Dispatches from our volunteers, pt. 5

Hi ArLiSNAPpers, and welome back to our recurring COVID-19 series.

Given that all of us are living in an unprecedented situation in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we thought we’d change up our blog posts to let you hear from our volunteers. You all know that we like to provide pertinent job hunting and career advice, but we are also here for that gentle content during these stressful times!

All of us are students and new professionals, so our work, school, and home lives are in a constant state of change, and we are all in various stages of social distancing, quarantining, or generally working from home (whatever that means). In the interest of connecting with each other and connecting with all of you, I prepared a few questions for our volunteers to answer about their COVID-19 sitch!

Every Wednesday and Friday, you’ll hear from two to three of our volunteers about their WFH set up with corresponding content on our Instagram! We’ll be showing you our home offices and workspaces á la Cribs so that you can see where the real magic happens.

Stay well, and remember: turn the page, wash your hands,

Michele Jennings
2018-2020 ArLiSNAP Co-Moderator

Check out the rest of our volunteer’s COVID-19 dispatches:
Part one.
Part two.
Part three.
Part four.


Jackie Fleming (communications liaison)

Describe your current learning/working situation in 5 words: Temporary, spacious, spread-out, podcasts, coffee (I realize that the last two aren’t adjectives. Sorry I had trouble thinking of five)!

What’s been the biggest challenge?: Separating my own anxiety about COVID-19 from work related duties. We are all doing the best that we can but, the quick changes to my work environment have made separating my own anxiety from work related duties challenging.

Have there been any unexpected issues or opportunities that have come out of this?: As a Visual Literacy and Resources Librarian, I am really interested in data visualization. All of the research about COVID-19 has given me the opportunity to learn more about data visualization and opened the door to research interests related to public health. I am currently looking into academic libraries responses to the virus, and ways that libraries can help patrons become more data literate with all of the COVID-19 maps and data visualizations that are being published on the web. Well the global situation is bad right now, it feels really good to be in a position to help people learn and grow as consumers of information.

Name one non-work related activity you’ve been able to get to that you otherwise might not have?: Quilting! I just learned how to sew and bought a Singer sewing machine from Facebook marketplace. I am working on finishing my first quilt right now.


Meg Milewski (chapter liaison)

Describe your current learning/working situation in five words: Zoom is not so bad?

What’s been the biggest challenge?: I work in Special Collections, and our work is entirely based around collections that cannot leave the Reading Room let alone the library proper. Fortunately, I have some legacy finding aid conversion that is keeping me busy over in ArchivesSpace! 

Have there been any unexpected issues or opportunities that have come of this? The opportunities that have come from working remotely are definitely the biggest upside to this situation. I have had a cosmetics re-creation project on the backburner for nearly a year now; the premise of the project is to re-create cosmetic/toilet recipes from 18th & 19th century cookbooks in Special Collections’ Janice Bluestein Longone Culinary Archive. I finally have time to do this, which is so exciting. I am also piloting a project called #CrossStitchOurCollections, which is meant to be adjacent to the more famous #ColorOurCollections that many libraries have participated in for years now. This project is providing patterns from books in our collections & encouraging folks to try them themselves. The hope for #CrossStitchOurCollections is that folks will engage with these historic resources & share their work while also picking up a new hobby! These projects & more can be found on our blog, Beyond The Reading Room!

Name one non-work related activity you’ve been able to get to that you otherwise might not have?: Beyond the standard walking my dog & spending tons of time with her during the day, I’m able to read for fun again & also play some of my video games (any Animal Crossing fans out there?)!

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