Dear Trinity Students,
Inside the Library, it is quiet and empty and a bit sad despite the sunlight streaming in through the previously coveted window seats. We cannot hear the tap-tapping of fingers writing papers, nor the whirl of Starbucks, nor the loud chatter on the couches, nor the muffled conversation and squeaky whiteboard markers inside the study rooms. No one has come up to ask the front desk staff to help find a missing book. No one has timidly knock-knocked on a librarian’s door, desperately seeking sources for an annotated bibliography due at 5pm. Now, you chat with us over reference chat, and you show up on our screens for research appointments. We see you on Zoom, yes, but at this point, can we all agree that that is no substitute for face-to-face learning? We miss you and your endless searching for information and your beaming faces. Remember, even though we are all far away from one another, we are still here for you! Get in touch! Ask a librarian a question! Good luck on finals!
Coates Library Faculty & Staff
PS. And we want to show you OUR beaming faces!
You are forever a member of that class. Sandwiched between September 11 and the novel coronavirus global pandemic, you stand ready (kind of ready?) to go out into the world wearing the scars of catastrophe and the goggles of perspicuity. You can handle the battles you have ahead of you because you have been able to see reality as it truly is. You have seen the terror, the bigotry, the racism, the nationalism, the fallibility of institutions, but you have also seen scientific progress, the expansion of civil rights, the kindnesses of individuals, the resiliency of people. You might be scared or without sure-footedness. Or perhaps you are just tired and disappointed that May 2020 doesn’t look anything like you’d imagined. Maybe you’re just like most of us right now: emotionally overwhelmed, financially insecure, and just taking life day-by-day. But let us assure you that YOU CAN DO THIS. You worked so hard to get to Trinity, then you worked so hard to stay here. And now you can handle what lies before you.
I grew up attending a Modern Orthodox yeshiva for thirteen years. It was there that I learned the Talmudic concept of tikkun olam (תיקון עולם), which can be roughly translated into “repairing or improving the world.” One (somewhat secular) interpretation of tikkun olam calls upon people to work toward making the world a better, more whole, and more just place. It is a phrase that loudly rings in my mind as I think about students learning in this time of pandemic. You, the Trinity University Class of 2020, are leaving your college days behind you, but I trust that you will be striving for tikkun olam throughout your adult lives. As you step into the unknown world, remember that there are others out there also working to fix mistakes and injustices, to improve the world. Your librarians and library staff are thinking about you and cheering you on the whole way. Hats off to you as you head into this brave new world!