the shutdown, staff teleworked as much as it was possible. Because of the confidential nature of the work we do for the legislature, it was really not possible to do bill drafting without being in the office. Some research work was done, but not much else.
  3. The LSA staff has not been teleworking since April 2020 (we had to come back to work then to finish the legislative session), and we won’t be teleworking after restrictions are lifted.

Alaska

  1. Our library did not allow teleworking prior to March 2020.Telework was mandated to the extent we could in March 2020.
  2. Some parts of our collection had not been digitized, which required roughly once-a-week visits to the library to process requests for those items.
  3. We are still discussing future policies: COVID restrictions have been lifted and we are returning to the office but recognize and would like to retain some of the benefits of teleworking. For the moment we are trying out a schedule that allows each librarian to telework about 40% of their hours each week.

Arkansas

  1. No
  2. Yes
  3. Not at this time.
  4. No policies since we are no longer teleworking.

California Office of Legislative Counsel

  1. Yes, on a case-by-case basis reviewed by HR.
  2. Yes, the option to telework was mandated.
  3. In the future. We are still currently teleworking. Nothing has changed since March 2020.
  4. There is no written policy.

California Research Bureau

  1. Yes, approved for one day per week.
  2. Yes
  3. Decisions driven by individual staff preferences and operational needs. For the most part, based on staff surveys, the majority of CRB staff have indicated a preference for continuing to work remotely and work onsite if/as needed.

Connecticut

  1. No, with rare exceptions such as medical leaves.
  2. Yes, it was mandated.
  3. We are awaiting details on this.

Florida

  1. Not able to answer for Florida Legislature/chamber/office, but the State Library of Florida did not allow teleworking before March 2020.
  2. State Library staff were offered the opportunity to telework once the shutdowns began in March 2020.
  3. All State Library employees teleworking were asked to return to work once COVID restrictions were lifted.
  4. I am not aware of any formal policies for the State Library of Florida.

Hawaii

  1. No
  2. Yes, between May 2020 and May 2021, we worked a hybrid schedule, and in June 2021 we all returned to working in the library.

Idaho

  1. No, except for a couple of isolated incidents many years ago.
  2. Yes, the option to telework was made available.
  3. Employees currently have the option to telework one day a week during the summer.
  4. There is no written policy.

Louisiana

  1. No, we did not allow telework before March 2020.
  2. Telework was allowed, but not required, from April 1 to May 1. The Legislature was in session in March and returned for the rest of session May 4.
  3. Library staff occasionally came in to drop off work for me to proof or do work that could not be done from home. I found it much easier to work in my office with my two monitors, keyboard, big desk, etc., than to work from home on a laptop and spent most of my time in the library. The Poynter Legislative Research (House) Library is located on the 13th floor of the Capitol, and we do not serve the public.
  4. The House does not have a telework policy, so our current policies do not allow for telework.

Maine

  1. No, the Law Library did not offer this option.
  2. Yes, the Law Library (and the Legislature) allowed telework.We have not yet received guidance on this.

New Mexico

Our library allowed teleworking last year upon the start of the pandemic, with library staff going into the office once or twice a week. Our state capital has resumed being open to the public, so we are staffing the library daily and anticipate a 100 percent full operation daily by October 1.

Nevada

  1. Our Research Division had a Policy for Working Remotely before March 2020 that was allowed during the interim.
  2. Telework was mandated starting March 16, 2020.
  3. We are unsure at this time what the telework policies will be once all COVID restrictions are lifted.
  4. Remote work policy │ best practices were both in place before the pandemic.
  5. NV Working Remotely: Best Practices
  6. NV Working Remotely: Policy Agreement

Ohio

  1. The Legislative Service Commission allowed some work from home before March 2020, but it usually was for limited situations and with the supervisor’s discretion. (See policy attached for the last question.) Instructions for the remoting software were available long before March 2020, but it was not used by the library staff.
  2. All staff members were directed to work from home in March 2020. No one was furloughed through the entire pandemic. A few days before we were sent home, a survey was quickly taken concerning equipment to see if office equipment needed to be sent home with anyone. If personal equipment at home worked, you were expected to use it. Instructions for the remoting software were also sent home again, and everyone was expected to test the installation and get help from the IT department if necessary.
  3. It is unclear if telework policies will be implemented. The entire staff has been directed to work in the office starting July 6. Prior to that, staff were there on sort of an alternating day schedule. The working from home policy from the employee handbook that existed before the pandemic is still valid and is attached:

Oklahoma

Our library allowed staff teleworking since the pandemic started in March of 2020 and some divisions might continue to have teleworking options for their staff when approved by the Director of our library. 

Tennessee

  1. No telework prior to March 2020.
  2. Mandated for a couple of months or so, then offered on a case-by-case basis.
  3. No telework being allowed now.