These past few months have been very strange, indeed, as we’ve adapted to staying apart but working together on library projects virtually. One of the ways the staff of DeKalb Library has been able to feel connected is through having virtual meetings with our colleagues on Zoom and nurturing the friendships that are very strong in the branch. In between talking about important library matters, we’ve found ways to talk about what we’re reading, watching and listening to, and the other ways we’ve been trying to take care of ourselves and feel "normal".
Some of us find that we’re reading more than usual, while some find we haven’t been reading much at all. For both me and Molloy (the children’s librarian), reading has been an extremely welcome escape. I think I’ve read something like 30 books since the library closed, everything from YA novels to mysteries, to a couple of history books I’d been meaning to tackle for a while. Some of my favorites have been With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo, about a teen single mother who loves to cook, and Brainiac, by Ken Jennings, about trivia and his success on Jeopardy!
“It’s like ‘Calgon, take me away!’” says Molloy, of the solace she finds in books. She recommends The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin.
Roger, our senior librarian, has rediscovered Upton Sinclair, the author of The Jungle. After talking to a friend, Roger started reading Sinclair’s Lanny Budd series. He recently finished reading Dragon’s Teeth and says “Sinclair is a wonderful, engaging writer with a razor-sharp wit and eloquent vocabulary,” and he plans to read more.
Venus, our children’s specialist, has been finding comfort from reading her Bible and from daily meditations, as well as from authors like Iyanala Van Zant. Francisco, one of our technology specialists, has been reading all kinds of comics, and enjoying science fiction and adventure offerings on Netflix. He’s caught up on Stranger Things and recommends The Umbrella Academy and Lost in Space.
Some of us have been drawn to good music because it’s nice to have it on in the background when you’re getting work done, baking bread, or just need some time to get away from the news.
Here’s just some of the tunes that’s been keeping our spirits lifted.
From Tom, our supervising librarian:
- “Sittin’ On the Dock of the Bay,” by Otis Redding
- “On the Sunny Side of the Street” by Billie Holiday
- “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo'Ole
Roger, our senior librarian, says these are some of his favorites:
- “Girl, You Need a Change of Mind” by Eddie Kendricks
- “Not the Lovin’ Kind” by Buffy Sainte Marie
- “Workin’ Together” by Ike & Tina Turner
- “Upstairs by a Chinese Lamp” by Laura Nyro
And here are some of my picks:
- “You Are Not Alone” by Mavis Staples
- “Danger Zone/Bluegrass Jam” by Love Canon
- “Goodbye Miss Goodavitch/Rosie’s Reel” by Lunasa
Of course, it hasn’t all been about books and music.
LeAndre Peoples tells us that playing board games has helped him connect with his teenager, as they take a break from work and schoolwork respectively. And Sharon Palmer, our regional manager, has found that cooking is a way for her to relax and refocus, and sharing recipes has been a way for her to stay connected to friends that she has not been able to seeduring quarantine. One of the things Sharon has discovered is cauliflower: she found recipes to transform it into fried “rice” or swap it for potatoes in potato salad, and she now declares the superfood vegetable her “new best friend.”
One thing is clear as we navigate the changes that the pandemic has brought into our lives: there’s no right or wrong way to get through it. Whatever has helped you during quarantine is a great resource. Stay safe and be good to yourselves and each other.
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