Reflection on waterMay 27, 2020
Thomas Cleary, Archivist, Library

Overall, the “Great Pause” has been both good and bad for me.  I have a very long commute, so having those hours back has been a huge plus.  Also, being able to do my administrative and technical work from home is very pleasant.  I’m an archivist, so seeing history literally unfold while being able to document people’s experience of the pandemic is pretty exciting

What I do struggle with is figuring out how to work without the regular structure of being at work, especially when all the days blend together.  On an administrative side, my days have either been very involved with grant writing and helping students or sitting and editing excel sheets. The on-again/off-again seems more chaotic than normal; the intense times seem more intense, and the down times feel even more like there’s nothing to do.

I’m also definitely missing being at the library reference desk for the regular interactions with students.  While the library’s chat services are up, the experience just feels lacking. I think we are losing the students who would normally stop by simply because they see us at the desk. The Library’s emails and outreach efforts seem to have helped, but there’s still the feeling that something is missing.

Even the classes for library instruction have seemed a bit off, with only half the class actually attending, though with more questions than they would normally ask, which is definitely positive.  One-to-one sessions have helped me feel that I’m doing my normal job, and I’m beginning to think maybe we should include these as an option for the future.

I’m really interested to see what library instruction looks like in the fall, since it’ll probably be remote.  We’ve lost a lot of instruction sessions this semester; emails got lost, or professors weren’t able to accommodate the sessions into their new online formats. My hope is that structures will be a bit clearer in the fall, once everyone is more settled.


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