Saying Goodbye to a Room

It’s weird. I never knew a person could get so attached to a room, but when I walked back into my school library for the first time after a few months away, back in May of 2020, it felt good.

I looked around, taking it all in. We had gone virtual kind of abruptly, so I hadn’t left the place looking perfect. Books were leaning over on the shelves. There were lots of books on the carts that needed to be re-shelved. It looked like it always looked in the middle of a busy school week.

“I’ve missed this place.” I whispered to myself.

I’ve always loved this room. It’s got huge bay windows and high ceilings. The collection is enormous.

When I first walked into this room, in 2012, after my interview, I knew that I had to work here. I knew it was the library of my dreams.

Physically, It’s a great space, but I know that’s not what has me so attached, now.

Without a doubt, it’s the memories.

There have been so many spectacular author visits.

There have been some great book fairs.

There have been so many ukulele lessons in here, so many Christmas carol sing alongs, some great easter egg hunts and end-of-the-year faculty parties.

But the days that I have loved the most, are the every-day, average days when I got to witness a kid finding that perfect book. A book that I knew would enrich their life, maybe make it a little better or easier, or a book that would make them laugh or fill them with wonder. That magic is something I got to see and be a part of every day.

So yeah, of course I’m attached to this place.

When this school year started, I had no idea what it was going to look like. I knew we would be wearing masks. I knew I would start most days outside the school taking temperatures. I knew I would be traveling to the classrooms for a while, pushing a cart of books to the classrooms for the younger students to choose from. All of this was true, and we got through it, making more great memories along the way. It was different, but everything I loved about my job was the same. I was still working hard to get the right books into the right hands.

What I didn’t know when this school year started, was that it was going to be my last one in this room.

Most of you reading this probably already know from social media that this summer, my family and I will be leaving Montgomery and will be heading back home to Tuscaloosa. We left over a decade ago, and the time is right for us to return.

I will be the new K-12 librarian at Tuscaloosa Academy. I’m very excited about this. I grew up in a neighborhood right next to TA, and I’m fortunate have the opportunity to return home while remaining in my profession and serving an even wider age range of kids. (I’m going to have to change the name of my blog! Maybe I’ll be able to keep up with it more) I’m excited to dig back into YA since I will be serving high schoolers. (I have some catching up to do! Leave me book recommendations in the comments!) There’s so much new in the future to be excited about.

Right now, though, I’m also very sad. Sad to be leaving this school, these kids and these coworkers. I’m sad to say goodbye to this room. It’s been my favorite room on the planet for almost 9 years. I’ve had nearly all of the best professional moments of my life in this room. Heck, all three of my daughters were crawling and toddling through the shelves in this room before they could walk. I’m attached to this room, and it’s going to be hard to say goodbye.

Published by Benji

I am an elementary school librarian in Montgomery, AL.

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