We do the best we can for kids. One of the million things I loved about being a librarian was bending rules (just a little) for those kids who didn’t fit into the school mold. Most of the things we do everyday we forget all about…but someone might remember something we did…whether that something affected them for good or for ill.
Librarians have a wonderful opportunity to provide a safe place for students. We never really know what a student might be dealing with. So, when in doubt, it is best to err on the side of kindness. You might never know how much that simple kindness meant.
Or thirty years later you might get an email like the one I got a few days ago:
I just wanted to say thank you for all that you did for me while you were at Gananda. I remember how as a first grader, I had to get special permission to take out more books from the library than normally allowed…and how even the massive weight of the 21 books I signed out once I had that permission could not curb my enthusiasm for reading them. Later in elementary school, you used to let me stay after school and use the Apple IIe in the library to program in BASIC, improve my typing, and sometimes just play computer games. (Imagine what fourth and fifth graders today would think of that technology!) In middle school and high school, you and others would often turn a blind eye to when I would sneak out of the lunch room to come down to the library and pore over maps, read books, or enjoy some time to my introverted self, away from the cafeteria social scene in which I never quite fit. You encouraged me, nurtured (and at times indulged) my insatiable curiosity, and put up with my shenanigans (which were more often than not a result of being bored). I have a lifelong thirst for learning that certainly comes from within and was encouraged by my parents, but you and a few select teachers really went above and beyond your role as educators to foster my creativity and keep me engaged, even when I was bored, frustrated, and couldn’t wait to do something else. I’m sure you’re enjoying your retirement, but you left some awfully big shoes to fill in the library!