Monday, September 22, 2014

Thoughts on being back

In my head, I was going to write this right around my first day of school, but I had forgotten how exhausting the start of the school year can be, and how overwhelming it can be to be somewhere new. Learning new names, learning new curriculum, learning the quirks of a new photocopier. 

I am so excited to be back working with students and teachers, though. As amazing as the last year has been (and oh, it was, in so many ways, but if I try and summarize it I'll be here all night and it is a school night after all), I missed working with students. I missed the energy that comes when you are able to share a great idea or resource with a colleague. 

But it's not exactly like picking up where I left off when I left my last positions. I don't have the same relationships with my new colleagues--relationships that took years to build. Some days it's hard to remember how much time and work went into building those relationships--and I get a little impatient. 

I also feel a lot of pressure around making a good first impression. Obviously, making a good first impression will make it easier for me to build relationships with teachers and students that make it possible for me to do my job--but mostly I feel the pressure because I know that the impression they have of me will shape the impression they have of librarians in general. 

I often think of this whenever I see an "X things teachers should know about librarians" or "X things administrators should know about librarians" article. My first thought is always, "if they don't know those things, it's not their fault." While administrators, teachers, and students know enough teachers in order to generalize and know that teachers come in good/bad/in-between, sometimes they've only worked with one or two librarians. And if those librarians didn't do X, Y, or Z, well. . . they're not going to assume that other librarians will either. Articles about what librarians do are meaningless without evidence.

It's a lot of pressure, is what I'm saying.

I know it will take time for my new colleagues to really learn who I am, but I wanted to make an initial attempt at explaining my philosophy and vision for the library. Those of you who know me know that I have a deep, abiding love for Venn diagrams, and as I thought about the best way to explain my philosophy a Venn diagram took shape in my head.

I'm honestly sort of beside-myself happy about this Venn diagram. And if other school librarians like this, I hope they'll share it with their colleagues. But it will be meaningless unless our everyday actions match it.

In a way, this is my thesis statement for who I am as a librarian; my day-to-day work is how I provide evidence.