Welcome to my adventure in blogging. After much encouragement (ok, nagging) from family and friends, I’ve given in and gotten started. Here we go.
I’ve been a public school librarian for 13 years, working at elementary, middle, and high schools in the great Northwest. Ten months of the year are devoted to children and teens; the other two are spent feeding my travel bug. Before you get to know the wanderlust part of my life, here’s a bit about my day job: Being in the library enables me to interact with students on a different level than that they share with their classroom teacher(s). I’m the adult in their lives who they come to for book recommendations, information about finding the best source for their AP English final project, or a nod toward a quiet corner when they just need to get away from their problems for a few minutes. Sometimes I’m a substitute mom, helping a young man arrange flowers with tulle and ribbon to give a girl when he asks her to Prom, tacking up a hemline for that same young lady right before Prom pictures, and being keeper of the oh-so-cute sky-high heels for the majority of the dance after the girls wise up and save their arches, opting instead for the barefoot look.
My job comes with immense responsibility as well. Who does a young person turn to when they need someone to talk to at school they don’t see every day, someone who is not in a position to rate them on their spelling or their grammar, someone who can be nonjudgmental while still maintaining the boundaries of staff and student? Yep, the librarian. Granted not all librarians are alike, but I’ve found what I consider to be the perfect position for myself–dealing with books and information while also helping students navigate the sometimes/often rocky road of childhood. Yes, my libraries have included books on children with two mothers, teens who question their identity, bullies, arsonists, teen fathers, teen mothers, and many other topics which are considered inappropriate by some adults. But as a librarian, one of my goals is to not only help children become readers but also to keep them reading. Every year I tell my students, “I don’t care what you read as long as you are reading.” Our discussions regarding book topics are private; I make no judgment on character or lifestyle. I just want children and teens to read.
The other parts of librarianship — the thoughtful expenditure of public funds to purchase print and digital resources to support curriculum, the collaboration with teachers, the teaching on topics ranging from research and database comparison to celebrating the state or country of your birth to the study of holidays (complete with Christmas crackers from England!) — are also important but student contact is what makes my day worthwhile.
So are you with me? Come along as I wander here and there, both in my professional and personal life. What do you think about the pic above? It’s from an early adventure with my dad and twin sis; I haven’t slowed down one bit.