Collections Under COVID 3

Collections Under COVID 3

Another working week done and the first full week since we have not been able to be onsite at the PMI.

Last week I packed all the to be done cataloguing into my car, along with some indexing and brought it back so I could work from home. You can see my car and my new set up in the photos below. You might notice my trusty companion my Highland Cow Clementine on top of the bookshelf. In fact Clementine was such a hit from the newsletter that people have been emailing their work companions; including Wally the Wombat who goes on adventures.



So it’s been a week of cataloguing, some ordering and the most exciting thing: setting up a trivia night.

In this new lockdown, we can’t visit the library so we can’t scan or post material to patrons. Therefore, we wanted to make sure that we were staying in touch with everyone, and provide some form of the event program we would normally be running. We’re starting with a trivia night, which we’re quite excited about. So I’ve spent some of this week putting together trivia questions. I had a lot of fun putting together the power point; there’s 31 questions in four sections: Easy, Medium, Hard and Evil. You can see the opening slide in the  photo below.

Screen Shot 2020-08-13 at 4.17.23 pm

We ran a quick test with some of our volunteers yesterday, to iron out any technical kinks, and it gave us the chance to have some virtual contact with the volunteers which was lovely. I was also able to have my first go at playing Quiz Master, which was quite fun. We’re not playing for prizes, just for bragging rights, but we expect competition to be fierce 🙂

It’s the first online event we’ve run, so I’m sure there will be some teething problems, but it will be really nice to be able to connect visually with our members. We miss having you in the library.

The quiz will be at 7:30 pm next Wednesday the 19th of August. If you’d like to join in email and we’ll send you the zoom link and the downloadable score sheet. Hopefully see some of you there. Each question has a picture clue as well, and the first one is below- to whet you appetite so to speak.


We are looking at undertaking more trivia in the future- so if you have any inspired Australian history trivia questions feel free to email them to us at

Working completely remotely has been a big shift. The PMI staff meets on zoom at 10 each day Tuesday-Thursday. We discuss what we’re working on, and in this case how we are going to run the trivia. It’s a good way of staying in touch and capturing some of the bonhomie that you miss when you’re not working face to face with people. Also Steven and I have had a few longer discussions about British comedy, I’ve been listening to Fawlty Towers while I’m working, which has also been nice.

It has been hard not being able to answer queries, because we do not have access to the hard copy collection. We do however, when the server is holding up, have access to the electronic resources, so if there is any material you want from those please feel free to let us know. You can search by electronic resource on the catalogue.

In periodicals news, this week has seen us subscribing to Lighthouses Australia and their journal Prism. We’ll be collecting it in hardcopy going forward, so you’ll be able to borrow it from the library once we are open again, and there’s more than ten years worth of back issues to index, work we’ll be splitting between staff and volunteers. The cover of the most recent issue can be seen below. It will be key word searchable on our catalogue in the coming weeks.

2020-02 Light Houses Australia Prism

Speaking of the volunteers, some have continued working from home on everything from sourcing heritage studies, to indexing garden history journals, to scouring university repositories for theses and indexing our vertical file. As always their work is invaluable and we look forward to being able to welcome all the volunteers back into the PMI in the hopefully not too distant future.

The final aspect of this work week I wanted to talk about was ordering. Due to a grant, we have been able to begin ordering books again, on a small scale, for the first time since April. This has meant going back through the lists I’ve been keeping (which I’ve discussed in previous posts) and determining which are the most important, but also which are accessible. Some places- like the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery can’t send us their book because like us they can’t access the site- but we will receive a copy after lockdown ends.

The biggest order I’ve done is from a local bookstore, we always try to support local retailers where possible, but I’ve begun ordering some individual books as well. For example the Encyclopaedia of Adam Lindsay Gordon, of which there were only 45 copies printed, is on its way, as is Kangaroo Grassland to Geelong Botanic Gardens and Eastern Park: A chronological history. So we’re back to collecting the small stories, which I’m pleased about. For anyone wondering about the Bunbartha Tennis Club book I mentioned in an earlier post that also ended up in the newsletter- it’s on my list for next week (one of our members found a phone number for me).

So that’s the working week in Collections for the PMI at home. I want to finish with my favourite book from today’s cataloguing. Just because I love the title.


Maybe stalking could be a good iso activity, as long as we do it in under an hour and with in 5km of our home (and stick to animals not people).