By Saara Itkonen, chief librarian at the Creston Public Library
Thank goodness it’s spring. We’ve all come through a dark, pandemic winter and the longer, lighter days and fragrant blossoms are very much a welcome reprieve from the winter darkness inside and outside.
However, even with vaccinations slowly rolling out, we’re still stuck with social distancing, bubbles and the isolation that COVID has made normal to us all. As a result, everyone’s irritation seems to be showing at the library. I’ve spent the last few weeks in a low-energy fog; feeling numb and unmotivated at work and at home. It seems my staff have felt the same and we’ve certainly been seeing more grouchy patrons walk through our doors.
We absolutely understand that you’re stressed out. Living through a prolonged crisis can leave you feeling blue or angry at the world but we must ask you kindly to please refrain from taking it out on your local library workers. We’re struggling too, and yet, we still show up to serve you despite how we’re feeling inside.
In an effort to cheer ourselves up, we’ve decided to focus on something positive. We’re taking a moment to reflect on our collective pandemic experience by teaming up with the Creston Museum to create a digital COVID collection. We’re calling it “COVID in Creston – A Time Capsule”, and we’re asking you to share photos, audio files, music, and videos, to answer this question:
“What are you most proud of accomplishing/creating/enduring during the COVID-19 pandemic?”
Perhaps it’s something you’ve created, someone you’ve taken care of, a new routine you’ve established, or simply just surviving our strange new day-to-day during this difficult time. Whatever it is, we’d love to see it, preserve it for the future, and share it with our community. Certainly, we’ve all found new ways of coping, and the library and museum want to hear about it.
Part of the inspiration for this is that I’ve been thinking a lot about the Spanish Flu pandemic from 100 years ago and how writers, journalists, and historians have all looked back to glean some wisdom with how to get through COVID. It’s been especially interesting for me, lately, to look at how the world changed after the Spanish Flu. And I wonder how our world will change too after COVID. I think of historians looking back at our digital collections to learn how we coped during this time and I hope it gives them some wisdom for their circumstances.
So please submit your creations, thoughts, and experiences to our time capsule project. If you have difficulty navigating digital spaces or creating digital files, let the library know by phone at 250-428-4141 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll try to help you with your COVID collection submission.
And yes, there will be prizes too! Everyone that submits an item for our digital collection will be entered into a draw for new books! Because, of course, the library will never waste an opportunity to support you in your reading habits.