After I finished writing this piece, I realized it sounded like a retirement announcement. I assure you, that is not the case! Rather, a moment of reflection about my experience writing for KQ grew into a bit of a paean, and I thought you, my friends, might be interested to know what goes on in the squirrel’s nest inside my head.
On to the Squirrels!
I was very politely pushed by Dr. Joyce Valenza into applying to write for the Knowledge Quest online site back in 2018. I didn’t think anyone would be interested in anything a (then) hobbyist-librarian had to say about school librarianship. But Dr. V strongly suggested I send them some samples, and I was pleasantly surprised when I was invited to become a contributor to the KQ Blog.
I’ve continued to be surprised each year when I’m invited to keep writing for KQ. There are some incredible practitioners who share insightful, important observations and practices each month on the KQ site. They have very clear ideas and a generally professional tone. I, on the other hand, vary my topics and tone so much from month to month that I’m surprised I haven’t given myself whiplash.
Writing As Therapy
But each month, writing for KQ Blog has been like a little dose of therapy. I can share the things that are on my mind in the moment. Sometimes it might be tools I’ve found that others might find useful. Other times it might be a chance to think on paper about a current event that impacts school librarianship. If I’m feeling proud of something I accomplished, I get to share that, in the hopes that it will provide a reminder to readers to take pride in their own achievements. And sometimes, I can pull way back and do some meta-reflecting – like right now.
I am always surprised when people say they really liked something I read. I grew up thinking I was probably one of the weirdest kids in school. I embraced that as part of my identity in high school. And as an adult, it became a cornerstone of how I saw myself – the heroic weirdo trying to change the world. That anyone would find what I have to say worth their time to read is, therefore, a bit wild to me.
But as I start to embrace the idea that I’m no longer the young firebrand oddball, with knees that work without pain and a luscious mane of thick hair, I figure I might as well start to lean into the benefits of age. One of those benefits: Reflecting. Another: Giving unsolicited advice.
The Unsolicited Advice
So here it is: If I can do it, you can absolutely do it. I think too often in education, and especially in school librarianship, it’s easy to think we’re alone in our particular silo within the system. But you’re not alone.
And if people think what I have to say speaks to them, then there are DEFINITELY people out there who will find what you have to say important.
She’s Got the Library on Lock!
I had the great good fortune to spend a few minutes with the incredible Georgia school librarian Lauren Mobley at AASL. We’ve become online friends, and I am always amazed and impressed by the energy and enthusiasm she brings to everything she turns her hand to.
Lauren and Lynair Miller shared a wonderful poster session at AASL, “Black Girl Magic: How to Diversify and Light Up Your Library Collection”. While we were chatting, Lauren mentioned that she’d applied for the poster session after thinking, “I bet Steve would apply for it. If Steve can do it, so can I!” And I had to restrain myself from shouting, “YES!” I am just some weirdo who loves books and learning and thinks school librarianship is incredibly important.
I hope a lot of you are saying “Hey, that’s me! (But without the weirdo part, obvi.)” And I hope the next time you see an opportunity to share what you love, you’ll say, “If Steve can do it, so can I!”
Author: Steve Tetreault
After 24 years as a classroom English Language Arts teacher, Steve became a school librarian in January 2022. He has earned an M.Ed. (2006) and an Ed.D. (2014) in Educational Administration and Supervision, and completed an M.I. degree in Library and Information Science (2019). He is certified as a teacher, school library media specialist, supervisor, and administrator. He is an old dog constantly learning new tricks!