Rachel in Review: An Open Valentine to Librarians
You rock. Do you know that?
Take a good look at yourselves and tell me I’m wrong.
Pop culture may depict you as straight-laced, shushing fuddy duddies — but I know the truth. You’re kind, curious, fun, creative, clever, hardworking, and generally, well . . . brilliant.
To my children, you’re celebrities. To me — trying to raise well-read young people on a budget — you’re angels.
You’ve never batted an eyelash when I show up with four kids and a laundry basket. Or when I skip the grown-up books and check out a stack of YA and middle grade novels that are pretty obviously not going to be read by my children. Or when, a few weeks later, I sidle sheepishly up to the reception desk to pay down my $50+ fine for overdue books.
During those long months in 2009 when my two-year-old threw a screaming tizzy fit every. single. time. we had to leave the library, you calmly looked the other way and went on about your business. (Thank you for that.)
You’ve kept your cool throughout every story hour. When my son toddled up (for the fifty bazillionth time that day) to have yet another close up look at the illustrations, you gently reminded him, “On your bottom, sweetie,” and kept right on reading. When my daughter just had to have the red chair . . . or the pinkish purplish sparkly crayon . . . or the letter “E” on the alphabet rug . . . you always managed to defuse the situation with grace and dignity before launching into another rollicking round of “Gray Squirrel, Gray Squirrel.”
You’ve answered every question we’ve ever brought to your desks — to the best of your ability, with respectful attention, and (usually) even with straight faces:
Can I check out all the Elephant and Piggie books?
Do you have any new Calvin and Hobbes [since last week]?
Yes, but I’m looking for a book about a fairy princess knight. Where can I find that?
If it weren’t for you, I would never have discovered Bear Snores On or Cowboy and Octopus or Flora and Ulysses — and I’m awfully glad I did. If it weren’t for you, many other readers would never have discovered The Right Word or Garmann’s Summer or Mikis and the Donkey — and I’m awfully glad they have.
I used to think that librarians were prim and boring — that you all wore appliqued cardigans, peered grumpily over half-moon spectacles, and spent your time fretting over dog-eared pages in yellowed tomes.
Now I know better.
You’re daring advocates for literacy, free speech, diversity, and equal access to information for all.
You’re my heroes.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
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About Rachel in Review:
Life for this kid lit enthusiast and working mother of four can be messy. Confusing. Painful. Funny. Breathtakingly beautiful.
Enter the Eerdmans books. So, so many of our books, whether they’re bedtime books for babies or coming-of-age novels for young adults, seem to have a single uncannily common quality about them: they just fit. These wise, wonderful books somehow manage to tie into — and by so doing, help me sort out — the knotty complexities of life as I actually experience them.
Come along with me as I read life, live books, and put the two together. Things around here may occasionally get a bit random, but with a little luck, they’ll never be boring.