Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Tuesday Slice: Fresh air

Fresh air is hard to come by for this librarian during the school year; without effort, my forays outside consist of walks from home to car and car to school.  So yesterday morning I tied on my sneakers and headed outside for a five a.m. walk-and-jog.

The cool air gave me a muggy embrace.  My quiet footsteps were almost drowned out by the sound of traffic on the not-so-distant highway; I was surprised by that dull roar so early in the day.  The darkness seemed to spur me to move faster, as I walked from streetlight to streetlight, shining my cellphone on the pavement when I was leery of my next step.

Turning into the cul-de-sac, my thoughts always go to coyotes.  They haven't been spotted for a while....but what would I do if I encountered one on the road?  This morning gave me no answers; my only visible companion was a lone firefly blinking in a grassy lot, hinting that our summer isn't quite over yet, despite the return to school.

Reaching the end of the loop, I jogged the straightaway path back to my house, my heavy footfalls competing with nightsongs of crickets and frogs.  A lone car passed me, lights shining ahead in this darkening-before-dawn.  I turned at the entrance to the hike-n-bike and retraced my steps.

Four circuits from home to cul-de-sac to home again, almost a mile-and-a-half done.  I took a few deep breaths of the moist air, and winced at the loud creak of my front door.  My day of walls and windows lay ahead.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Tuesday slice: My dress is ready

This dress has been hanging, waiting to be worn, for quite awhile.

I remember how happy I felt when it arrived in the mail.  I was even more excited when I found a shrug in my sweater pile that matched!  I decided it was the perfect dress to wear to my daughter's college graduation.

That day dawned bright and cold--too cold to be comfortable wearing a dress for an outdoor ceremony, and I am all about comfort.  On went the slacks and sweater set instead.

Back home, the dress and shrug went back to the hook on my closet door. 

A few weeks ago, I sat down on my bed and started planning my work outfits, as I have done for many years.  (The habit started when my husband worked evenings, and I had to dress for my day job in the dark.)  

After writing down jeans and comfy clothes for casual days of workshops and prep time, I came to the first day of school. Looking up from my paper, I saw the dress, hanging there since May.  Yes!  

With nude-colored ballet flats and a sparkly floral bracelet, I'll feel like the prettiest librarian in the school.  Don't you think the butterflies are appropriate, since students and teachers alike tend to have a few in their stomach on the first day?

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Tuesday Slice: Twelve hundred

Twelve hundred has been the number of the summer, the number going into this school year.

Twelve hundred means two new portables partially blocking the view from our circulation desk, numbers five and six in our portable village.  I think our campus was built for eight, maybe nine hundred.

Twelve hundred means planning for automobile congestion outside, and pedestrian congestion inside, during transition times of the day.

Twelve hundred means losing instructional time to avoid hallway traffic.

Twelve hundred means four more teaching positions, and moving our meetings this morning from the library to the cafeteria to accommodate our growing faculty.

Twelve hundred means stretching professional materials and kits a bit more thinly.

Twelve hundred means possibly fewer author visits, as I jockey for space and time to provide seating for grade levels of nine or more classes.

Twelve hundred means more doubled classes in the library, more fidgeting with the schedule.

Twelve hundred elicits gasps and worried looks from colleagues, some of whom have been there, done that, with mixed results.

Twelve hundred has this usually optimistic realist non-worrier worried about providing personalized, quality library service to my learning community.

I know that once the school year starts, I will be happier in my element, promoting literacy and matching kids with books and supporting my teachers.  I will be so busy that worrying will go by the wayside.

But for right now, the uncertainty is about to do me in.

Friday, August 12, 2016


Twice, I padded outside
Walked past my neighbor's house on the right
The street light at my back, but cupping my eyes with my hands anyway.

Craning my neck to look up at the sky
Waiting for my eyes to adjust, focusing in the dark
Wishing those wisps of clouds to go away.

Did you see me, first at just past midnight
Then four hours later, again
Standing in the middle of the street in pajamas and flipflops?

I was hoping to make a dozen wishes
But given old eyes, or too much manmade light, or cloud wisps
Only one was to be had.

It will have to do.
My footsteps were noisy, crunching acorns and leaves
On my way to the door, trying not to wake the dreamers.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Tuesday Slice: Gone are the days

"Gone are the days".

You might think that the title of this post refers to the end of summer break.  In a way, it does; yesterday was the beginning of my work calendar, and it was spent in an all-day meeting with all the librarians in our district.

It was a great day of teambuilding, reviewing necessary details, and planning.  One of our breakout sessions was spent in newly-formed committees.  Our director had chosen the committee tasks, and we were free to choose whichever topic spoke to our strengths or weaknesses.  Since I have a personal goal to blog more about the library this year (on my "More Books Than Time" page), I decided to participate in the "Advocacy/ Public Relations" group. 

We covered several points in our discussion, ranging from data collection to infographics to Twitter and Facebook updates.  There was talk of monthly reports to our administrators and district-level reports that could be generated for our director's use.  A couple of librarians pointed out that we need to keep our phone at hand, to take pictures and post/Tweet/share on a regular basis (while protecting the anonymity of students whose parents haven't permitted public postings of photographs, of course).

I get the need to advertise what we do in the library.  With all the negative publicity about education circulating these days, it is now up to educators--librarians included--to expose the real, hard work that goes on in schools every day.  Our state teacher of the year is prompting us to share positive articles of teaching and learning as well. And while I understand the need to promote the good things that are happening in our educational settings, I also feel a bit chafed regarding this new role of publicist.  Part of me wants to just live in the moment, teach my lessons, promote literacy, build relationships with my learning community, do my job in peace and be trusted and respected for doing so, without the need to advertise on what feels like a global scale.

I guess those days are gone.   

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Tuesday Slice: Sharing what you know

The class roster was so short, I was worried our session would be called off.  No notice of cancellation arrived, so my co-presenter and I proceeded as planned, and arrived at the high school campus a couple of hours early to set up.  Good timing, as we had technical glitches to work out.  It's situations like those that make me glad I know people like my Google-Certified-Educator co-presenter.

Four out of the six enrollees arrived.  We launched into our presentation called "The Writer-Librarian:  Why You Should Be Blogging."  

Questions were asked, tips were shared, inspiration developed for both attendees and presenters.  My co-presenter and I blog from different approaches (hers more technical, mine more prosaic), hopefully reinforcing the idea that blogging is a limitless venture, open to the interpretation of the author.  

We went off course several times, talking about popular culture, library events, personal interests, technical woes and victories.  All fodder for blogging, I reminded our participants.

This is only the second time I've attempted being a presenter; it's the first time I"ve felt that we accomplished what we set out to do.

It feels good to share what you know, and have it well-received.