Library Life: Still Closed
Around the middle of March, the library closed due to COVID-19 with the intentions of opening back up on April 6. While the closure was not easy to accept, it was the best practice of safety for library staff and patrons. I was relieved that we would be playing our part in social distancing in an attempt to keep the virus from further spreading.
Ohio as a state has really come together to slow the spread of the disease. Governor DeWine is taking this seriously and is looking out for the public. Since my last post, we have gone up to over 3,700 confirmed cases, with the death toll passing 100. I can’t imagine how much worse it would be if we weren’t practicing social distancing. Still, the numbers are heartbreaking.
A novel disease is not easy to slow down. Although Ohio is doing its best, we are on lockdown for another month. That means, the library won’t be opening until May, at least.
We don’t have access to the buildings. The bookdrops are locked up. Parking lots empty. Holds unfilled. No programs. Will we be able to have summer programs? Will we have full service in May? Returns only? Hold pick ups?
There is so much that is unknown.
As an information profession who loves to know as much as possible, this has been anxiety inducing. But also… I just miss my job. I miss story time on Thursday mornings, giving stamps to the kids afterwards, talking to their moms. I miss the after school kids. Asking about their day, rolling my eyes at their antics, laughing with them over silly things. I miss saying “good morning” to every person who came through the door during my morning desk shift. I miss checking out items to excited patrons, talking to them about whatever they want to talk about, and listening to them talk about the latest book they loved or the last movie they watched. I miss planning out programs for the kids and seeing the looks on their faces when they got to craft something new or make a new friend in the program. I miss my coworkers. I miss the laughter, constantly being on my toes, and being physically present in a wonderful community.
So now I’m as virtually present as can be, as are many librarians and library staff through virtual story times, how-to videos, digital reference questions, online library cards, e-materials, etc…
It’s not the same as working with the public in person, but it makes the lockdown a little easier for everyone. And, of course, it helps keep everyone safe because it is digital. I’m grateful that the community I work for has been excited and responding positively to our virtual content. It makes lockdown a little easier.
I can’t wait to go back to work and see everyone. Things will be different. It will be another adjustment, but I love what I do and I am hopeful that things will improve. I’m glad libraries are able to reach their communities through the internet. We adapt and work with what we have.
Above all, I am grateful for all the essential workers who are facing everything right now. They don’t get to rely on doing their job remotely. They deserve (they have ALWAYS deserved) our respect and a pay they can live on.
I hope everyone reading this is safe and well. None of this is easy, I know. I feel like I’m going crazy at times. I miss my job, family, and friends. I’m worried about everyone who is working the front lines and everyone who is ill. These are scary times.
This new reality is hard. There have been truly ugly things (people being racist towards Asian people), which is not okay. Price gauging has been an issue. People hoarding toilet paper, disinfectant wipes, and masks. It’s frustrating and unacceptable. Don’t be racist. Don’t hoard supplies.
I’m proud of my home state for taking the steps to help slow COVID-19. We “Wine with DeWine” at 2pm every day, listening for new information and updates. Neighbors are looking out for each other, now more than ever. Libraries, museums, etc. are posting virtual content. People are “Going on a Bear Hunt” (social distance version). There are teddy bears sitting in windows of many homes (including my own) for kids to count on their “bear hunt”. People are putting art in their windows. Taking time to explore their neighborhoods and metro parks (again, in a social distance way). I’m proud of my own little neighborhood. One neighbor offered to make store runs for anyone who could not or did not want to. I offered to contribute extra food (human and cat food) that I had and have been checking in on my neighbors, grandparents, and great-aunt (via phone, of course).
In his book Warm Bodies, Isaac Marion writes, “The past is made out of facts…I guess the future is just hope”.
I’ve been thinking about that a lot now. The past and present have been horribly hard. I still want to believe there is hope for the future.
Stay safe and thank you for reading.