Awards. If you know me, you know book awards are big events in my world. My various social media accounts are witness to this: I shout from the rooftops and from behind the keyboard to celebrate honors bestowed upon the written word. And on the occasion when I felt there were not enough awards for books, I went and created one.
So I do love awards. For books. But when it comes to people – to awards for librarians doing what they do – I get a bit quieter. Y’all, let me be real: as a professional, when I read the amazing, celebrated, award-lauded accomplishments of other librarians, I am in awe. The awe is often followed by a ‘I am not good enough’ moment. A ‘is there anything they don’t do?’ moment. A ‘how on Earth do they do X-Y-and-Z when I can barely survive this day’ moment. Please don’t get me wrong – I am inspired by my colleagues near and far and the innovative work they’re doing each and every day. But the doubt, the comparison, is there and it’s real. And maybe you, like me, have these moments. So what do we do?
Reading the words of Theodore Roosevelt may help: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” When we compare ourselves to others, we allow our joy to be taken away. Ugh. That’s awful-sounding. We need more joy, less comparison.
What we do in our libraries, with our resources, for our learners cannot be compared. The joyful moments are there, big and small alike – moments where things work, when our students learn and ask and create and find. Those awesome moments occur because of YOU.
So today, YOU win the Awesome Librarian Award. Yes, YOU! The first grader who you allowed to check out an extra book? You win for kindness! The third grader who remembered how to log in to Destiny? You win for patience! The teacher who asks for a recommendation for read-aloud? You win for perseverance! The child who shows up in the library early each morning just because? You win for friendliness! The colleagues who email requests at the last minute and you reply? You win for timeliness! The hours spent running a book fair, hosting book groups, organizing an author visit, starting a makerspace? You win for passion! The time you tried a new technology with students for the first time? You win for courage!
For these and all the other moments that bring the library and literature to life: you win the Awesome Librarian Award (or The ALA…quite fitting, really). You create joyful library moments. You make a difference. You win. There is no comparison.
Stay strong, friends. Finish the year with passion and as much energy as you can muster. You are a winner, after all.
Cheers, y’all! –arika