When I started this blog, my philosophy was that there is more to life than libraries, and libraries are a reflection of life–the two are intrinsically intertwined. My intention was to attract non-library types and library types alike–this is not strictly a professional blog. With any given post you may find recipes, photographs of celebrities, ruminations on being a parent, or a discussion of ebooks, librarianship, and the culture of libraries. I cannot write about just one topic when there are so many facets to life. I believed–still do–that diverse readers would find something to interest them and learn a bit about the issues libraries face along the way.
Of late, I have had difficulty finding anything of significance to say about libraries, although I’ve tried. It’s all being said elsewhere–you can find bandwagons to jump on all across the blogosphere. Right now, the trend is to denounce ebooks and libraries’ relationships with vendors and certain publishers. I see value in those posts; however, they don’t exactly inspire me.
What inspires me, as I’ve said before, are stories. And while there are so many stories out there for libraries to tell and share that have meaning and should be told, I realized that what inspires me the most is much closer to home.
My kids inspire me every day. They are doing things that I did not dream of doing when I was their ages. They are fearless–every one of them. If I am ever in doubt about the future of our society, I simply look to my kids. If they are representative of our future, then I think we will be okay.
My husband inspires me, too. He is my rock. He is the embodiment of hard work, perseverance, and altruism. When I need reassurance that all is well with the world, I need look no further than the man I’ve called my other half for almost 28 years.
My parents inspire me. They are in their mid seventies and have faced various health issues and setbacks. But they move forward. They are engaged and active and very much alive.
My father-in-law inspires me. He lost the love of his life almost three years ago, and yet he has moved on for the sake of his children and their children and himself. At 80+, he still works a full work day, every day, and he is generous to a fault.
I have friends that inspire me. They are always there ready to lend an ear or a word of encouragement or advice or provide a much needed moment of levity. These are the people I turn to regularly to help me make sense of my surroundings, my feelings, and my insecurities.
If you are having trouble finding inspiration, for whatever reason, look around you. Who do you love, and who loves you? Your kids? Your pets? Your partner? Your patrons? Your students? Your friends? Yourself? What motivates you? What makes you want to be better? I think that is something different for each of us.
If we all look for inspiration in the right places, then we can’t help but bring that inspiration back to work with us–wherever we work. We are all driven by differing passions. I believe that the most powerful initiatives are fueled by inspiration that is derived from our own, unique needs and desires. It is how we transfer and translate that inspiration into the greater good that makes the difference.
Find the source of your inspiration. Hone it. Internalize it. And then use it to promote what means the most to you in whatever venue you choose–libraries, your own life, other causes, friendships, family, all of the above–you name it. You own it.
The thing about life is that it is always evolving–ready to be embraced, challenged, or changed. The thing about libraries is that they are always there ready to cultivate, preserve, and represent life. It is a beautiful marriage of an institution able to represent life, and the life that is all around us all, every day.