Back to the Library

When the Library Director told me to start working from home—March 11th—I never expected to still be working from home now—August 11th.  I had no idea what we were dealing with, I guess, what we were in for.  I figured I’d probably just be home for the remainder of the Spring semester…but then summer came and I was still there…and now Fall semester is calling.  

Hanging with the potatoes and tomatoes.  8/5/2020

I started coming into the library one day a week—Thursdays—on April 23rd.  The doors were still locked.  The lights were still off.  I was the only one there so I could blast my tunes as I plowed through a mountain of work that couldn’t translate to the remote work environment.

Last Tuesday—August 4th—I started going back to the library, half days, along with most of my library colleagues. Next week—August 17th—I’ll resume full working days there.  

I love my "office" being the backyard.  My lap is even big enough for both cat and laptop.  8/10/2020

We're still closed to users (except by appointment) as we get caught up with a variety of backlogged library things, as well as somewhat frantically preparing the library space to resume occupancy—measuring and moving furniture, having Plexiglas and other barriers installed, removing excess computers and chairs, setting up hand sanitizer and wipe stations…and on and on and on.  There are so many things to think about and plan for.  Classes start in 20 days.  Students are already trickling back to campus.

Johnny follows me around the house and posts up in whatever chair is most convenient for me to pet her while I work.  8/3/2020

Friends and family keep asking how I feel about the end of working from home, reopening the library, the fall semester, etc. 

It is a mixed bag, of course.   It is certainly easier to do many facets of my job from my office, so that will be nice.  I miss the students, particularly the dozen or so that work for me in the library.  I love watching them mature, grow, learn.  Plus, I know how important every penny is to the average college student and I’m glad I can put them back to work, if they so desire.  I enjoy the daily social engagement with an interesting and diverse crowd and I have sure been short of “other people” these past months at home.  

Mostly though, I feel like I am waking up from a pandemic hibernation period.   And I don’t think I like it, overall.  

Grilling with Matt.  We have a grand ol' time together regardless of what's going on in the rest of the world.  8/6/2020

Hibernation was so much easier.  I still missed my “real life,” but since that isn’t available the substitute was pleasant and simple.

I didn’t have to wash and sanitize my hands “all the time.” I didn’t have to wipe down “frequently touched” surfaces and objects.   I almost never had to wear a mask, except on rare occasions like donating blood.  On an average day, the only person I saw was Matt.  I watched my county’s (and state’s) numbers rise (and fall... and then rise again dramatically), but felt personally quite secure at home.  It was easy to control my environment.  

Boy!  Is all that about the change!

Working on interlibrary loans by the flowers, basking in the sunshine!  8/10/2020

It feels like I am about to enter “the real world” that so many—maybe most—people I know have been navigating for months already.  I am a stranger in a strange land, a newbie in a world of pros.  Matt encouraged me every day last week when I returned from the library worn down with all the logistics of re-opening and getting classes up and rolling again.  I know how adaptable I am and that, like everyone else, I’ll “get used to it,” to the “new normal,” as they say.  (ugh.)

I know I will.  I just don’t want to.  Instead, I just want to go back to (metaphorical) sleep again until it’s all over.  I realize that’s neither fair nor realistic, but that's how I feel.  Oh well.  Ready or not, here I come!

Ginger insists that JD lick her head every single day.  Then she usually give Johnny the left hook to let her know the grooming session is over.  8/6/2020

I haven't broke the news to Ginger and Johnny yet.  They're gonna be bummed I'm not there to hang with every day...

Update 8/14/2020:  My full-time start date got pushed back to the 24th.  The cats get a slight reprieve!


  1. Hi Beth,
    ...I have also felt pretty safe at home...even going to the grocery store now seems really strange...I hope your transition is pleasant and safe...
    ~Have a lovley day!

    1. Aren't we blessed with safe and happy homes?!?! I am so thankful. I keep trying to remind myself of that.

      And thanks for the well-wishes! Fingers-crossed it all goes well. As well as possible.

  2. I don't need to return to a job, so I bet it feels super-weird. I kinda liked the hibernation, although mine was noisy because my people were HERE ALL THE TIME. And now my kids have online school, so they're still here. We are so grateful our library has opened up!! Nothing like real books, even though the strange silence and barriers in the library is a little unnerving.

    1. "Strange" and "a little unnerving" seem very apt words to describe quite a lot of things/places right now. Oh my....what a world.

      Best of luck with the online schooling! And a second helping of luck and wellwishes for keeping everyone happy, healthy, and sane when you're all together ALL THE TIME! I can tell you are a woman who loves her family wholeheartedly--and they're a wonderful bunch--but all that uber close contact could frazzle even the most saintlike, I bet. <3

      All things considered, my first full day back went really well. I've missed my library and its users! I'm gonna miss all that time at home and working from the patio table though, for sure.

  3. Your library sounds very different from mine, Beth! I would have almost nothing I'd be able to do at home, and I didn't mind going to work, anyway. I'm grateful we never closed, because so many librarians in the state were so fearful about going back, and we never got shut down. We also did curbside starting in April, so we were able to be accessible. But even though we've been open over a month, it's pretty quiet in there most of the time. I suppose many still don't realize we're open, and I'm sure many are being cautious. But, yeah - I also enjoy the home life. :)

    1. It was a madhouse in here yesterday--the first day of school. I haven't been around this many people since March!

      I always find it so fascinating how different libraries operate differently. Its cool and it makes sense to me since we all serve so many different types of users/people/communities. I'm glad you're enjoying a quiet reopening.

      The cats are pretty dang happy to see me when I hit the door after work.


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