Every year my husband makes a Thanksgiving dinner for the students in his life skills class. He leads the students in making a menu, discussing their favorite dishes, and learning about the holiday. In the twenty-two years he has been teaching special education, this tradition has taken different forms. One year, he did a full-on historical-only perspective and he and his students tried foods that would have been part of that first Thanksgiving, which, if memory serves, included some sort of dried fish and other dishes that made me glad I worked at a different school and didn’t have to join him for lunch. When he taught middle school, his students made the whole meal and proudly invited their families to the meal. One year he and his students fed over 100 people, and they sat together laughing, telling stories, and enjoying each other–thankful for the time to share. For both my husband and I, Thanksgiving is the best holiday. We like the focus on friends, family, and gratitude.
So, for this blog post, I would like to share my gratitude. First, thank you to everyone who came to learn and play with us in Salt Lake City. I am so grateful for that time with friends who feel like family. Thank you also to those who would have liked to come but found it necessary to stay home this year. The learning and playing you did at home was equally important and vital to our success as school librarians. We need you.
Thank you to everyone who has written a blog post or article for KQ, authored a professional book or paper, prepared a presentation for a conference or webinar, or presented information in any other fashion in the past year. You lead by helping to grow our profession. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read these blogs, articles, and books and attended or watched the presentations. You lead by modeling inquiry and self-directed learning to your colleagues and students. We need you.
Thank you to everyone who has stood up in front of students, faculty, administrators, parents, school boards, and even legislators to explain about information skills and why learners need guidance through the mess of misinformation and disinformation we find in today’s world. You lead by guiding learners through the maze of what seems like infinite resources to find those that are reliable. We need you.
Thank you to everyone who gives their precious time to running local, state, regional, and national organizations by holding and running for official leadership offices and serving on committees. You lead through organization and collaboration, allowing for formal mechanisms that bring us together for a common purpose. We need you.
Thank you to everyone who speaks up for our learners’ freedom to learn, think, and read. You lead in courage, stepping out of your comfort zone and standing up for what is right, real, and necessary. We need you.
Thank you to everyone who puts a book into a child’s hand and whispers, “Try this one and tell me what you think.” Thank you to everyone who shouts out titles, book talks in boisterous ways, and shares stories on social media for all of us to hear. You lead with excitement for reading, the joy of learning, and the immensity of what is possible to discover in the school library and the human record. We need you.
Thank you to everyone who shares your stories and the stories of others with those around you. You lead with compassion, bringing comfort in the hard times and celebrating the joyful times. We need you.
School libraries transform lives and learning. The world needs school librarians. School Librarians Are Leaders; Every Learner Needs a School Librarian. You are precious. Thank you for you.