A Librarian’s Thankful List.

I’ve been debating for a few days whether or not this post was actually going to come to fruition. I went back and forth, wondering if this was even a topic posting about and if it would mean anything to anyone. The conclusion I came to was that it means everything to me, so I’m hoping it’ll resonate with you, too.

At this particular moment in history, we have a lot to worry and be anxious about. But on this particular day of the year, we get to celebrate everything we have to be thankful for.  Some countries (5-10, depending on the site you find) have some kind of harvest festival, but the U.S. is one of the few countries that has a day set apart for being thankful and expressing gratitude for all the good things we have in life. I want to celebrate today by reflecting on some things I am truly thankful for as a librarian. So here goes:

I’m thankful for my students. My students are everything to me. In a middle school with an advanced academic program, I am blessed and challenged to provide programming, resources, and a space for students reading on the 3rd-12th grade levels. They push me to be a better librarian everyday, with every interaction, lesson, display, and activity. My students deserve a librarian who knows them, cares about them and their success, can help them with resources, encouragement, and is a person who is safe to talk about everything and anything. They are the reason I go to work every morning, why I go to conferences, and why I strive to keep my library relevant. 

I’m thankful for my staff. Like a typical school, I have the range of staff at my school who use the library religiously, those who see no use in the library, and those who are just “beginning to see the light” into what the library can offer them and their students. I’m thankful that my staff challenge me and push me to find ways to integrate the library into their ever-full curricula. I’m thankful for the staff who see my value and how I can make their role as a teacher easier and more innovative. I’m thankful that I always have opportunity to expand my reach into more subjects, classrooms, and units. I’m thankful for my staff who works so hard for our students everyday in every possible way. My administration is so supportive and encourages innovation and risk-taking on all levels, and without them, our school wouldn’t have the opportunity to do anything we do.

I’m thankful for my role in my school. As librarians, we have power to serve our students and effect change on a level that not many others at our schools do. We have the ability to see students in multiple subjects, in different combinations of classes, and serve them each year they are at our school. When a new initiative is rolled out, I think about how I can help my staff succeed in incorporating it – in multiple departments. I create displays and pathfinders for different subjects, helping to support student learning in targeted areas. I love that I can go to all department meetings, listening to what they are talking about, figuring out how the library can best help while also sharing relevant lessons I have taught in other subjects that will support what they are doing with their students. I love that I can go to these same meetings and offer professional development catered specifically to that department’s curriculum and needs. I love being an instructional partner with my staff, on both wide and specific levels.

I’m thankful for the library field. I can be the librarian I am because of those around me and those who have paved the way for libraries and librarians. I’m grateful that librarians are a friendly bunch who share fun and failed activities, find passion and joy in serving others, and inspire me to be better. I’m thankful for those who lead our profession with wisdom, grace, and authority that what we do is a vital component of our schools and communities. The librarian field is a family of professionals that support me in ways I never knew as a teacher, and ways I couldn’t do my job without.

I’m thankful for opportunity. I was blessed enough to be able to get the education that allowed me to pursue my passions on a professional level and do what I love every single day. Being a teacher for many years gave me opportunity to be the librarian I am, and for some reason, people see me as a leader in our field as well. Recently nominated for librarian of the year in my region of Virginia and newly appointed as regional director-elect for the Virginia Association of School Librarians, I am humbled by the chance to be the voice for my students and colleagues at the state level. I am grateful to have given successful presentations at the district, region, and state level on topics that mean a lot to me and that I think matter to our profession. Most of all, I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve others: my staff, my librarian colleagues, and my students. 

This is a short and sweet list, but despite the crazy going on in this world, I am so in love with my job and the people who enable and inspire me to be better for them. As librarians, we have opportunity and influence to help others and make the world a better place one resource, conversation, and word of encouragement at a time. On this Thanksgiving, I am so grateful to be part of a profession that serves others and gives me the ability to do what I love every single day.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends.

– Rachel

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