To Be or Do, or Not to Be or Do: Is That the Question?


One of my all-time favorite treats:  quietly sitting on my back porch gazing at the beauty of nature.  The mist rising over the lake and glazing the sun.  The colors of the garden I have lovingly crafted.

The birds are chirping and busily hunting for breakfast; it’s early enough that the tree frogs are still serenading me.  Bandit, our manic little hummingbird, is  jealously guarding “his” feeder, perched either on the pool fence or in the crepe myrtle tree that overhangs the deck.

This is “being.”  I have not done enough being this summer.

Instead, I have been busily doing. Doing helps me prepare for the next school year. Having a strong school library program is paramount to me.  I want to be able to offer my teachers and students the resources and assistance they need to be successful.  I want to be well read in current YA lit so that I can suggest possible reads when students seem to be wandering aimlessly around the shelves. I want to be knowledgeable about the latest technology and online tools so that I can suggest the most appropriate ones for teachers to incorporate into their instruction.

All those “I want to be’s”….

Wanting to be knowledgeable has led to endless hours of “doing” this summer.  I finally completed my 2010-2011 Annual Report, I participated in the SCASL Summer Institute, I attended and presented at the Upstate Technology Conference.  I have read countless blogs, played with new-to-me online tools, skimmed through part of a backlog of last school year’s professional journals. I have devoured many YA titles (and found several gems) and collaborated with other SC media specialists to create Readers’ Advisory tools to promote our South Carolina Young Adult Book Award 2012 nominees.

All in preparation to craft the best school library program for the 2011-2012 school year.

And yet….

How ironic that in my summer quest “to be,” I have not enjoyed just being.

I love watching Bandit; each year I almost giddily anticipate his spring return.  His bright colors and passionate antics fill me with an inexplicable “everything is right with the world” feeling.

However, this morning as Bandit gallantly protected “his” feeder, I saw myself:  always poised to be alert and to act, and never just allowing myself the time to enjoy the scenery.  What if other school librarians learned or did something that I myself overlooked?


The question is not “to be or do, or not to be or do.”  No, both are necessary.  The question for me is, “When am I going to allow myself to be?”

This morning as I was savoring the peace in my own back yard, I remembered:  it is often in quiet contemplation that I receive inspiration.  What other excuse do I need to pour myself another cup of coffee and head out to my sanctuary?


Garden serenity

Inspire Your World!

“We must stop reacting to the world around us and start inspiring it!

For too long have we defined the core of our profession – service – as standing ready to serve. No one ever changed the world by standing ready. We do it through action. This is the time – this is the place – we are the people.” ~ Dave Lankes, “Libraries and Broadband:  Forging a New Social Compact”

Changing Nature of Libraries

In his recent presentation at the Delaware Library BTOP Launch, Dave Lankes, associate professor at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies, challenged several long-held beliefs that we as librarians have used to guide our work. He then  focused on the changing nature of libraries:

  • [from]quiet buildings with loud rooms to loud buildings with quiet rooms
  • [from] places of knowledge access to places of knowledge creation
  • [from] territory of the librarian to territory of the community

However, these changes are nothing new to those of us in the school library field.  Joyce Valenza and Buffy Hamilton have long been promoting these changes.

What Else is Changing?

What else have we been doing because “that’s the way it’s always been done”?  When we hear that statement, we should automatically reexamine the issue at hand.  This is a new day.  This is a new time.  And I am excited to be part of it!

Image Attribution:  Stock photo: beach, playa 6

Discovering New (to me) South Carolina Talent

Flag-map of South CarolinaPalmetto Pride

Does your heart ever swell with pride when you hear the “The Star Spangled Banner” played?  I may not be able to hit the high notes when I sing along, but my heart is soaring along with them each time I listen to our national anthem.

As an educator, does your heart ever swell with pride when one of your current or former students is recognized for his/her excellence?  I teach with one of my former students who makes me proud every time I have the privilege of working with her.

Media Mavens

And so it is with pride that I share the work of three of South Carolina’s own media specialists who have been or will soon be recognized for their excellence.

  • Lori June is the media specialist at Alice Drive Elementary School in Sumter, SC.  Recently she was contacted by the eChalk Academy Site requesting permission to feature her site on their page.  Way to go, Lori!  You’ll want to add Lori’s The View from Here blog to your reader.  In it she addresses issues of importance to school libraries.  Her reflections challenge me to consider my own practices.
  • Tamara Cox is the media specialist at Palmetto Middle School in Williamston, SC.  What a powerhouse!  She shares her passion for reading, technology, and teaching at the Eliterate Librarian.  Check out her blog for awesome ideas to incorporate into your program.  Thanks for sharing the details of your Gadget Petting Zoo, Tamara!
  • Lorena Swetnam is the media specialist at Blythewood Middle School in Blythewood, SC.  Lorena recently shared with me the website she created for her library.  Wow!  She has held nothing back in creating an inviting, informative, and well-organized site for her students and faculty.  The slide shows and often updated Library News posts are bound to capture the interest of her students and provide other media specialists with “snaggable” ideas.

Share the Wealth

Both seasoned and new media specialists can spark our imaginations and creativity through their online sharing.  Most of you reading this post are familiar with Joyce Valenza, Buffy Hamilton, Gwyneth Jones, Doug Johnson, Carolyn Foote, Cathy Nelson, and Heather Loy.

Who are some of your newest inspirational “finds” online?

Image attribution:

By Darwinek [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons