Work in the Time of Corona: Jessica Ramey, Instruction & Research Librarian
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.
Name: Jessica Ramey
Title: Instruction & Research Librarian
Department: Research Services
How has your work changed during the pandemic?
I think the work I’m doing these days is still fairly consistent with the work I was doing before the time of COVID 19. The way that work is done looks different. I’m still communicating with the faculty in my departments and offering students research assistance (virtually). I’m still keeping up on my own professional areas of interest—especially how they are presently affected by this crisis.
What are your challenges?
Oh my, this list feels long, but also trivial. I’d say the biggest and most obvious challenge is working from home with my three-year-old daughter, Mara. It’s been a challenge to balance her needs with my responsibilities at the library. Bathroom breaks, snack times, and learning activities are all now a part of my daily routine. And, I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a potentially unhealthy dose of Sesame Street and Frozen in there too. But, the truth is, I count myself beyond lucky that I am home with my child, in a safe environment, and still able to work.
The other big challenge I’m experiencing is same challenge we are all experiencing—life in isolation. Even under the best circumstances it goes against the human experience and functioning in spite of it is a lot of work.
What has surprised you? AND What do you miss most about being in the library?
I’ve come to the realization that I’m actually an extrovert, an idea that I’ve never before considered. The thing I love most about my job is interacting with people. I love chatting with my colleagues in the hallways, I love hearing about the research students are doing during appointments, and I love talking faculty in preparation for a class session. I consider myself a really open person, I find so much joy in sharing the minutia of my life and regaling colleagues with stores of my somewhat unconventional extended family. Some of that still happens virtually, but I am really missing that in-person connection.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I’ve been incredibly proud and impressed by the way W&M and W&M Libraries have responded to this crisis. I’m seeing so much on social media from other working moms about the struggles they are facing. Here, I am finding so much compassion and assistance and I really value that. It has also made me feel valued and respected in a time when everything feels uncertain, hard to ask for more than that.