The end of June is never really the start to the summer vacation, is it? Yes, the pace is slower and students are gone, but there’s usually Stuff To Do before real relaxation stats. For me, that meant a number of things.
First was the AISL Summer Institute on Incubating Creativity in the Library. This one day session gave me some ideas for moving forward with the library in September and when we eventually move across the street. Ideas like “kindness rocks” or asking the LS steel drummers and MS ukuleles to come do concerts had been in the back of my mind for a while, but now? They’re more front and center. Our goal is to create something like “Fun Fridays @ Cox”, possibly including Middle School students, and trying to help students’ social emotional learning in a neutral space.
Then came ALA’s Annual Conference, virtual for the second year in a row. This year there was actually a great group of presentations and opportunities to meet with vendors and authors. And, if I do say so myself, a presentation on the “what’s next” aspect of our professional lives post-COVID that was better than most presentations I’ve been to. Ok, ok: I was part of the panel. I’d post my slides but honestly, the big takeaway from my part of the panel was “I’m exhausted… the pace of change since March 2020 is unsustainable… the big missing was self-care and that’s got to change“.
Other ALA sessions attended included on on library leadership post-COVID (no real takeaways beyond “digital learning is going to be a thing in the future”); a First Year Experience interest group discussion (think about this: students starting in September will take until October to feel as though they “own” the campus; what happens when that’s nearly half the school population, in addition to the other half refinding their way around?); what to do about problem titles in the collection (one answer: use them as teachable moments); and one exploring the Latinx/LGBTQ title/subject issue (it’s important to remember that students look to the collection to learn about themselves and others–what will they see when they look at yours? the dominant “norm” is rarely identified [eg, Asian Americans=subject headings, White/Euro Americans=no headings] and where the books ae located is also problematic, like LGBTQ in with deviancy and next to the “norm” of family).
All that was followed by two days of Tier One Circle Training, part of Milton’s Restorative Justice commitment. which I can see having lots of uses at work. There are many ways I can see this helping with students (and that social emotional learning) as well as faculty. It might be interesting to try with my staff, too, but we’re such a small department that I’m not sure it will help. Or that there’s a need. We’ll be doing more training in August and I’m interested to see how the entire school community uses this to help build relationships and trust.
So, what’s next? Well, I have to hire an assistant (fingers crossed that is smooth and soon!), and there’s a project from last year that needs to be finished. Beyond that, I’m jealously guarding my July as “me time” to read, relax, process the past year and work on personal stuff. August will be here soon enough, bringing with it processing all the new books we’ve ordered and not just setting up for the new year but literally moving back into our office and workroom (they were emptied down to the walls so that electrical and HVAC work could be done). But, like Scarlett, I’ll think about all that tomorrow. Or next week. Or…