Sitting out in my garden one lovely September morning and contemplating all the topics I might write a blog post about… I took a moment to appreciate my surroundings. A wild and unchecked sunflower forest had come up voluntarily this summer, and as the season made its last fiery stand, the sunflowers bowed their seed laden heads in homage. Offering up a feast, all the neighborhood birds — chickadees, gold finches, and redwings — converged, flying and bouncing amongst the branches in a wonderful spontaneous dance. It was quite a sight to see, and one that made me feel grateful to be where I was in that space, in that moment, at that time.
Experiencing that moment in the garden also reminded me about some of the reasons I really like being a children’s librarian. Most children tend to live in the moment. When they’re happy, they’re happy. When they’ve reached their limit, they let you know. Along with that — and something I, as an adult, can sometimes forget — children usually don’t need a lot of bells and whistles. When I’m planning a program, I often over-think the activities I’m offering. I worry if it’s too boring, or easy, or silly. Yet, even with the projects and activities I’m sure will be a huge flop, children manage to have fun and enjoy them. I see their creativity shine with the most basic of supplies. I see their imaginations soar with a few simple things to play with, like farm animals and a barn, or wooden blocks and some cars.
One of the things I’ve come to appreciate and be grateful for in my job is the times when a child, big or small, comes into my department full of an open wholeheartedness that is refreshing to experience and see. Here are a few examples of what I mean:
A serious and earnest four-year-old looks up over the desk and asks me, “would you please help me find a book on the wife cycle of the caddif fly.” (Translation: “life cycle of the caddisfly”)
A newly mobile toddler discovers the joys of the unencumbered straight-a-way in the aisles between the shelves, loudly and gleefully expressing their joy.
A seven-year-old, with enthusiasm and amazing articulation, shares why a certain book series is their favorite, and after ten minutes, leads me over to the stacks, pulls one off the shelf and hands it to me, saying,” I really think you should give it a try.”
Three children, formerly unknown to each other, team up at the play table and create a fantastical and elaborate world out of the Magna Tiles. Laughing and giggling as they explain their own contribution, and listening with interest while the others explain theirs.
The list could go on and on. Watching children learn and grow is like the moment in the garden I mentioned earlier. When I stop and appreciate a child’s vision of the world, I’m grateful to be a children’s librarian. The fact is, children are a constant reminder that there are still things to feel wonder and awe about in the world. This adult, for one, feels so fortunate that in my own work, I get to experience a little piece of that every day.