In this time of the pandemic, most of the offices at the UPLB including the University Library were in the Alternative Work Arrangement (AWA), a combination of work-from-home and scheduled physical reporting as skeletal workforce depending on the classification status of the province of Laguna as released by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF). Library staff often do not see most of their colleagues with this work arrangement. They missed the “kumustahan”, taking lunch together, working face to face, etc. The Social Events and the Library Staff Training 2 Committees collaborated and planned an activity called “Online Kumustahan sa Aklatan”, where library staff can meet and see each other virtually and at the same time educate on Mental Health.
The two-part complementary activity which is exclusive to the UPLB Library staff from the Main Library and unit libraries was held last September 22, 2021, from 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM via ZOOM and UPLB University Library Staff FB Live. The first part is a webinar that features the talk of Dr. Robert Gerard O. Kelemen, a Psychiatrist from Mariveles Mental Wellness and General Hospital Bataan, entitled “Supporting Mental Well-Being in the Workplace.” He shared knowledge on stress, its types, coping mechanisms, and calming strategies to protect mental health from routine or “everyday” stress in the workplace, especially during this time of the pandemic.
The second part is a Fellowship where library staff had fun meeting other staff virtually through games, raffles, birthday greetings, staff recognition, sharing experiences during the Pandemic, and the presentation of Tiktok WFH theme videos.
Cash Landing on You, a modified Bring Me Game, has entertained the participants. In this game, the host will flash the requested item/s on the screen and the participants join the game from his or her home. After the cue, the participants will go and get the item requested by opening her/his camera and the first to type in the chatbox “MINE + CODE” will be the winners. Another game called Food Trip Tayo is guessing the name of the Tagalog dishes flashed on the screen. Again by typing at the chatbox, first to type the correct name of the dishes won the game. Winners of the virtual games won a P100.00 cash prize each.
Raffles through Online Roleta yielded 42 winners with PhP50, 100, 150, 200, and 250 prizes and two grand prize winners of PhP500 each.
Birthday greetings of all staff all year round were flashed on the screen followed by recognition of those staff who have completed their Master Degree, passed the MLIS entrance examination and comprehensive exam, and promoted from temporary to permanent position, among others.
Four Library staff voluntarily shared their experiences. One narrated her experience looking for a hospital for her brother who suffered from a stroke attack, since most of the hospitals were already full due to COVID patients. Two staff revealed that this pandemic has given them time to discover skills in baking and a desire to be an artist singer by hosting a Session Live; and lastly, a staff emotionally narrated what she had gone through after testing positive for COVID-19, and still performing library tasks (WFH) with the help of other College Librarians from the Main Library to deviate her attention from depression and anxiety.
On the TikTok WFH Video Contest, four entries were presented: Mr. Rolly Belda from CEAT Library, Ms. Meichelle Ann Jenine Galapon, Mses. Gladys Soretes & Christine Balmes, and Ms. Virginia Alcantara (all from the Main Library). All were pronounced winners with 3rd placer (PhP 300), 2nd placer (PhP 500), 1stplacer (PhP 700), and grand winner (PhP1000), respectively. Social Media reactions and views plus the Judges ratings became the criteria for winning the prizes.The activity was a successful one and was able to meet its objectives to re-establish bonds and connections among the library staff and at the same time gain knowledge on mental health. (Virginia P. Alcantara)