Corona Madonna by Moira Farrell was one of the pieces submitted to the Swampscott: Life In Quarantine project. (Moira Farrell)
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Swampscott: Life In Quarantine

The Public Library wants to capture the experience of life during COVID-19 in a virtual time capsule.

Swampscott: Life In Quarantine began in May as a way to reach out to patrons and hear what they’d been doing since the library had been closed. The library requested that people submit different forms of art to document their time in quarantine.

The project was a success, with dozens of submissions received in a variety of mediums: songs, poems, photos, and paintings, from the sincere to the silly.

As a new phase of the pandemic begins, the library has renewed its call for submissions.

“It’s a nice way to reach out to people and to show them that we’re still here for them and that we’re still interested in their lives,” said Head of Circulation Julie Travers. “This is a really difficult time for people and it helps to be connected in any way to the greater community. And the library is definitely a center for doing that.”

All the submissions were posted on the Swampscott Library website, and are visible to the public.

One couple, Martin and Birthe, who were planning to move to Swampscott from Munich, but whose plans were derailed by the virus, sent a picture of the view from their window in Germany alongside their eventual view in Swampscott.

“We were ready to move to lovely Swampscott in January – there was no way for us living the big city life anymore, we wanted Swampscott,” writes Birthe. “We are getting quite desperate but try to keep up the good spirit.” 

Another photo, Corona Madonna by Moira Farrell, shows a man meeting his newborn grandson through a glass door.

Local poet and editor Margaret Eckman submitted a series of COVID-19-themed poems.

“It’s spread wide its infection 

of panic and hysteria and bored into my brain 

with fever dreams of sweat-soaked sheets 

and gasping breaths,” 

she writes in her poem, Covid Mania.

The library building is not currently open, but the staff is conducting curbside service. They are also working with other libraries and doing other online programs through Zoom.

The Peabody Institute Library, Peabody Historical Society and Museum and Peabody Access Television (PAT) also launched a similar initiative entitled "COVID Chronicles." The initiative's mission, like that of the Swampscott Public Library, is to collect, preserve and share the experiences of daily life in Peabody during the COVID-19 crisis.

The library asks that all submissions be sent to swampscottlibrarydigitaldiary@gmail.com.

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