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Community Stories: Life During COVID-19

Here is GPL patron and Goshen Community Schools Board of Education member Amanda Quall’s story:

I grew up in Goshen, moving here with my mother from Elkhart when I was a toddler. I developed my love of libraries and reading at Model Elementary, where I have fond memories of our librarian, Mrs. Kennedy. My love of learning and books has always gone together, and ultimately, that love led me to library school. I have a Masters in Library Science from Indiana University, which I completed in 2013 after returning to Goshen with my husband. Public libraries such as GPL are as integral to a well-functioning society as public schools, because their presence levels the playing field and extends the opportunity for learning and knowledge to all.

Leading up to the closure of the library, our schools, and many other businesses in Goshen, I was working seven days per week on Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign. After Pete exited the race, the last official day of work for most employees was March 6, and shortly thereafter, things began to close. That was an incredibly hard shift for me, going from working twelve-hour days to being confined to my home.

My daily routine was unstable in the early days of sheltering in place, and I struggled to sleep, however, my habit of daily reading helped to stabilize me. Since May, I’ve found much more normalcy in my schedule, and I’ve been lucky to have many projects and commitments to work on from home. However, May also brought personal angst and fear, as my stepson’s mother contracted the virus at work. From May 2 until May 28, my husband and I were unable to see Bradyn, who celebrated his 14th birthday on May 1, without friends or a family party. Luckily, Bradyn’s mother recovered well and Bradyn never became sick, but that incident was definitely scary, and I feel for each and every family experiencing this illness—especially those who are not as lucky as we have been.

Currently, I work part-time for Win the Era (Pete’s political action committee), I serve as chair of the Maple City Market Board of Directors, and I am a member of the Goshen Community Schools Board of Education. All of these things have transitioned to remote or socially distant gatherings fairly seamlessly. Perhaps the aspect of my life that is most unusual or disrupted is my campaign for state representative. As a candidate for Indiana State House in District 49, I can tell you that political campaigns are in a unique situation this year, with traditional voter outreach opportunities curtailed.

While the warm weather has helped me feel less disconnected from the community during the pandemic, as I’m now able to get out for walks and experience more of the community first hand, there are still many things I miss. I miss biking to my favorite restaurants and bars downtown and running into friends for an impromptu meal or drink. I miss First Fridays (a Goshen treasure!), and I miss the close sense of community that we are so lucky to have here in Goshen. However, I have hope and a strong belief in the scientists working on COVID-19 treatments and a vaccine that sometime in the coming months, we will be able to return to our lives, much as they were before. I believe I will take with me from the pandemic a greater sense of resiliency and appreciation for the events, businesses, and community assets—such as the library—that I saw as commonplace before.

Here’s a snippet of my recent reads!
Cursed: An Anthology of Dark Fairy Tales
Age of Myth
Between the World and Me
From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
Blood of Elves
Soul Music (Discworld #16)
The Starless Sea

 

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