Work in the Time of Corona: Meghan Bryant, Frances Lightfoot Robb Public Services & Instruction Archivist

Posted on
May 1, 2020
By Meghan Bryant - Frances Lightfoot Robb Head of Special Collections Public Services & Instruction


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: Meghan Bryant

Title: Frances Lightfoot Robb Public Services & Instruction Archivist

Department: Special Collections

How has your work changed during the pandemic? tiny baby hand in mama's hand

My access to special collections materials is now limited to only those things that have been digitized and are accessible online – and that’s a very small fraction of our collections! My work, which entails a lot of face-to-face and often impromptu interactions, is now entirely virtual. I will be happy to get back to interacting with patrons, faculty, students, staff, and donors in person! And I’m working while caring for my family.

What are your challenges? 

Being present for my kids and giving time to my remote work is a daily challenge. I find the balance much easier when the sun is shining, because my son can play outside, my baby is enchanted by the sights and sounds, our dog is happy, and I can work outside on our deck. The cold, gray, cloudy days are hardest for me because we all go a little stir-crazy!

What has surprised you? 

How much I took silence for granted. Being home with a 4-year old and 7-month old all day, every day, means that any moments of solitude are very few and far between. It’s fun, overwhelming, tiring, and precious all at once.

little boy and a baby doing some tummy timeWhat do you miss most about being in the library? 

I miss our student employees! I get to see some of them via Zoom tomorrow and I’m really looking forward to that. They add a lot of joy and laughter to my workdays. I also miss my office in the SCRC. Not having that designated workspace has shown me how much I value my office and how much it contributes to my productivity.

Anything else you’d like to share: This experience, though challenging, has given me the very sweet chance to watch my children grow during a time in their lives when they develop so, so quickly. It also has given them more time together to interact, and they have such a sweet, special bond, so that has been a joy to experience. When I feel down, worried, fretful, and overwhelmed by the pandemic and all the adjustments it has entailed, I savor this facet. It really is a silver lining, and I like to try to focus on those.