University of Oxford
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32232: First day back in the library after 3 month lockdown

online resource
posted on 2023-12-08, 20:51 authored by Lockdown2020 and Beyond Project

I'm the library assistant at St Hugh's College Library. The library closed at 5pm on 17th March, after which I worked from home for about 3 weeks until I was furloughed. From the day of closure until 22nd June, I didn't leave South Oxford. I never got on a bus, I didn't visit the city centre, and I didn't go to my library. So when I did return, it felt like a grand day out. Getting on the bus no longer represented a tiring commute through slow traffic, but a luxury. Even though I was just going to work, looking like a bank robber with my black face mask and sunglasses. And when I finally stepped back into my library, I was too happy to be intimidated by the hundreds of books I needed to return and shelve that day.

I was completely alone in the library, which was rather spooky. Some of the reading rooms creak even when nobody is around, which was disconcerting, especially before I switched the lights on. But it meant I could stick my earphones in and zoom around doing the shelving without worrying about how much noise I was making. Tiring, but a great day.


Message for the future

If you find yourself living through a period that will be studied in history lessons in the future, I think it's important to remember how much remains the same. The laundry and hoovering still needs doing. Keep yourself grounded with the little things and limit how much negative information you consume each day. Find joy in the absurdity. There will be an end to these interesting times.

About the picture(s)

The photos show important points in my day. Looking like a bank robber on my way out, the bus stop, and finding the hundreds of books at the library that I needed to return and shelve.




St Hugh's College Library


Amy Douglas

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