I have been fortunate over the past few years to be able to morph from FT children's librarian/manager to retiree to consultant and educator. I really meant to just do a little of this and that after retirement but found my ability to say no has apparently deserted me.
This fall my yes's led to my second year of YS consulting for the 28 member library Southwest (WI) Library system; commuting to UW-Madison iSchool to teach the on-campus grad class on Public Library Youth Services; an 8 week CE class on the basics of youth services and a brand new, albeit temporary, gig as YS consultant for my old home system, the 32 member Winding Rivers Library System, while they search for a full-time replacement for the former consultant. I added to that attendance and presenting at the MN, WI and WA state library conferences, a stray webinar or two. Jeez.
All that was planned and booked long before what became an emotionally wrenching summer that made preparing much of anything impossible from May-August. So understandably I hit September and all the commitments for the next few months feeling like this:
The good news, though, is that all the project management skills and comfort and meditation skills I learned over the years helped calm the madness, get some clarity on planning and prioritizing, do some comforting and heart-self-healing and made it possible to enter fall feeling like things weren't spiraling out of control. I am filling up my time with things I love: family, friends, teaching, consulting and spending time outdoors.
Which brings me to one of the things that I love the most and makes me feel the most hopeful, the most excited, the most astounded and the most thankful that I get to be part of this great big thing called librarianship....road trips to libraries!!
My new four month consulting job requires me to travel to all 32 libraries (plus 7 branches) before Dec. 31. This means I get to travel to a wide range of libraries, primarily in small and rural communities, and talk to a wide range of staffers who work with children and teens. I get to hear how they run their library good. I also get to put my head together with theirs to listen to and talk out problems and issues and sing their praises. It's pretty sweet.
Today was the first day of many library trips. It was crispy cool, sunny and bright, and I traveled up and down the hills and valleys of the driftless region drinking in the views of fall colors, farms, vistas, small towns, rivers and at the end of each leg of the journey a warm welcome from library colleagues and a chance to dig into the guts of librarianship. I think that makes a perfect day.
As busy or as hard as life gets, it's this stuff that keeps me going. And I can't wait for the next stop.