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Community Stories: Life During COVID-19

Here is GPL patron J. Tyler Klassen’s story:

I’ve been a library patron for all 37 years I’ve lived in Goshen. When I worked as a photographer for the Goshen News I would occasionally use GPL to research stories, or as a place to look for feature photographs.  The children’s department was especially wonderful as a place for photographs.  I’ve been a reader and lover of books since childhood and have always connected with my local library.

I’ve appreciated that Goshen Public Library is a good source for woodworking books, and has a really good selection of books about bicycling and bicycle repair. I’ve used the repair manuals personally and in my work as Chain Reaction Bicycle Project shop manager.

I think I experienced the weeks leading up to the initial closures in two ways.  The first was with a sense of an approaching deep change. I thought that we were entering a time of significant change, and that we had no idea what it would all mean.

The second way I experienced the approaching closures was to try and think about how the closures might affect my work and personal life. Because of changes in my work at Chain Reaction, my work there is very different and more difficult.  My work as a freelance photographer has disappeared with school and business events being canceled.  

My daily routines for work have changed very little. Both the hardware store and bicycle shop are essential businesses and I have continued to work at both. We are operating the bicycle shop in different ways with limited access to the shop for customers, no entry without a mask and other ways to combat possible sharing of the virus. I am much more distanced from people. This is both physical and emotional. I am suspicious of people not wearing masks and try to keep my distance from them.  

Something that has surprised me is the belligerent attitude some people have toward mask wearing. Something that I miss from before is simply being in places I enjoy, like a coffee shop, restaurant, or library without worry.

Going forward, some changes I can imagine include that I think I will remain less willing to be close to people I do not know, or know well.  I think we will always have the virus with us and will have to some extent take precautions because of that.  I am hopeful that I will be able to get back to enjoying life without masks and so much social distancing.

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