The Glass Half Full: Focusing on the Positive

Recently, I was able to attend my state library conference, the MAME Conference, for the first time. While there we heard from speakers like Colby Sharp, John Shu, and author Jewels Rhodes Parker. Needless to say, it was two days full of inspirational learning. One of the sessions was presented by Amy Hermon (@HermonAmy). She is a school librarian who has to split her time between several libraries in her district, and yet she has found a way to focus on the positives that this position allows her to have. I sat in her session titled “Live Your Best…Library!” thinking how easy it is to get sucked into the negative and that sometimes you need to be reminded of how to keep looking at the glass half full.

Here are the five ways I am going to live my best…library:

Be Thankful for What You Do Have

Amy’s presentation started with a quote by Oprah Winfrey, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” If I am grateful for the things that are working then it makes it easier to try to tackle the problems that exist. She shared the need to focus on the potential in a situation rather than the things that cannot be done.

How Does This Help Me in My School Library?

As educators, we are often inundated with the newest idea or initiative. Asking myself “How does this help me in my school library?” will allow me to keep my purpose in mind. I have to stop and say, “Is this something that will help the students I teach?” By doing so I will keep my students at the focus of what I do.

Accept What I Cannot Change

Most people know the saying, “Give me the strength to accept what I cannot change, the courage to change what I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” As an educator recognizing this difference is important because there are often things we cannot change, but there is a lot that we can. As a school librarian, advocacy is a big part of my job, but I have to make sure that I am advocating for things that I can actually impact. If I begin to fight for things that cannot be changed, then I all am doing is whining, and that does not help anyone.

Surround Myself with Energy Givers

My mom used to tell me that there are two types of people in the world. There are energy givers and energy suckers. Sometimes there are people in your life who give you energy. They are the ones who allow you to look at the situation in a positive way. Then there are the energy suckers, the ones who suck the positivity right out of you. Amy mentions these people as the ones who always say, “Here is why that won’t work…” By recognizing who gives me energy and who sucks it, I can make sure not to be weighed down by negativity. Instead, I can surround myself with those who are focused on improving learning opportunities for my students.

Be the Change You Wish to See

It is important to recognize the need to try new things. Our profession is ever-changing and redefining what a school library looks like. It is imperative that we are willing to step outside our comfort zones and fail forward with our students. We need to look at challenges as an opportunity and celebrate how awesome our job really is!

If you want to hear about Amy Hermon’s session and more you can listen to her podcast called “School Libraries United” at


Author: Kelly Hincks

I am the librarian at Detroit Country Day Lower School in Bloomfield Hills, MI. I have worked as a school librarian for the past eleven years. I was a classroom teacher for four years prior to that. I have worked in charter, public, and private schools. My favorite thing about being a school librarian is the opportunities I have to work both with students and teachers. I love the co-teaching opportunities and connections I have been able to make! I have served on AASL committees as a member and chair. I currently serve as secretary of my state association, Michigan Association of School Librarians (MASL).

Categories: Advocacy/Leadership, Blog Topics, Professional Development

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