Work in the Time of Corona: Anne Johnson, SCRC Assistant

Posted on
May 4, 2020


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:  Anne Johnson

Title:  Special Collections Assistant

Department:  Special Collections Research Center

How has your work changed during the pandemic?

In Special Collections, my job is a mix of patrons, students, co-workers, collections and computer work.  Every hour is different, which I love.   

Now, my new daily routine is only computer work. I am lucky to have a few choices when I sit down at my Dining Room table desk - update our database, ArchivesSpace (which needs to be fine-tuned after migrating from Archon), review and clean up our student assistants’ files from past years, add individual map descriptions to our database from notes made many years ago, and review our libguides. Variety is nice! And once these projects are completed (ha!), I plan to process my Father’s papers which I am donating to Special Collections. He died in 2017 at the age of 102 and his letters, diaries and papers cover the Chicago World’s Fair, World War II, the Korean War and life in Virginia as a tobacco buyer.

What are your challenges? a garden with a black and white cat lounging

My challenge is maintaining a daily schedule. I love to garden, so the pull is pretty strong on the beautiful days! But I’m a late night person, so I sometimes work after the sun goes down.

What has surprised you?

Every morning when I wake up, I am re-surprised by our new reality.

What do you miss most about being in the library?

I love working with patrons, my co-workers and especially the students.  I miss them all. I’ve broken my rule not to friend our students on FB until they graduate, so have kept in touch with many of them.  

Anything else you’d like to share:

As a friend recently commented, “to all my extrovert friends, welcome to my happy place!” I agree. I love to read, garden and paint, so I’m never bored. Lonely for community, but not going too crazy – though my husband just might disagree!