Librarian providing remote services

From Anna Karwowski ’14

I am the youth services lead at the McHenry Public Library in McHenry, Ill. My team and I have jumped into virtual programming with both feet, developing database tutorials, storytimes, crafts and more on both Zoom and our YouTube page. We are also working hard to transition our summer reading onto Beanstack, an online platform that allows patrons to log minutes read with incentives like gift card drawings and a free book from the Friends of the Library. As the school liaison, I am in direct communication with area teachers and librarians and forwarding them information about services such as our temporary e-library card, our emergency food service during closure, and more. To see what else we are doing, follow us on Facebook or check out our YouTube page.

And, on a personal note, I have sewed about 25 masks for friends and family who need them and have more requests for masks incoming!

If you give a librarian a ukulele …

From Amy Schardein ’98

I’m a children’s librarian in Covington, Kentucky, just across the river from Cincinnati. While the library is closed, we are programming on social media. I’m doing storytime on Facebook Live three times a week.

I was surprised at how emotional I felt during the first session. There were the names of families I know and see weekly plus many more, and then so many more from the wider community. I found I was nervous and relieved that my hands knew how to play the ukulele through nerves I have not felt doing storytime for years.

After the first session, parents sent photos of their children watching–some are gleeful but most seem to be comforted—calmed by some familiarity. Parents are watching even when their kids are not. Distant family members are tuning in.

Storytime has always been my strongest skill at work. I get to use all of my teaching skills while implementing the improv skills I learned with my friends in college. Now, I’m realizing what a touchstone it is for me. Three times a week, in between homeschooling the children and caring for our home, I make myself decent and make my community feel a little better. I’m also making myself feel better.

You can find my storytimes at the Kenton County Public Library Facebook page.

One good deed a day

From Topper Steinman ’70

During this unprecedented challenging COVID-19 crisis, I am hoping (and mostly succeeding) in doing one extra good deed a day. Lots of time on my hands.

Some small accomplishments thus far: Giving blood, writing a note of affirmation to someone about something, Zoom chat re: volunteer opps in our community, staying inside, notes/funnies to 4 grandkids (ages 18, 13, 5 and 2), keeping six-foot space when grocery shopping (and eyeballing those who don’t), sending positive messages/articles in our newspaper to others I know, phone calls to folks in need – to name a few.

I am failing in the “bugging my wife less than normal” category. Recent conversation:

Me: “I miss my freedom.”

My Wife: “I miss your freedom, too.”

And such goes the strains of living in a different world now. Best to All at Knox – and those like us who were “reached and touched” by Knox back in the day. Thanks for this unique outreach to us. To all: Stay safe and healthy!

Brings back WWII memories

From Bob Willett ’50

My wife entered Memory Care at Brennity in Melbourne, Fla., on January 10. On March 13, they went on lockdown, so we have not seen her since. But everyday we take something to her and to others with her such as letters, notes, flowers, some candy and games, puzzles, etc. And every few days we get to see her on a video-telephoning system.

My oldest daughter still delivers Meals on Wheels while youngest daughter got home on the March 8 from Ethiopia where she was on a humanitarian mission with Mercy Corps. She is distributing cards to shut ins now. It is a terrible time that really parallels WWII in the minds of those of us in that war.

Providing Human Breast Milk to Infants

From Maddie Mondeaux ’15

I work at the Northwest Mothers Milk Bank, a non-profit organization that collects donated human breast milk, pasteurized it, and then distributes it to medically fragile infants in the Pacific Northwest. Demand for milk has increased significantly since the onset of COVID-19 due to formula shortages and overcrowded hospitals.