Patch #165 Library
Long ago and far away I was a high school librarian (among other things). I started work at J--- High School in August 1999, four months after Columbine.
The library was located at the top of the stairs on the second floor, directly above the cafeteria. Students didn't use it much as the previous librarian was apparently less than warm and fuzzy.
The first thing I did was buy two rubber door stops to hold the doors open. Then I went to every single first block class during the first week of school to welcome students and teachers. I told them I wouldn't require passes during lunchtime, but that I would ask each student to sign in. Because Columbine. They understood.
Then I moved out of my office and sat at the computer at the front desk, so I could greet each person who came through the door. I learned their names, helped them find things, and didn't give them a hard time. Usage doubled, then doubled again.
And throughout it all, I felt like I had a target painted on my chest. Because Columbine. But it was worth it.
So when I read the words of the undocumented Texas valedictorian who said her school library made a difference, my throat tightened and tears pricked at my eyes. It made me proud of my profession.
One last thing ... years after I left the high school I ran into a former student when I was going through the grocery store checkout. I didn't recognize her, but she said "Do you remember me? I used to come to the library every day at lunch." Like so many of the students who came through my door, she wasn't the best or the brightest ... but she felt safe and welcome and if that's all I ever accomplished, then I count my time there as a success.
With so much sadness and negativity in the news, I keep coming back to one of the videos that went viral last week ...
This is a screen shot of one of two Texas valedictorians who revealed their undocumented status at graduation. But the part that made my heart a little lighter was her recognition of the role the school library played in her success. It made me proud of my one-time profession.
And this is a screen shot of something my daughter wrote last night in response to a friend who was hurt by social media insanity following the Orlando shooting ...
This too makes me proud ... and I dare to be hopeful.