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The COVID Chronicles

An archive of personal stories centered around STLCC students, faculty, and staff experiences of the 2020 pandemic

Kirsten Abotsi - Lead Librarian, Library Systems


I'm Kirsten Abotsi, Lead Librarian, Library Systems, reporting fom my home office, where I've been working since I got back from vacation on March 23, 2020. Working from home is something I always wanted to do, and it has been very good for me. I carved out a little corner of a spare bedroom where I have a stand up workstation like I have in my office in the Meramec library. Unlike in my office at Meramec, I have windows right in my face! If you look out the windows you can tell this photo was taken early in our stay-at-home period, before the trees leafed out and my husband's fantastic garden started taking shape. In addition to the natural light from the windows, he also installed daylight bulbs in the room (for his plants, not for me, ha!) and all the light helps my mood. When the weather is nice, I might even have a (Skype or Collaborate) meeting on the porch.  

Since my work for the STLCC Libraries is all about our online resources and platforms, I've been very busy these past three months helping library staff with technical issues; ensuring that online resources are accessible to students, faculty, and staff; ramping up our social media presence; setting up chat services for other departments in the College; and keeping our website up to date as things change. I have many wonderful colleagues in the Libraries and I think we've all risen to the occasion in an outstanding way. 

As we all know, one difficulty in working from home is maintaining the separation between work time and home time. I do this by following my regular work hours, dressing as I would for the office (okay, sometimes now that it's getting warmer I don't always wear pants), following my usual morning routine of grinding beans and french-pressing my coffee (and lately hoisting our BLM flag), and even wearing my STLCC name tag as I "commute" to work. On morning break, instead of taking a brisk morning walk with my work walking buddies Prof. Janice Hovis (MC instruction librarian), or Monica Holland (FP library manager), I walk around the garden, shoot a few photos of flowers and plants, and post them on Facebook to give folks an uplift. 

Everyone, be well and safe!

Karen Wade-Secretary for Library Services, Florissant Valley



Writing usually is very easy for me, but I find myself struggling to find the “right” words.   

I was on vacation the week of March 16, 2020 because my daughter was on Spring Break.  We didn’t really go anywhere, but it was nice just hanging out and going for short drives.  Next thing I knew, I was working from home and my daughter was schooling from home.   

March and April were filled with the worst days of my life.  My best friend, my partner in crime, my handy man, also known as my mother, was having a rapid decline in health.  She passed away on April 17, 2020.  I am so grateful that the pandemic allowed me to be home with her for her final days. 

The amount of support I got from family and friends got me thru the tough times.  

I was never a plant person at all.  The joke in the family was that I could kill an artificial tree, but I received a plant from friends at work.  I will admit that I grumbled a great deal at first, but I have come to appreciate a little green in my house.  My daughter named the peace lily, Lillith.  Each weekend before she heads back to her dad’s house, she reminds me to water the plant.  I pray it thrives under my care.  Survival rates would increase if the plant could live off pizza rolls and tater tots. 

My idea of a fun time is not going on a float trip or taking a hike; I am an indoor girl who enjoys movies and theater.  Imagine my utter dismay when my daughter shows up with a new pet – a snail.  I soon found myself buying a proper home and furnishings for the snail.  The good news was that it was contained, and I didn’t have to take it out for a walk at 6 a.m.  I don’t think that I will ever bring myself to touch it, I do make sure that the snail and his surroundings get a good misting a couple of times a day. 

My mother would have been in heaven.  She loved plants and enjoyed being with nature so much that I nicknamed her “Mother Goose”.  At this writing, five months have gone by since my mother died, and I take comfort in the joy that a plant and a snail would give her.  It brings me peace and for that, I am grateful. 



St. Louis Community College Libraries

Florissant Valley Campus Library
3400 Pershall Rd.
Ferguson, MO 63135-1408
Phone: 314-513-4514

Forest Park Campus Library
5600 Oakland
St. Louis, MO 63110-1316
Phone: 314-644-9210

Meramec Campus Library
11333 Big Bend Road
St. Louis, MO 63122-5720
Phone: 314-984-7797

Wildwood Campus Library
2645 Generations Drive
Wildwood, MO 63040-1168
Phone: 636-422-2000