Help me help you
I became a librarian 13 years ago for many reasons, but the most important reason of all is because I believe that my mission is to help alleviate suffering by connecting people to the information they need in order to live better lives. Suffering can take many forms, from mild to severe: “Why does my piecrust always turn out tough and how can I fix it?” does not have the same weight as “I don’t know how to apply for nutrition assistance to feed my hungry children” but all people deserve answers to their questions - whether they are trivial or substantial - in order to try to solve their own problems, and that starts with information. When totalitarian regimes attempt to control populations for their own ends, they often begin by destroying universities, museums, and libraries, for these are the repositories of knowledge that give people a sense of their own history and the possibilities of the future; and most importantly, they are full of vital sources of information people can use to shape their own destinies. There is nothing more important than ensuring people have unfettered access to information.
Relax and (un)wind
Shortly after my older son was born I found myself, as parents often do, in a series of waiting rooms: doctors, dentists, the reception area at school, the lobby of the martial arts studio. Though being a parent is often exhausting, at the same time I cannot sit idle either. There is in me some frantic urge to make every moment productive, and although I have tried to silence it with meditation and other forms of mindfulness practices it simply will not be quiet, so I have decided to embrace it as healthfully as I can. Dragging around delicate beading project or piecing a quilt top in a waiting room or studio lobby is impractical, and yet I had to have something to keep my hands lightly occupied. (The obvious question here is why not just read a book? The answer is that I’m a librarian for a reason, and a book can keep me so engrossed I will miss all social cues like shuffling feet, throats clearing, doors opening, and my poor child will be left standing there waiting while I finish the chapter.) I began knitting in seventh grade and took a long hiatus while the demands of my early career were in full force, but found it was the perfect solution to the waiting-room problem: fits into my handbag, easy to pick up or put down as needed and produces excellent accessories for giving or keeping. With every knitting project I have started, I’ve aimed to teach myself one new skill, and I have been careful to choose patterns that are not only easy enough to avoid frustration but challenging enough to avoid boredom. Selecting the right yarn for each project is as satisfying as finding the right ingredients for a delicious dish, and I've gotten into the habit of trying to pick up at least a ball or two at an independent yarn store in any new city I visit - the best kind of travel souvenir.