Week 49: Perseverance

In the midst of a difficult week filled with news of the disastrous weather conditions in Texas and the difficulties with signing up and locating vaccine appointments in our own state, there was some exciting news too. On Thursday, NASA’s land rover Perseverance landed on Mars. You may ask why all the cheers and attention being paid to this particular event? Throughout the ages, humans have had a fascination about Mars and the possibility of life on that planet. If you are of a certain age, you might remember the popular TV show “My Favorite Martian.” Most recently, the 2015 Scott Ridley movie “The Martian” based on Andy Weir’s best seller with the same name featuring Matt Damon may have caught your attention. While there is much speculation surrounding why we are so fascinated with Mars, that is not what I wanted to talk about in this message.

Rather, the name of the land rover “Perseverance” struck me this week. According to Webster’s dictionary perseverance is the “continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition; the action or condition or an instance of persevering.” While it is important in the context of the NASA mission to Mars with its delays, and fits and starts, the word perseverance resonates with me with respect to what we are doing at Countway for our community of users during these long, difficult months.

Despite the nearly year-long struggles we have all faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, we persevere in our personal life and in our library work. With respect to Countway, there are numerous examples of perseverance. We safely completed a complex construction project and re-opened the library with many new health and safety protocols and a variety of study spaces for our students who have returned to campus. We continue to work with administrators and the Business Continuity Task Force to identify the various student communities who are deemed eligible to use the library and provide them a safe space to study. We plod along examining the collection, piece by piece, object by object, for the BML inventory project. We continue to provide high quality information, research, and instruction services and resources remotely despite challenges with home internet access or laptop or other equipment failures. We creatively provide access to print and historical collections through grab and go and/or digitization services. We have an up-to-date Countway wide plan with yearly goals and objectives that link to the mission of the three schools we serve. Finally, we will soon be unveiling our library diversity plan. There is much to be proud of during this challenging time.

Countway library staff have a commitment to providing the Longwood Medical Area community access to quality health information and a safe study space. We have plans and we have purpose. While we may not be able to execute our plans in the original manner in which we may have hoped, and while we may have to take some pauses and experience delays in timetables or take two steps back and one step forward, we persevere.