Dana Barber, Southeast (SEPLA) Chapter, Membership Chair
What are some silver linings you have discovered during this time?
One of my favorite things about being home during the pandemic is having time with my family. In addition to taking walks and bike rides, we have been binge watching The Goldbergs, which is guaranteed to bring us all some much-needed laughter and levity.
How are you staying sane during social distancing?
I think it’s questionable as to whether I am staying sane at this point during the stay-at-home order. It’s definitely been a struggle trying to keep my two school age daughters on point with their schoolwork while simultaneously working with library staff to pivot our services from in-person to virtual. That being said, it’s been rewarding as well. I am more involved with my children’s daily school lessons and it’s great to see them interact with their school mates and teachers during virtual lessons. In addition, I am constantly blown away by the creativity of my coworkers and others in the library field during this time. We have risen to the challenge and I have never been so proud to be part of the library community.
What advice do you have to give others who may be struggling?
Personally, I find staying busy keeps me distracted from the daily pandemic updates. I try to focus on what I can control instead. I think that is key to maintaining your sanity - along with going easy on yourself. Take frequent breaks and practice self-care! Personally, I have found a fun way to de-stress and exercise by having regular dance parties with Ryan Heffington (@ryan.heffington) on Instagram. I highly recommend checking it out!
What activities or hobbies are you enjoying during this time?
I am excited to go back to knitting since I have been home. I never seem to have time during a regular work week and then my family is always so busy with activities on weekends. While home, I have knitted several sweaters for myself and family, taught my oldest to knit, and have even attended weekly virtual knitting and crocheting nights hosted by my library. This creative outlet combined with the social aspect of meetup with other knitters has been a great stress reliever.
How did you first get involved in Pennsylvania Library Association (PaLA)? Did you receive encouragement from anyone in particular?
I originally started attending SEPLA (South East Chapter) meetings at the suggestion of the previous Library Director at the Grundy Library. Her mentorship and support throughout the early part of my career helped to solidify my continued involvement in the association at both the chapter and state level
How has your Pennsylvania Library Association (PaLA) membership helped you?
My involvement in PaLA has connected me with a variety of opportunities to develop my leadership skills and to build my professional network. As a participant in both the PaLA Academy of Leadership Studies (PALS) as well as the Office of Commonwealth Libraries Director’s Institute and a regular attendee at the PaLA Annual Conference and the SEPLA Annual Conference, I have learned first hand the value of membership. It has not only assisted me in staying current and informed about the latest news and developments in the library field, but it has also helped me foster lasting friendships and professional relationships with colleagues across the state. Such connections have helped guide me through difficult points in my career serving as much needed sounding boards, pillars of support, and fonts of knowledge, and respected advisors. Having this professional network has been a saving grace especially during times of adversity as when dealing with budget cuts or the current pandemic.