Skip Navigation
Falvey Memorial Library
Advanced
You are exploring: Home > Blogs

Looking Back at 2020 and Continuing to Work Towards a Better 2021

December 21 image

 

By Regina Duffy

There is no denying it: 2020 has been difficult in so many ways. Even Time Magazine agrees. The cover of their December 14 issue boldly states that 2020 is “The Worst Year Ever.” It is hard to argue with that logic. With a worldwide pandemic, the contentious U.S. Presidential Election, as well as other national crises coming to a head, including social and racial justice issues, the unstable economy, and environmental problems, it has been beyond challenging.

The year has affected everyone in some way. If we take the time to reflect on the events of 2020, it can be hard to imagine a better 2021, but I think we should still be hopeful.

Looking for a bit of inspiration, in preparation for this blog I asked the Falvey staff to send “…thoughts about how we all persevered this difficult period and any positive wishes/words of encouragement for the Villanova community as we head into 2021.” When I look back at this, it is a hard task indeed. Did anything good come from 2020? What, if any, positives can we take from this year to make next year and the years that follow better for all?

I got a few responses from staff.

Demian Katz, Director of Library Technology, wrote that “2020 has been an incredibly challenging and exhausting year, but I am optimistic that some of the lessons we’ve learned will continue to benefit us in the future, even after the pandemic subsides. We have all been forced to come up with new strategies for communicating and meeting, and I think some of these things will actually help us to be more efficient and to stay more closely connected in the long term.”

Beaudry Allen, Preservation and Digital Archivist, shared that “…my hope for 2021 is the Villanova community continues to examine and confront the issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus. That the Aequitas: The Presidential Task Force on Race brings forth meaningful changes for all members of the Villanova community.”

Sarah Wingo, English Literature, Theatre, and Romance Languages and Literature Librarian said, “I really don’t have anything to say about perseverance because honestly I think that narrative puts a big shiny bow on a pile of garbage. This year has been hard, it continues to be hard, and the holidays will be hard as many of us will not be able to be with our families this year, everyone is just trying to do their best and make it through. That’s not perseverance, that’s survival. Mostly what I feel as this year draws to a close is relief that so far at least the people I love are safe and well, and gratitude for the support we’ve all been able to give each other through this extremely difficult year.”

I appreciate their honesty and gems of wisdom.

Their words got me thinking. Maybe the best thing to say about 2020 is that it’s almost over and that we muddled through the challenges together. We can acknowledge that it was hard and give ourselves grace. We are doing our best during a time that feels unstable and uncertain on many levels.

We all know that things were different at Villanova this year—We had to ensure a safe semester on campus. Services were modified, mask-wearing was enforced, in-person events were moved to virtual platforms campus-wide. A lot of hard sacrifices had to be made by everyone. The positive news is that faculty, staff, and students worked hard to adapt to the changes for the common good. And it really showed. We were able to successfully complete the fall 2020 semester on campus. Everyone should be proud about that.

Things certainly looked different at Falvey with the book stacks closed for public browsing and some seating removed. However, the Library staff were able to reimagine ways to support the VU community through this time. Throughout the semester, Falvey staff worked to offer some new services, including Contactless pick-up, scanning, virtual service desk, virtual events, as well as virtual librarian consultations. We hope this was a helpful support to the community.

So, while we know that the pandemic and the other tough issues we face aren’t going to magically end with the coming of 2021, hope is not lost. The truth is, we inch closer by continuing to do our best by opening ourselves up to learning, adapting, making hard sacrifices, and always remembering that sometimes it’s OK to be a little easier on ourselves.


Gina's headshotRegina Duffy is a Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 


 


Like

Falvey Staff Holiday Traditions and Memories

Gingerbread House

 

By Regina Duffy

There weren’t many things to celebrate in 2020; however, one thing that we can certainly celebrate is that the holiday season has officially arrived. Despite difficult times, we can take some comfort in sharing some safe and festive holiday traditions and even re-living memories of holidays past.

Like most people, I have some things that I simply must do to commemorate this time of year. Beyond admiring the colorful light displays in my neighborhood and taking my kids to visit Santa at Arasapha Farms, I have a couple days that are dedicated to wrapping presents. It’s just me, a large peppermint mocha latte, and some Christmas classics playing in the background as I tackle a giant pile of presents on the living room floor. No interruptions.

While I can’t say that the wrapping job I do is a great, the process is fun and makes me feel so accomplished.

Are you still looking for some seasonal inspiration? I asked the Falvey Library staff to share some holiday traditions they celebrate as well as their favorite memories.

Sarah Wingo, English Literature, Theatre, and Romance Languages and Literature Librarian: “We don’t have a lot of super specific Christmas traditions, just cozy fires in the fireplace and decorating the Christmas tree. My birthday is December 6, and growing up we’d always decorate gingerbread houses at my birthday parties, the gingerbread my mom and I would bake and assemble ahead of time. This always felt like the start of the holiday season.”

Demian Katz, Director of Library Technology: “It’s kind of ridiculous, but one of my favorite holiday traditions is cleaning out my personal inbox. I maintain a website as a hobby, and I receive a lot of email throughout the year from people with feedback and suggestions, but I never have time to act on them until the holiday break. Every year, I frantically catch up on all those accumulated messages, vow that I will do a better job of keeping up with communication, and then fail completely until the next holiday break.”

Susan Turkel, Social Sciences Librarian: “[I remember the] Christmas break during my first year in college. While I was home, I had all four wisdom teeth removed! So, I spent a few days over the holiday home recovering – watching TV, eating soft food, ice pack held up to my face.” (This is a tough way to spend a holiday break!)

Linda Hauck, Business Librarian: “Every year my kids have performed in Swarthmore Ballet Theatre’s Nutcracker which ran for two weekends in December. Parents were asked to volunteer to set up the theatre, apply makeup to the youngest dancers, and bake and serve fancy cookies at intermission. I’ve been baking Christmas cookies for the occasion for something like 12 years. I’ve had a lot of fun baking cookies to correspond to my daughter’s and son’s roles, including snowflakes, spice cookies, Christmas trees, linzer hearts, and springerle ginger nutcrackers. This year the performance has gone virtual. My daughter is off to college and son opted not to perform, which is just as well because while he still takes class, we don’t have the room in our home for him to dance full out on video. I’ll still be baking cookies to share with the dancers. Some of the other bakers and I will individually package them, and we are planning an outdoor drive by pick up. Sweet memories.”

My heartfelt thanks to everyone who took time to share with us. On behalf of everyone at Falvey Memorial Library, we wish you a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season, however you decide to celebrate this year.

Do you have any special traditions or memories? Drop your comments below to share some of your own holiday magic.


Gina's headshotRegina Duffy is Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library. 

 

 


 


Like
1 People Like This Post

 


Last Modified: December 15, 2020