Libraries practiced ‘radical gratitude’ in 2020
It’s easy to be grateful for the things that make us happy. Can we also be grateful for the darkness in our lives?
“Radical gratitude” acknowledges that pain and struggle often usher in special gifts, or at least lend richer color to that great experience we call “life.” If there’s one thing we need in COVID-19, it’s the ability not only to see past our current difficulties, but also to appreciate the lessons we’ve learned in the process.
At the libraries, we’ve been as frustrated by 2020 as everyone else. Still, we can be grateful for the lessons learned and small blessings that have arisen from a harrowing time.
We’re grateful for our county IT department, who put in crazy hours to make sure everyone had the tools they needed to work remotely this past spring. Because of their efforts, we were able to continue answering phones and assisting people from home. Thanks to our IT department’s foresight, we were already using new software before COVID hit our area, easing the shift to virtual communication, collaboration, meetings and more.
We’re grateful for the opportunity to offer higher quality services. During a period when we could not loan physical materials this past spring, we diverted the time we would normally spend scanning books into staff training instead. As community educators, it’s vital that we keep up our skills so we can assist everyone who comes with a need or question. We’re more prepared to do that now than ever before.
We’re grateful for the sobering reminder that technology and internet access are no longer luxuries, but rather necessary tools for performing work and maintaining connections in a digital age – especially during COVID-19. Libraries are vital resources for leveling the playing field, offering free Internet access and technology instruction. We’re grateful for CARES Act funding that allowed us to expand our 24/7 WiFi access outside our buildings, as well as purchase new laptops that we can loan curbside to anyone who has no device of their own.
We’re grateful for the opportunity to be creative. Through our determined staff and helpful partners, we’ve been able to adapt nearly all library services to virtual and curbside models. If you genuinely need something that libraries provide, we’re 99 percent sure we can find a way to get it for you. It might not be packaged exactly the way everyone wants it, but we’ll get the job done. In many cases, we’ve found that people like our current model even better than the old one! Our quick-and-easy curbside pickup has been so popular, we may continue it post-pandemic.
We’re grateful for each person we interact with in-person curbside, on the phone, via email, or on Zoom. You’re the reason we exist, and the bright spot in our day. We’re grateful to hear how much our services mean to you, and we’re honored to provide them.
We’re grateful that COVID-19 reminded us of how much we care about our community. We’re so grateful that we’re able to serve you.
Botetourt County Libraries