Tears streamed down my cheeks as I surveyed my library for the last time today. We accomplished so much, this room and I, in our 5 years together. My school transformed me, and I transformed it in return. I spent 14 years teaching in the same district, 5 of those years in the high school library. The library went from a quiet, sit and check out books place to an active hub for creativity, learning, connecting, and reading. I taught students how to wrap gifts. I reveled in our discussions about books we had read. I nearly burst with pride when our ELL students began to use the library independently and appropriately.
And all of that is coming to a close. I hope it was only the beginning of a snowball of amazingness for my school. I pray that the incoming librarian takes hold of our momentum and our record-breaking numbers and uses it to her advantage to bring things to life that I dare not dream of. I cross my fingers that my teachers find a passionate collaborator to continue to push the envelope with to give our students memorable learning experiences.
The library was stripped of everything making it "me". My photos, quotes, and strange collection of buttons were packed away. No coffee had brewed in weeks. The very last of my greeting cards were in the box on my hip. In the one swift motion it took to lock the door from the outside, it was over. I felt it in my stomach.
Saying goodbye was much more difficult than I thought it was going to be. I had weeks to prepare and we had been at home during COVID. Foolishly, I supposed these would make it easier. It wasn't. I have people I will miss so fiercely that it brings tears to my eyes.
However, I have a lot to look forward to. My new position is completely different than what I spent the last 5 years doing. I'll be serving preschool through twelfth grade - meeting four year olds and staying with them until they walk across the stage at graduation. I'll be partnered with a public library in my school library, sharing space and ideas. My population will be completely different. The major draw of any new opportunity to me is the new experiences I'll get to have. This new place offers a new world of librarianship to me and one that isn't common. It lights my fire.
So, anyone who has left or is thinking of beginning a new era of your life, I feel you. The duality of excitement for your new position and grief over what you are leaving behind is a strange companion. It's okay to be both.
You'll be okay. So will I.