my happy librarian-heart

July 10, 2006

The sight of my workplace this morning made me cry. Not in the way one might expect, mind you: these were tears of relief, and tears of joy. See, my school was vandalized in the early morning hours. I found out about it via an early morning phone call from my grandparents who had seen it on the news. They called in a panic, on my behalf, telling me that the school had been ransacked and fire extinguishers sprayed throughout.

What you should know at this point is that such action has the very likely potential to completely destroy a library—to completely destroy the work of this past year, in my case. I have spent a year designing and buying furniture, installing technology, buying new books, sorting through donated ones, cataloging, shelving, organizing, re-organizing . . . basically anything I could think of that was needed to turn a room and a library grant into a functioning school library.

What you should also know is that I am prone towards perfectionism at times. As a result, one of my work stresses is that it is difficult for me to find the time to keep it clean. Libraries are surprisingly difficult to keep clean, with the tendency for dust to settle in nooks and crannies, for old books to harbor mites, and for little hands to leave gifts of candy wrappers, pencil marks, and the like. So I notice accumulated dirt and worry about it.
Well this morning’s discovery was two-fold:

1. The library was wonderfully unappealing to would-be vandals. They walking in, picked up a few magazines, threw them on the floor, and left. The priceless collection of knowledge was left untouched.
2. Thanks to the school-wide mess, a cleaning service was hired [not the usual for our small, do-it-yourself school. They cleaned the library. They not only cleaned it—they treated it as carefully as if it were some proud librarian’s child :-) They dusted every nook and cranny, even lifting up magazines and books to dust underneath. I have never seen it sparkle so, or smell to fresh.

So I stared, gasped, touched surfaces . . . and smiled through my teary eyes. Blessings come from the strangest sources. And this morning the message to me was to let go, to not try to do it all, and to sometimes, every once in a while, be ok with just being.


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