Week 54: Hope, Apprehension and Appreciation

Saturday March 20th was the official first day of Spring. As I walk around the city, I see signs of spring—green buds on trees, daffodils, crocuses and tulips starting to sprout. The evening of Saturday March 27th will mark the beginning of Passover, which ends the evening of April 4th and Easter will occur on Sunday, April 4th. On April 19th, anyone in Massachusetts older than 16 will be eligible for a Covid-19 vaccination at one of the Commonwealth’s vaccination sites. As we celebrate these days, we are reminded of signs of hope, new beginnings, and better days to come.


At the same time, we are apprehensive. We remember and grieve for the thousands of lives lost during the past year, jobs lost, holidays not celebrated, the loneliness of isolation, the continued violence against People of Color, and more. The past year was traumatic for everyone, and it is natural for us to remain concerned as we enter new phases of reopening in the state and on Harvard campuses. We know we must remain vigilant (continue to wear a mask, stand a part and wash our hands) as well as hopeful as we move into year two of the pandemic.


At the Joint Library Committee meeting held on zoom this past Wednesday, March 23rd, I had the opportunity to present the same talk I gave at the NEASIST meeting and provided to you as a recording in last week’s message. I was able (in greater detail) to outline the tremendous amount of work that all Countway staff have accomplished, this time to administrators of HMS and the BML and the Harvard Library. The accomplishments highlighted the construction, the BML inventory, the innovative ways we offered research, instruction and educational services, the digitization of special collections in order to make print materials available to users in electronic format, grab and go, electronic access to research and educational materials, and finally to opening our space to student study. All of these examples and more are truly remarkable achievements during the most difficult of times and were not lost on the audience. Many times, during the meeting the committee expressed their deep appreciation for the efforts you have made to support the education, research and community-based missions of the Longwood Medical area faculty, staff and students and also conveyed their gratitude for your continued diligent progress on the BML inventory project. Because of you, we continue to meet our legal obligations related to the BML; clinical faculty receive evidence-based, quality information to treat their patients; graduate students continue to receive items needed for theses, papers, and dissertations so they could graduate on time; our medical, dental and public health students have materials in Canvas to supplement their online classes; researchers receive current and historical articles they needed to submit their grants; and now students have a safe, comfortable, place to study. On behalf of myself and the Joint Library Committee, I want to say thank you for all you have done and continue to do during this most difficult and challenging time.


Happy Spring! Happy Passover! Happy Easter! To new beginnings.