Pandemic Blog Post

I have such an urge to start this blog post much like Star Trek: Captain’s Log, Stardate


I’ve learned a lot so far during this pandemic.

  • Working from home is terrible
  • My Target, Michael’s and Hobby Lobby stores, a mere twenty-minute drive from home, are now off-limits because they’re in Massachusetts. I don’t live or work in Massachusetts, therefore I am not allowed
  • I am not normally a hugger, but for some strange reason, need hugs
  • I never realized how itchy my face is until I was instructed not to touch my face

On a more serious note, let’s talk about gratitude. I am one of those super-annoying, optimistic people who are grateful for the little things daily. I take way too much time to smell the roses (more like photographing them). Perhaps this is why I can deal with the pandemic a bit better than the masses.

I don’t mind being stuck at home because a lot of my hobbies can take place at home – reading, watching films, listening to records and crafting. Also, two of my favorite things – my husband and my dog, are at home as well! I just paid my husband the highest accolade by saying there is no one else I would rather love spending a pandemic quarantine with than him. Take that Hallmark!

However, the weather is not making it easy to stay home during the pandemic. I realize this is April showers time, so I should expect gray days and rain. But boy, could we get some sun?! We were able to take advantage of the last sunny day. We cleaned and opened up the patio and maybe next time we can turn the dirt over in the garden and plant some seeds. I am eager to just sit on the patio at breakfast with my morning coffee and a journal. 

Falling asleep has become a challenge because I am not at work. Most days at work, I am running up and down stairs, walking to and from two buildings and lifting 50-pound bins. It is like an extra workout. I guess that really does tire me out by the end of the day. Never did realize that! It makes me think that my next blog post should be a list of how to create and stay in a routine during the pandemic. Might just do that!

Reading has become a challenge because I can’t quite concentrate. I thought that through the pandemic I would be very efficient. I might be cleaning the house or the attic. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. I was texting with my aunt from California and she commented on that exact topic. She feels the same way as I do. She isn’t getting anything done either! I am lacking my normal drive and incentives.

For now, we are resting, doing some research on Ancestry.com and hoping to surprise a family member with drive-by birthday wishes. That will be the highlight of this Sunday at home! 

The New Normal

Here it is. Here is my new normal. I work in a public library, but right now, I am working from home. On Friday, March 13th, we closed the library per our local government because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Isn’t that date appropriate? We are still closed today and what looks like most of April. 

I used to spend my days working on our website, scheduling and posting on our social media and designing and distributing print materials. I also work with the public, A LOT. I help them during tech sessions, or help them find the right book, or just greet them and answer their questions. It is hands-down, the best job I have ever had. I do what I do for the people, or as we call them, patrons. I love being with them. I love exchanging opinions on good books (or bad ones). I especially love helping put patrons at ease when they need tech help or general information. It is a privilege.

So now what? Now, I work from home. I am by myself. Sounds great, right? Showing up to “work” in yoga pants and a hoodie while sipping coffee and listening to music. Sounds amazing right? Wrong. The silence is deafening, even with the music on. I feel like someone opened a trap door and I have fallen to the bottom of the ladder. I sit at home and have to plan how to reinvent my job. How do I reach people from my home? How can I help them? 

Before that though, I had to undo all my hard work. I had to undo all the social media posts I schedule ahead of time. Think about 20 library events times 3 social media accounts times 3 different time slots for advertising every week. I can’t even do the math. It took two of us to take it all down. It was sad. 

Then, the emails started pouring in. E-mails from patrons wanting to know about due dates, expired card renewals, why we locked the book drop or how they can download e-Books. Then e-mails from the administration with updates about from local government and what staff can do about their lost hours. Then librarians across the world emailing ideas and resources faster than I can even read them. 

I wanted to slam the top of my laptop cover and run away. It felt like having little fires everywhere and not being able to put them out. Keep calm and carry on. Deep breath. Then something awesome happened. My heroes, librarians, swooped in to save the day. My co-workers started sending in ideas on how to stay in touch with patrons – Google Voice, chats, fun social media posts. I started a tech hotline using Google Voice so patrons could call in – and boy did they!! Some called in with quick questions and others were on the line with me for 50 minutes trying to download e-Books. One of our Board members started a Youtube channel and challenged friends to offer free story-times online. And yes, I contributed! And tonight I will be hosting my second online book discussion using Zoom.

So now what? Well, I am taking it one day at a time. I am receiving texts and e-mails (even phone calls) from patrons with kind words and well wishes. They comment on how much they miss the library but appreciate all the work we are doing behind the scenes. It makes this difficult time much more bearable. Thank goodness for that.

Until then, I have to put on a nice shirt and some makeup so I look presentable for the book discussion tonight. I have to try and get the dog to stop barking and slobbering on my face and make sure my husband isn’t joking around in the background while I sign into work. What a world. WHAT A WORLD!!