Ohio University

OHIO Librarian helps Athens community by donating lifesaving supplies

Published: April 3, 2020 Author: Staff reports

Amid the global uncertainty caused by COVID-19, universities and libraries worldwide are working remotely to explore innovative ways to connect with students and one another. Miriam Nelson, head of preservation and digital initiatives at Ohio University Libraries, is just one of several academic archivists and preservationists who is helping the local community combat the pandemic through donating needed emergency supplies to local hospitals.

According to a news story in American Libraries Magazine, archivists and conservators from university libraries across the country have been pitching in to help bridge the supply gap by donating PPE supplies that are typically used in the restoration of materials. The story also includes how preservation administrators connected with local health care providers to see how they could get the lifesaving supplies to where they were needed most.

“I knew our hospital was trying to limit visitors, so I didn’t want to just show up with a donation,” Nelson said. “Instead, I called the health department to see if there was a centralized place for donations. They were already in the process of taking PPE inventory and had the ability to get equipment where it was most needed, not just within the city of Athens but the entire county.”

Many of the items donated include N95 masks and nitrile gloves, which are used in cleaning or inspecting collections and kept on hand for disaster preparedness. Other, independent donations were also organized through a local centralized distribution point.

“For most conservators, being prepared to help with disasters in our communities is an integral part of what we do in our jobs,” Nelson added. “So really it was no surprise that we rallied together to donate much-needed emergency supplies. I think right now, everyone is just looking for active ways to help and this is just one way to make a small contribution.”

Several other OHIO departments and regional campuses have also donated emergency equipment and protective gear to local hospitals and health professionals.