Over the school holidays I took the time to watch a couple of TED talks. I highly recommend dipping into these talks every now and then. I find them totally inspirational. One in particular: The power of vulnerability by BrenéBrown set me thinking about the challenges confronting those who work in school libraries as so called “support” staff.
Brené purports that the basis of humanity is connection. That’s why we exist as human beings she says. To connect. Transposing this into the library environment, isn’t this why we exist in our professional lives also?
- To connect
- To connect with our clients (students and teachers)
- To connect our clients with resources that meet their needs
- To connect with our managers to argue our case for ongoing funding and developmental support
- To connect with each other (our library based colleagues) for mutual support and inspiration
Making these connections sometimes necessitates leaving our comfort zone. We have to take our courage in our hand and get out there and “do it”. In doing so, we are often confronted by our own vulnerability… doing something with no guarantees. While this is not a comfortable space to be in, overcoming it is becoming more and more necessary, if we are to remain viable in a “socially connected” world.
Brené explores all the human behaviours we tend to develop to cover up our vulnerabilities. I must confess to recognising several of them. However, she does give some positive strategies for overcoming them. I will leave you to view and ponder these for yourself.
In the library and education environment, we are confronted by huge challenges. The most significant of these is that we have to be seen…seen as we really are, here and now, not as we may have been perceived in the distant past.
In our current environment we need to be seen:
- as educators whose motivation is student learning rather than perfecting cataloguing
- as literacy leaders rather than book stampers
- as knowledge facilitators rather than fact finders
- as multi literacy facilitators rather than print based foragers
- as collaborators and connectors who make timely and relevant connections between people and their information needs rather than “just in case” collectors.
Those whom we deal with may think they know what a librarian does. But do they really?
- Are your teachers aware of the value you can add to student learning as an information professional?
- How aware is your principal and Board of Trustees of what you do every day to support students with their information, reading and literacy needs?
- How aware are the teachers, principal and Board, of the integral and essential part the library plays in supporting your school mission and student learning achievements?
Who is going to inform them of all this, if not you? There is no choice but to dare to be seen. Confront your vulnerabilities and get out there and do it. All this takes courage, self compassion and a strong sense of self worthiness.
Do you have it?
cc image by rosswebsdale