Sunday, January 12, 2014

If You Take a Selfie With Andrew Carnegie...

I was running my usual Saturday errands yesterday; you know...a stop at a neighborhood farmer's market, bank, Walmart, groceries, and ended up at the public library for a book I had reserved. When I first started as a Media Specialist several years ago, after being a classroom teacher for 20-some years,  my husband couldn't quite understand why, having spent about 8-10 hours a day in a library,  I had to go to another library after work or even on the weekend. Or even a bookstore. I tried to tell him that a.) It's in my DNA, b.) I'm usually looking for a book for me, c.) I've been doing it for over 50 years and old habits die hard, d.) The books are in order and I don't have to be responsible for any of it, e.) well, we rarely got to an "e" since he knew I just love all things books!

So I picked up the copy of  Julia Child Rules: Lessons on Savoring Life that I had reserved (I also love all things Julia), and as I was leaving noticed a large cardboard stand-up of Andrew Carnegie. Well, maybe "large" might be an exaggeration, because he was only 5 ft. 3 inches, but of course in the library world he was a giant...which is what I felt like when I stood next to him. Our county's public library system is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, with one of the libraries being one of the first ten libraries in Florida originally funded through grants by Andrew Carnegie. So our public libraries have these 5'3" stand-ups of Mr. Carnegie in them as part of a year-long celebration. So being the library groupie that I am, I grabbed the nearest librarian and asked her to take my picture with him. "I'm a librarian" I explained, as if I needed to! She smiled, took a picture on my phone, and went on with her work. After snapping a few more pictures, I cropped one to just be our heads...well more like my upper torso and his head, and sent it to  my best friend with the line "If you take a selfie with a picture of Andrew Carnegie in the Public just might be a Librarian". I knew she'd get a kick out of it, but I underestimated the impact.

She was my inspiration to become a Media Specialist in my middle ages and is in a system that eliminated their Media Specialists this year. Her response was heart-warming, yet heart-breaking. She is now a secondary social studies teacher and related that she misses the library terribly, how challenging it is to learn the curriculum and keep on top of the daily lessons and was totally exhausted by winter break. She dreaded going back for a new semester because the new classes were  co-teaching...another challenge. She only has one or two years left, but I thought how unfortunate to not be totally in love with what you do every day.

It really reminded me of  how thankful I am that I AM totally (well, 99.9%) in love with what I get to do every day. Actually, her current description of teaching duties sounds like mine, but at least I get to do it in the library! Kids, books, projects, contests, teaching, leadership opportunities, book clubs, incredibly supportive media colleagues...I could go on and on! Despite new challenges of an evaluation system that demands more of me, and other changes too numerous to mention here, I am still doing what I love...just calling it different things. Think of it as making lemonade out of lemons!

So whatever challenge, problem, stress or lemon you encounter today, fellow Media Specialists/Librarians/Teacher Librarians (ooh, how I wish we settled on one name!), you still bear that wonderful job title! Remember that and Stay Grounded!

Sandy Penvose