This week in the Leatherby Librarians at Home blog series, Coordinator of Cataloging and Gifts Shahrzad Khosrowpour shares the fantastic things she’s been reading, along with tips for making the most of studying from home.

1. What has been the most challenging aspect for you of working from home so far, and how did you overcome it?

Space, space, and again space! That has been the most challenging aspect of working from home for me and my son who moved from college to shelter in place at home. Thankfully, so far, we have been able to manage and co-exist!

Image of an at-home workspace, with a chair, a desk, a dresser, and a yoga ball

Shahrzad’s at-home workspace.

2. What is your favorite remote resource for students and/or faculty?

Thanks to a few of our librarians and what they have done so far, I find theLibrary Content for Online Teaching and Learningvery helpful and eye-opening. The majority of these resources were already available and embedded on our library website. However, the current situation has pushed these resources to the forefront of library offerings, and they are now more visible and discoverable. It seems that streaming video and motion picture databases are the most popular, such as Swank Digital Campus & Kanopy. A special shout-out also to our campus IS&T Service Desk as well, and its crew who have made our remote access much more manageable.

3. What book(s) have you been reading recently?

I recently finished the audiobook The Last Girl by Nadia Murad. That was in preparation for the Book Club event that we planned in celebration of our Chapman University 2020 Commencement speaker, the author of this book. The event of course is now postponed because of the current situation. I also had a chance to finish Margaret Atwood’s latest book The Testaments. It is the sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, which was first published in the mid-1980s! I am now reading The Republic of Imagination by Azar Nafisi, the author of Reading Lolita in Tehran. That book was about reading fiction in Iran! The Republic of Imagination is a 2014 publication, and I received an Advanced Copy signed by the author for me, but I didn’t have the chance to read it until now. It talks about the power of reading fiction (and, yes; American fiction this time) that can change our lives. She invites us to join as the citizens of the “Republic of Imagination,” which is one single place/country where the ONLY passport for entry is to have a free mind and to be a dreamer. It is a good read in these days of being in quarantine, because sometimes what keeps us going is our ability to dream!

4. What is the most interesting change you’ve made to how you do your job in the past few weeks?

Over the past few weeks, I was able to create a space in the corner of my bedroom as a standing and sitting workstation using the existing furniture that I had already available at home. And, sometimes, I use my yoga ball for sitting when I am in an audio webinar or Town Hall meeting.

5. What is your number one piece of advice for students learning remotely and/or faculty teaching remotely right now?

People’s learning and teaching styles could be different, but I believe the critical thing is to be self-disciplined in an online environment. You can be carried away by so many distractions around you. Especially if a class/course is not virtual, but it is from recording. If you don’t make a study/teaching plan, it won’t be easy to catch up with it later. In the meantime, believe in yourself. You are the best of yourself, as everybody else is.