Blogger Amy Steinbauer

Giving Thanks to Your Community

‘Ohana means family


As a season of thanks and love and family approaches, our roles at the library and in service to children seem more important than ever.

It’s a fairly common understatement to say that family is complicated. As adults, we have had our childhood traumas, wrong doings, and injustices along with love, support, and care that have shaped our selves, hopefully we have found good ways to move past or adjust to the bad in life.

When we work with children, we realize that not all of the little ones that come into our lives are experiencing the joy of a syndicated family sitcom. And while we can’t replace family love (and we are not meant to take on parental duties at all), we can honor the space that libraries create for the children of our community.

I went to graduate school in at the University of Hawaii at Manoa on the island of Oahu, and in Hawaii family means ‘ohana. One of the many things that I loved about being in Hawaii was that the concept of family meaning community and all the people in your life.

I try to embody that concept of family as community in my library work. The work that we do is difficult and thankless in many ways. However, we can empower ourselves if we think of ourselves and our patrons as one. One community of people who want to enjoy the library for a variety of reasons.

So, this season, take a look around at your community and think of ways that you can empower your relationships to work together and be one team. It’s a different frame of mind, but the rewards can build trust and connections in new pathways that have never been there before. I remind myself that we are only people. We make mistakes and fail and are foolish, but most of us are simply trying to get by– and being more mindful of our human connection can open new doors.

And- I am thankful for my ALSC ‘ohana!




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