HEre’s a view of my morning run along the canal in downtown Indy. Beautiful running weather (at 37 degrees!) but no rain like yesterday morning. Lots of great art and architecture along this path that you can see on this google map of the run:
Today I received an email from a student that caused me to stop and reflect. Well, to be fair, I read it and quickly shot off an email response and didn’t give it much thought. But then it occurred to me that there’s plenty to reflect on here. First, I’m not at work today (well not the usual sense of work)- I’m in another state, at a library conference. So kudos to me for my timely response to a “reference question”, right? [insert glowing compliments here].
But more importantly, the question tells a story. The question came from a music grad student at Baylor with whom I’d worked in the past. Each Fall, for more than a decade, I’ve been fortunate to be a part of the School of Music’s graduate research methods course, working alongside wonderful colleagues from the SOM who see the value of libraries and librarians and who are willing to share the stage with me to help guide their students through the morass of electronic tools and resources that can help them navigate through the metaphoric sea of information. More on that later.
Here’s the email I received (name withheld to protect the innocent) and below it, my reflections.
From: IDENTITY REMOVED@baylor.edu>
Date: April 11, 2013, 2:55:54 PM EDT
To: “Towers, Sha”
Subject: Google Reader is closing!
You got me hooked on Google’s RSS in Research Methods last semester and now they’re closing it! I’m heart-broken! It’s so sad. What am I supposed to use now? What would you recommend?
Anyway, I hope you’re having a great day!
As I thought more about this email, there were several things that stood out to me.
BTW, I told her to check out Feedly.com – where I just finished moving my own google reader universe.
So you if you’re still reading and you happen to remember (or glance back up at the title of this blogpost), you’re probably thinking I’m patting myself on the back for “making a difference” in the life of this student. But that’s only part of the story. The other part is that this email, this experience of helping people, this “being a librarian” is rewarding…fulfilling…meaningful. This email made me stop and realize that this work, this job, this vocation, makes a difference to me.
Ran across a phrase this weekend that spoke to me and that summed up nicely what running has meant for me lately. It was in an editorial by David Willey, Editor-in-Chief of Runner’s World magazine:
” . . . [I] felt my senses shift from desk-bound and stressed out to alert and alive.”
“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” -Peter Drucker
“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.”
Ann asked me to check a book out from the library to read to her class and she shared with me this beautiful ending to the book:
I started to wonder if San Pablo really was the most beautiful place in the world. I wasn’t sure my grandmother had ever been anyplace else, but I still thought she’d know.
“Grandma,” I said, is it?”
“Is what?” she said.
“Is San Pablo the most beautiful place in the world?”
My grandmother made a little face.
“The most beautiful place in the world,” she said, “is anyplace.”
“Anyplace?” I repeated.
“Anyplace you can hold your head up. Anyplace you can be proud of who you are.”
“Yes,” I said.
But I thought, where you love somebody a whole lot, and you know that person loves you, that’s the most beautiful place in the world.
The Most Beautiful Place in the World, by Ann Cameron
Ran across this quote this weekend that has a universally applicable message:
“Part of her initial task on arrival was to understand the history and community that she was becoming a part of.”
Over and over again in life I see so many people that fail to embrace this listening, observing, learning spirit. They rush in and take charge, looking to make a name for themselves, having no regard for the history and culture of a community. If each of us sought to understand first, to listen first, we would all be wiser and the world would be a better place.
This quote comes from: Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle by The Countess of Carnarvon – a fabulous must read for any Dowton Abbey fans!
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
- Mark Twain
Today is Diadeloso, Baylor’s “Day of the Bear” celebration. It’s a day the students (mostly) have off from classes and the library is a little quieter than most days. But the real reason Diadeloso is important to me is because twenty two years ago, Diadeloso was my “first date” with Ann – the love of my life. It was a great day not only because of our first date, but because we’d been friends for the past year while dating other people and finally (just the night before) came to the realization that we really liked each other! Back in those days (he says in his old-timey narrator voice), Diadeloso was held on what is now the parking lot in front of the Student Life Center and Baylor Science Building. Back then that spot was the practice field for the marching band and the intramural fields, stretching all the way from Ft. Faculty to University Parks. It’s strange to think that many of the students celebrating Diadeloso today (now on the mall between the libraries and Pat Neff hall) weren’t even born yet when Ann and I first attended Dia together (some of them not even for a couple more years!) As I write this, there’s booming music from the celebration shaking the walls of the library, but despite that, it brings a smile to my face each year this time when I think about that this event, going on now, is a wonderful reminder of a similar day, twenty two years ago. And while I didn’t know it on that day way back then, my life would be forever changed by that wonderful person. Happy Diadeloso, Ann!