Sunday, October 30, 2011

Letting Go: Flying Solo

Don't sweat the small stuff?
A year ago, the sight of an overflowing book return bin would send me into a stress fit. Letting these kind of things bother me is not an option anymore because they are going to happen a lot more than they used to. I have decided to focus on the people that I serve and let a few things go. So far, it looks like my library program is going to be better off for it.


Is an overflowing book return bin what the students and teachers who pass through my library will remember about their experiences there? No. I hope not. What they will remember is how I helped them and what they learned and whether I was happy about helping them or not, smiling, or not, whether they felt welcome.


Students are running my library more than ever before, since the library assistant position was cut. They are  shelving the books, checking books in and out, creating book displays, organizing games, loading programs in the computer lab and dusting. I now depend on them.  The books are not always shelved in the correct location, but that is not as important to me as it used to be. It is one of the many details I am now dismissing. Gone is the idea that my library has to be an orderly place. It certainly has never been a quiet one. I quit date stamping books. Last year, I did not scan an inventory of the collection.


Instead of being upset by change: crying, eating an enire bag of peanut M&Ms, throwing temper tantrums, and then apologizing for my  bad behavior, or being depressed,  resentful and wallowing in self pity, I have decided to keep moving, one day at a time, toward being the librarian that I have always wanted to be. I find that I  am using my time more effectively, and I am focused more on professional development for myself and the faculty.   I find myself asking, "How can I improve?"   Should I reserve one day a week for collection work? Should I set up a self check-out kiosk for students to use when I am busy with another class? Last year when someone suggested a self check-out kiosk I looked at them as if they just suggested that I let students shelve books.


I often wonder, what would my mother do in the face of all this change? Thinking of how she would react helps me put so many things into their little boxes and gain perspective. I know she would make the best of what she is given to work with. She would, "grow where she was planted" as she used to say.  I am going to smile and be happy in these tumultuous times because my happiness in my job influences an entire school to some degree. Like it or not I am the weather in my library.  Ma and I listened to a book by Mark Matousek, titled, When You're Falling, DIVE, on one of our many road trips.  I have never forgotten the passage in which a woman on her deathbed tells her daughter that dying is
 ". . . easier when you let go."


Everything is easier when you let go. Let go of the way you have always done things. Dive into the future. Change. Stop complaining and Grow.


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