From the Frontline is an ongoing series highlighting members of the Florida Tech community who are working tirelessly to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
In this installment, Jim Baucom discusses the role he plays at Evans Library.
Q: Please describe your duties related to the university’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Jim Baucom: I open and close the library Monday through Friday, spending 45 hours a week helping patrons resource their academic and technical needs. I’ve served Florida Tech since 1993, in the Security Department until 2007 and at Evans Library since 2007. The library has served and continues to serve hundreds of patrons on and off-campus throughout this challenging time.
Q: What does it mean to you to play such a key role in assisting the university during this time?
JB: For some of us, our duties in light of the changes due to the coronavirus, have been interesting, I’m sure. For me personally, little has changed other than the operation tempo.
Q: Talk about some successes and challenges during this unique time.
JB: We’ve not experienced physical challenges so much as we have psychological ones. So many of our patrons have come to us with their concerns and worries. We do our best to encourage.
Q: From your vantage point, how well has the university responded to this pandemic?
JB: Library staffing has been voluntary and well supported by our librarians on the home front.
Q: Anyone in the campus community you’d like to highlight?
JB: I’d like to highlight two of the many at the library who are serving in stellar mode. One is our Digital Scholarship Lab manager, Martin Gallagher. Since Day One of this defensive posture, Martin has selflessly spent day and night thinking about, planning and designing face masks and shields. He has worked tirelessly producing masks to give to our Florida Tech community. Another staff member worthy of special mention is Library Tech Team Manager Jared Campbell. Jared, from the very start of our COVID-19 response, has been ever-present and instrumental in helping library staff and patrons get set up for online work. Not only has he been a critical part of getting us rapidly set up, but he is also highly sought out by other members of the campus community outside of the library. Both Jared and Martin are not just essential, they are invaluable. I’d also like to applaud some others on the front line: Florida Tech Security, food services, our custodians (National, facilities, grounds maintenance). These folks show commitment above and beyond.
Q: What is a key thing for people to remember during this pandemic?
JB: Over the many years I’ve been on campus, before reporting to the library, I walk by the Jerome Keuper statue. I stand for a moment in Keuper’s shadow as the sun rises over Evans Library. One key thing for all of us to remember during this pandemic is to look at our history and from where we as an institution have come. Another is to keep faith in our leadership. No doubt President McCay is working hard to keep Jerome Keuper’s spirit alive.
Find the university’s latest coronavirus updates and information on the Coronavirus Central webpage.