November is here, the start of the holiday season. This year is going to be strange for so many of us. Hopefully we can all stay safe as we celebrate! One thing that I am planning on doing as we approach a Thanksgiving that will look so different from years past is to practice gratitude. There are all kinds of studies about the importance of fostering a grateful attitude; it seems we can do nothing better for our mental health than to count our blessings. I am going to count mine with abandon in my personal life, but what about my professional one? What do I have to be grateful for as a children’s librarian in this year of the pandemic?
I am grateful for my colleagues. As a public librarian, my day is usually spent focused on patrons and community members. This year, as I’ve hunkered down in my cubby in the back office, I have really gotten to know my fellow staff members, and they are some of smartest, most interesting people around. They have shown me kindness, patience and encouragement this year. I hope I have been able to do the same in return.
I am grateful for my organization. Our library and the city that we are part of has worked so hard to keep us all safe. I have felt well-equipped and protected, and know that employee safety is the top priority of our management team.
I am grateful for the chance to learn new skills. One year ago, I would never have believed that I would be begging friends to teach me to quantize a vocal track in Logic Pro X, but here I am. I have had a BLAST learning to shoot and edit film and record, produce and engineer audio tracks. So many of us in the field have learned to do this sort of thing this year. I don’t believe that we’ll ever look back, even when we are able to program in person again.
I am grateful that our relationship with community organizations, partners, and businesses has continued to deepen. We need each other more than ever.
I believe I am most grateful for the children’s department at SCPL. Three members of our department of 6 began their careers as librarians this year. Can you believe that? In these months, our team has faced numerous personal and physical crises, yet everyone has maintained their professionalism, kindness and openness with one another. We have been physically distanced across three branches, only “seeing” one another via zoom, yet we have put together some of our best programming ever. I have watched my fellow children’s librarians who are just beginning their careers blossom. They have found their footing, discovered their passions, and faced their challenges with grace. I am honored to be their colleague.
I am also incredibly grateful to be counted among the ranks of children’s librarians on a national and international level. We all have stepped up to the plate with our creativity and persistence this year in the face of really abnormal circumstances. We have faced the fear of putting bodies on camera, of feeling irrelevant and isolated. We have reached out to our communities in new ways. We uphold the precious values of freedom, justice, truth and beauty in a million little ways in our book selections, our programming, our outreach and our virtual presence. Children’s librarians make the world a better place. I thank each and every one of you for that.
What are you grateful for? We’d love to hear!