Gathering Quality and Refuge

Monday through Friday – looking around the WHS Library Media Center, I was impressed. Academic Challenge students were on computers at various stations behind the circulation desk, in the back collection office, Independent Study students were sprawled out preparing for presentations and projects, Medtech students also from Delaware Tech were interspersed working on their assignments being remote from the campus, Monday at least 5 requests for new books for our collection (by students and faculty), phone ringing every period for students requested in different classes, offices, teachers for specific needs, chromebooks being serviced and loaned out every other period, organizing and packing Christmas donated decorations from the lobby, to the library, running reports to monitor the age of a specific part of the library collection against the items being checked out, creating promotions for the month of January to bring out items that patrons would not be otherwise aware of, attending webinars for SORA, the Delaware Library Association, YALSA, Governor’s Outstanding Service Volunteer Awards, calling Read Aloud in Georgetown, DE as well as other libraries to distribute texts to libraries in need, calling the administrative offices to clarify requirements on a specific scholarship, and on top of all that, realizing that the students need that prepared hot tea, coffee, hot chocolate, snack, or extra sofa cushion in the library to bring the stress of what COVID has brought to our doorstep in schools and redirect to another location so students can find a haven in the library – that is what often many do not see.

It is vital, VITAL that the presence of certified librarians, as well as the presence of literacy media skills are always available to students, 24/7 – in a world that throws so much information at students in such a rapid-fire time period, the role of a certified librarian is the cog that connects the world and some sanity and ease to the very students trying to find it.

I was amazed at how packed, crowded, and Grand Central Station-like our library was this week, and never, despite a high level of stress and need being requested, was grateful for it.

It is a constant sign of the needs of students today. Many never will realize, see, or experience the urgency of needs students feel from period to period and yet, this fact does not make these needs any less.

(Is that the longest sentence you ever read? Hopefully you are getting the idea of what certified librarians need to do on a weekly, daily, and hourly basis to meet the mental, academic, and social needs of successful students today.

Fast Forward to Saturday, January 15th, 2022. Perhaps one of the greatest outdoor classrooms, the nature trail This one specifically, The Vince Morris Trail as Chapel Branch. Unlikely dog walkers made up of waist-high youngsters, I never thought I’d se the day where Dane, Wriggley, and Amaya could be walked by such young students and yet, there they were, there we were. (There was one point where young Caleb, was HANGING ON to Wriggley, while Wriggley was pulling him while Caleb was HANGING ONTO the leash while sliding on the ground behind him, – yes, about 15 feet at least. Caleb never let go, not once. I thought I was watching an old western – Caleb as cowboy and Wriggley wild Mustang, and yet, the hijinx and laughs made the day even more amazing).

Yes it was 22 degrees and quite cold and yet, all that disappeared when we noticed the beauty, solace, and calming around us, even though the lot of us were spread put and everywhere. Community members, youth, neighbors, representatives of our town, we were all together with potential on this chilly, frozen Monday morning.

It was magnificent. You might not see the connection between the two but the details that many do not see, and that you might see upon closer look, make the difference. Just like the details of that ice of the picture here, caught in between the limbs of the downed tree, at first, I was seeing a tree toppled onto a duck box protector.

Closer look revealed this unique capture of ice frozen into the limbs of the downed tree. Many take for granted what they see or know what a library space and librarian can do for others, same thing with a potential nature area. Yet, these two spaces, the library and have the potential to hold large massed of individuals form all walks of life, and provide services that many do not even realize are possible. That is the beauty of inquiry, the beauty of taking part and putting yourself in the mix to make positive change in the middle of chaos, making a difference.

As the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service approaches, I hope many put themselves into situations where they learn something new about thew world around them, add something to better this world they have learned something new about, and learn how to add something for others in the future. That is the powerful legacy Dr. King left that keeps on repackaging and presenting itself in different forms today. We are the lucky patrons of that gift, and the gathering of our potential is limitless.

It makes the fire n each of us that much warmer at night!

About Harry Brake

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