I have tried to write this blog post many times over the past few days. I have sat and contemplated the many topics that I could address, attempting to figure out my opening sentence. What is the line that I can write that will send my fingers to the right words to say for this topic?
The correct words never came, because focusing on any topic other than the one that is consuming my mind seems wrong. It is three days after the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., and my mind is enveloped in grief, anger, disbelief, and utter sorrow for all that was lost. Tragedies like this make us stop and think, they wake us up from the momentum fueled grind of the day-to-day. They force us to ask ourselves what the real issues are in our world. I recently wrote a post for this site about gun control and how it affects those of us in libraries. I said that our hands were tied when the government declares that guns are allowed into libraries, and that we should use the opportunity as a teachable moment. What else can we do, really?
That stance seems so inefficient and unaffected now, after the horror of Friday. I, like so many around me, feel utterly helpless in the wake of this tragedy. There has to be more. There has to be a power that we, as librarians, and patrons, and directors, can harness. There has to be a power that I, as an individual, can find in my life that will allow me to feel like part of the solution. The president of the American Association of School Librarians sent out an email with the following in response to Friday’s massacre:
“There is a saying that “In every child’s life there is one great teacher. Let it be you.” On Monday morning, when students and teachers return to your schools, let it be you who reaches out with kindness, compassion, and understanding so they have no doubt that we are there for them. Think about what you can do, share your ideas, and let’s unite to make a difference.”
So many Public Libraries work very closely with local schools, and all of them work closely with the community. It is up to all of us, not just the school librarians, to reach out with compassion and understanding, for each and every patron in our community who may be looking for any bit of solace that can be found in the resources available at their local library – for this painful moment in time, and beyond. It is what you and I can do in our corner of the world to take control of the helplessness, and start creating the solution for our future.
Our thoughts and hearts go out to everyone who has been affected by the events of Friday.