Work in the Time of Corona: Carolyn Wilson, SCRC Research Assistant

By Carolyn Wilson - Special Collections Research Center Assistant


Our library staff members are chronicling their experiences living through a pandemic. If you keep a daily journal of your experience, consider donating it to Swem’s Special Collections when the crisis has passed.

Two pictures of cats with computers - one labeled Junior management and the other Senior management

Name: Carolyn Wilson

Title: Special Collections Research Center Assistant

Department: Special Collections Research Center, William & Mary Libraries

How has your work changed during the pandemic? 

You know that list of things that should be done, but you can’t get them done because there is never enough time? That’s what I’m doing. In a nutshell, I’ve gone from a patron-driven, planned (albeit unpredictable) day, to a rather routine, laptop-dominated, cat-infused environment.

What are your challenges?

My husband is also teleworking, and he is a morning person. I am, um, adjusting. My other office mates, the felines in my life, are willing to forgo sleeping all day to support my efforts. My computer has been turned off, my pencils, post-its, and ear buds have been knocked off the table, and I have to keep opening and closing the door to let them in and out and in and out and in and out.

Student worker, Gabriela Montesdeoca, working with moldy papers at a huge Xerox machine
Gabriela Montesdeoca working with moldy papers at a huge Xerox machine

What has surprised you? 

1. I miss access to a fully operational, industrial-sized copy/scan/print Xerox machine. Who would have thought that behemoth that I curse on a daily basis would be missed.

2. My husband asked me to dance during a stretch break.

3. I wish I had a vending machine to get a Snickers bar when I really need it.

What do you miss most about being in the library? 

The introverted side of me can do without people for a bit, but my extroverted side is soaking up any meetings/messages/photos of my favorite people. I miss the various personalities that make up our team, the humor, the daily quips, the personal connections. I also miss the beginning and an end to a work day without the home ‘to do” pressures surrounding me on a daily basis.  Yesterday I participated in Georgie Donovan’s brilliant Relax & Play yoga with a pile of laundry in need of folding behind me. My greatest challenge was focusing on the moment and not the pile of unorganized, demanding, mundane home chore screaming for attention. My body felt so much better from the exercise, and the laundry is still there. I call that a win.

A "looming" pile of laundry.
The laundry in question

Anything else you’d like to share:

I so miss our student employees. They are always there to help me, to make my day run more effectively, and to brighten my day. Now I’m on my own, and the synergistic energy of that part of the team is sorely missed.