Aspirations

My son’s PreK class at Creative Play Center recently celebrated Career Week. During one of my co-oping shifts, his teacher read to the class from a book about different careers. In a classic teachable moment, Ms. Cory asked each of the co-opers (all moms that day) to tell the class what we do for work. Because the question of “what is a professor” had just come up, I told the class I used to be a professor and that I was also a writer and editor and in school to become a librarian. It felt so good saying it out loud to (hopefully) future patrons. Ms. Cory pointed out that I had left something off the list: my mom job. There’s a reason we all love Ms. Cory so much.

Over the next few days, the kids made drawings of their future professions. My son’s: garbage truck driver and deicer driver, of course, although after running a mock restaurant last week (where they served up quesadillas, chips, olives and lemonade to family members), he’s added controlling space ships and running a restaurant to his future ambitions list. At the week’s end, Ms. Cory sent her students home with business cards: magnets she made with their name, professional title and a miniature color copy of their drawings.

The highlight of my week was listening to my son and a school friend in the backseat of our car showing each other their business cards, talking about their future jobs. Hers: a shell collector.

“A what?” I heard.

“A shell collector!”

“A smell collector?”

“No! A shell collector!”

“Oh, I thought you said a smell collector.” Giggle-giggle.

Adorable.

They also talked about visiting each other’s houses. My son explained that “a long long long time from now, you won’t be able to come over because my mom will be working in a library.”

It’s these moments that make my heart swell with pride, knowing that all my head-down work on the weekends for now–and apparently the long long long foreseeable future–is teaching him, and me, something invaluable. Discipline. Dedication. Perseverance. Grit. A call to service. All of these and so much more.

Every week I am learning amazing new things about the profession. I felt like I was back in our town hall meeting as I worked my way through the module on user studies. My heart opened again and again learning about global librarianship. I had one brilliant Aha! moment learning about community informatics. Espousing how libraries create value in communities? Check! Bridging the digital divide with community stakeholders? Sign me up. I so look forward to delving into emerging technologies in two weeks. There’s already so much to explore, so much to get excited about.

How fortunate I am to be able to pursue this degree while living in this engaged community, with its wonderfully responsive and connected library. I cannot thank Pleasant Hill Library enough for its role in helping me realize this long-contemplated aspiration of mine.

This is the kind of thing that libraries do: respond to our needs and inspire us to aspire. All it takes is a visit (in person or online) and a conversation (in person or online). Really. It’s that simple. Here’s an example: I’ve been practically begging for meditation and mindfulness programming (and I’ve been begging for a meditation space in the new library–I mean, who doesn’t want a meditation yurt?) on every survey and multiple times in the Pleasant Hill Library’s Idea Box. And guess what? I am signed up to attend a meditation workshop at–wait for it–the Pleasant Hill Library. For FREE!

My future meditation yurt. Photo credit: A Camera Story on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-ND

Libraries, through programming and collections, and librarians, whose job it is to guide and connect, respond to collective and individual needs, with every interaction. We actually don’t even need to know exactly what our needs and aspirations are. A librarian is trained to ask the right questions to help us figure it out. I cannot wait to be a part of such a dynamic, responsive and connective institution. I will be someday soonish, unless you ask my son.