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Safe Haven in the Midst of Chaos

by Robbie Barber

I called this past school year (SY22) the #HardestYearEver. It was no exaggeration. I had the added joy of contracting COVID (my first time) the last week of school and missed attending graduation. I wanted to take a moment to think about my relationships with students and faculty during this turbulent year.

This year, with students in the building again, I found my library becoming the safe haven it's meant to be again. I had students who couldn't take the noise of the cafeteria sit in the library, dual enrollment students who asked to stay and work, a student who had lost family members and just needed a constant person to say hello to, and another who was a full-time online student but came by occasionally to mentor other students and had her own family issues. By the end of the school year, she was a regular fixture in the library.

This year, more than any other year, I had teachers come by to just sit and listen to the music. I provided spaces in the library for teachers to just sit. I always put on 70s music when Dr. S. was coming in 6th period. I offered treats on Tuesdays to teachers and staff. I emailed memes to start the day with a smile.

I had more classes in the library this year, though sadly not because I was teaching more. Instead, it was easier for some to have their classes assigned in the library or use the space. That's okay. That is what the space is designed for. And there are plenty of nooks and crannies for individuals and small groups to use without interfering with the class space.

I hope the next school year brings more joy. I hope more students find their safe place. I hope the teachers know they can visit. I hope they all remember that their school librarian is here to help, listen, collaborate, and teach.

"The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library." Albert Einstein

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