libraryMarch 16, 2020, a birthday that will live in infamy.  Knowing my day was occurring on a day that will be know in the middle of Coronavirus – honestly I had no idea what to think about this.  The one word that kept coming into my mind was the word JUST.  ( I was just trying to figure out how I would put together a proposal of why our school library is one of the best libraries for a contest).

“Libraries aren’t just for books. They’re often spaces that transform into what you need them to be: a classroom, a cyber café, a place to find answers, a quiet spot to be alone. It’s actually kind of magical. This week, we have stories of people who roam the stacks and find unexpected things that just happen to be exactly what they required.“ – This American Life podcast – The Room of Requirement

Libraries in my life have been hallowed ground, not JUST storing houses for information, books, etc, but places of refuge or a place where I could belong, where I did not fit in anywhere else.  As I grew up, I saw so many JUSTS in others, and wanted to help them find what their JUST was, or where they could find it.  I hoped they would find the library as a center where they can come and find their JUST and realize, sometimes a JUST is perfect and sometimes it does not have to be JUST as well.  My JUSTS are libraries are not just book depositories, they are not JUST quiet places for work- Libraries ARE JUST for everyone, just because there IS something in every nook and cranny for ANYONE, JUST if the person that is the librarian believes in an open minded purpose of the library and JUST if the patrons that come into a library will JUST believe there can be more 🙂

Coronavirus is not JUST a passing fad, when you see the statistics in other countries of the numbers slowly start to take off.  It is easy to think so when you see our schedules that seem to be breaks, and not for the deeper reasons.  Deeper reasons emerge when you JUST think about others, of the age bracket most affected, that are part of our own family.  When I hit the fifth grocery store, counting Family Dollars, seeing that shelves were empty of toilet paper, anything disinfectant, Orange Juice and tons more (yes Ramen noodles) and thought – I am glad I already had toilet paper and wondered couldn’t JUST one place basic supplies and a deeper thought hit me – I wish that so many people would JUST think of others when it came to leaving something behind – anything behind for others- it made me sad to come across this realization.

Couldn’t it be possible to JUST have a birthday that did not fall on a time period that many had to be self quarantining? Then I realized that was as selfish as earlier wishing for the fact that so many others did not horde everything I could not find on those very shelves.  I did JUST have the best birthday thanks to the 90+ family / friends that stopped during their day and wished me Happy Birthday.  It could have been the loudest birthday, it could have been the quietest birthday, but I realized for many nonvisible reasons, it was JUST a very very good day to have a birthday.

I have loved noticing that there is a line between being JUST a teacher and being an educator.  I love that ANYONE can be JUST a teacher and others can be more than JUST a teacher, and I found these people in all professions.  JUST sometimes, the not so obvious is right in front of us.  It could be hidden from us from stereotypes or prior beliefs or lack of those. Some of the best Educators are those individuals that take the time to let you share a portion of what they know, sharing more time with you, pulling from life aspects that are really there and easy to relate to, taking the time to stress the importance on a  a personal and educational level, than individuals known JUST as teachers. 

There are a hundred more JUSTS waiting for us to turn from negatives to positives. What are yours JUSTS on this wonderful St. Patrick’s Day?





About Harry Brake

Employee of Woodbridge High School, Library Media Specialist, Media crazy! :)
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