MINDFUL LIBRARIAN?

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So what is a LIBRARIAN?  Well to me, it is more than a profession; it is a mindset.  Allow me to explain…

For some, the word “librarian” brings to mind matronly old women with bifocals and hair buns, shushing patrons and stamping books.  As a librarian myself (neither old, nor matronly), I beg to offer a slightly different perspective.  Bear with me…

Now I began my career as a high school English teacher.  Segueing into school library initially meant a position in education where the things I loved could be amplified and the things I hated, eliminated.  I could foster a love of books and reading in kids and not be held hostage to the responsibility of grading!  Additionally, my penchant for organization and love of learning could be satisfied vicariously through the research of my students.  Yay!  This is pretty much what it was in the beginning, but with the speed-of-light integration of technology, came the overhaul of education as we once knew it, and my position in the school system had to evolve or I was out.  Little did I know, the uncomfortable evolution of my cozy career would ultimately lead to a profound evolution of self.  

First, there was the “Makerspace” movement in libraries.  All of a sudden I found myself coding, 3D modeling, engineering, tinkering and more.  Talk about exiting my comfort zone!  It wasn’t easy to surrender mastery to my students.  Having been so accustomed to being the authority on everything I presented to students, I had to feel comfortable providing them access to innovations and letting them run, and oftentimes surrendering the role of “teacher” to them.  My library became the hub of inquiry and problem based learning.

On a personal level, as tech infiltrated my profession at warp speed, I felt a dire need to ground and center… to separate and meditate… to get outside and UNPLUG……

So how to reconcile the personal and the professional evolution happening in my life?  It wasn’t hard.  In addition to being a place that fosters inquiry and technological innovation, the library has always been, and always continue to be, a safe haven for kids.  It is a place without grades and without the noisy confusion of school life.  It’s a place that is at once bustling, but also quiet and serene.  What better place than the school library as a hub for mindfulness practice?  

So what is a LIBRARIAN?  A librarian to me, is an individual who loves learning and access to information, someone who is open to change and embraces inquiry, someone who appreciates the din of silence, and someone who seeks to create an atmosphere that fosters calm reflection and presence.  Even if I eventually change careers, I will always be a librarian at heart.

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