Every librarian I know, whether it be school, public, or academic, feels a little down in heart from time to time. We all feel frustration when we hit walls that are seemingly impenetrable and attitudes impervious to change. We sometimes feel marginalized by the effects of No Child Left Behind or saddened when some teachers spurn our efforts to help and collaborate. We worry that authentic change is not happening fast enough to help our students. Couple these worries with the disturbing economic conditions that are impacting us personally and professionally, and you may feel as though you are under a dark cloud at times.
If you are in need of some true words of inspiration to strengthen your spirit and will to solider forward, then take a few minutes to read the latest post from one of my professional heroes, David Lankes. In his blog post, “Bullet Point: We Live in Shakespearean Time,” Dr. Lankes rallies us:
Let me speak proudly – we are librarians, and we have struggled and some dismiss us. We fight with meager budgets, and out-moded structures. But our hearts are in the trim. This time, this information age? This is our age. Credibility, expertise, and compassion are our weapons, and we will fight ferociously for knowledge, for compassion, for better communities in our towns, states, colleges, schools, and businesses. Every day we will fight in the hospitals, and law firms, and classrooms. On the web, or in the halls of power we are the soldiers for a better day.
I am reminded of Patrick Henry’s impassioned “Speech to the Virginia Convention” in which he said,
The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.
It is easy to lose our focus and see only the problems or negatives we face each day—I am guilty of this! Yet we as librarians must focus on what we are accomplishing and continue to build on those achievements as we strive to place libraries as the heart of learning in whatever learning community we serve. As Georgia Library Media Association President Susan Grigsby so eloquently pointed out in this recent post on the GLMA blog, we cannot cease to be our own advocates, and we must redouble our efforts to reach out to students, teachers, parents, business leaders, and legislators to actually demonstrate what we are doing in our libraries.
While I may personally feel discouraged at times, I never lose my inspiration or passion for what I do. If I suffer a setback, I dig in that much harder and continue my efforts as an agent of change in my school and community.
In closing, I’d like to include a video Lankes embedded in his original post–I hope that his blog post will rally your spirit and inspire you to move forward boldly in your work with confidence and hope.