The following poem was inspired by Taylor Mali’s “What Teachers Make” and was created as a both a tribute to librarians and libraries and a summary of sorts of what I have learned in Professor Michael Stephens’ HyperLinked Library Course from San Jose State.
I was invited to dinner one night recently and during the meal one of the guests said in a tone meant to get my attention
… the problem with libraries and librarians is
What’s a person going to learn from someone who decided her best option in life was to become a librarian?
He reminds the other dinner guests that it’s true what they say about librarians and libraries:
They are no longer necessary — after all we have Google.
I decide to bite my tongue instead of his and resist the temptation to remind the dinner guests that it’s also true what they say about …
Well never mind, we’re eating, and this is polite conversation.
I mean, you’re a Librarian, Tracie. Be honest. What do you make?
And I wish he hadn’t done that— asked me to be honest—
because, you see, I have this policy about honesty and ass-?kicking: if you ask for it, then I have to let you have it.
You want to know what I make?
I make information available to every member of our community regardless of their race, religion, academic or socio-economic level.
I can make a homeless man feel like he can read the paper as if he were John D Rockefeller and a PhD student weep with joy at finding that elusive resource.
I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could learning Coding and Robotics
What … what is that you 3-D printed? A prosthetic hand for your friend? Awesome.
I make kids sit through 40 minutes of story telling in interactive bliss.
Never, once saying:
No you may not work in groups.
No, you may not ask a question.
And they, Never once asking to go to the bathroom.
You want to know why?
Because in the library they are never bored.
I make barriers fall and dreams come true.
Sure you can use the books, the Internet, and the green-screen recording studio too.
I make users smile.
Welcome to the library, what can I help you find today?
And feel valued when I invite them to participate:
Hi. This is Ms. Landry calling from the library, I hope I haven’t called at a bad time.
We are redesigning the library and its services and I just wanted to know what YOU thought.
I make users see the library for what it really is and what it can be.
So you still want to know what I make?
I make people wonder,
I make them question.
I make them criticize.
I make author’s share their stories and their processes.
And information consumers into information creators and curators.
I make them read, read, read.
I make them unlock their hidden talents.
I make them take risks.
What you’ve never butchered a pig before? Let me show you how it’s done.
And make them learn that failing is okay.
That did not turn out like you wanted it to. Here let’s try it again.
I make people connect
and each other
with their pasts
and their yet unrealized futures.
So, let me break it down for you, so you know what I say is true:
Libraries and librarians make a difference! Now what about you?
Visit your library today!
Tracie is the High School Librarian and Technology Integrationist as well as the the International Baccalaureate Extended Essay Coordinator at the American Community School at Beirut. After spending twenty years teaching History and Theory of Knowledge to high school students in a number of international schools around the world, her passion for helping students find information, evaluate it, and construct knowledge combined with a desire to leverage technological tools to enhance that process led her to pursue a degree in information science. Tracie is currently completing her MLIS at San Jose State University where she has focused on Information Instruction and Emerging Technology.