Joy Tips in the Library

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Library of Congress
Library of Congress

Take a moment to think about how to maintain your sense of joy in the library with this article from Jim McMillan and Barbara Pedersen.

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Life in the library can include many situations that try to steal your joy. We all know if we lose our joy, we lose our peace, and we don’t want that to happen. You may believe that when things go wrong you can’t control how you feel, but you can. Each of us can control how we respond to things through the use of our will power. Make your will power your library power and use it when you need it. Students will learn from watching you. The way you live your life in the library is what you teach others. They will learn by your example. So how do we use our will power, you ask? There are five Joy Tips that have always helped guide me and are guaranteed to help you too in holding onto your joy wherever you go.

JOY TIP #1: Change what is on your mind. 

If we pay attention when we are starting to be irritated or unhappy, we can usually catch ourselves, change our thinking, and move forward with joy. Changing our thinking can be as easy as training our mind to start thinking about something else.  If you are getting annoyed about something, just start thinking of things that you are thankful for today. If you write them on your plan book every day, you will have easy access to them. Getting your mind off the problem and onto something positive works every time. You just have to change your mind.

JOY TIP #2: As you envision, so it will be.

When you change the way you see the world, the world you see will change. Have high expectations and see your problems as opportunities. Someone may need your smile or your understanding today. See your students as possibilities. Look for their interests and dreams to guide them to opportunities in the library. Appreciate the diversity of your students’ minds and celebrate their thinking. Everything may not always go as you expected, but if we learn from every experience, we can improve the outcome by expecting the best and giving students the knowledge and tools they need to be successful. High expectations will teach students that you care and believe in them. Now give them what they need and stand back and watch the miracle of learning with a purpose.

JOY TIP #3: Change the emotion.

If the fish are sick in the aquarium, you change the water. If you don’t like the way a lesson is going, change the activity and get students involved. When you are teaching you can always add processing time to help engage students. Changing the format of your instruction makes the lesson more fun for students and actually helps them learn better.

You can make changes anytime. Something as simple as turn to your neighbor and say four things from the lesson you want to remember. If you feel students need to get up and move, divide them into four groups and have them go to four areas of the library to discuss the key points of the lesson or information about the book they are reading. Anytime you can have students think about what they are learning, move, and discuss, you are changing the emotion and students will welcome the change.

JOY TIP #4: Keep life simple.

Occasionally, you may let the hectic pace of the day overtake your mind and emotions. Keep your day simple and remember less sometimes is more.

Our lives get out of control when we put too much on our plate. Haven’t you ever planned a simple cook out for friends?  You think it would be fun to have a few people over for hamburgers and potato chips. The more you think about it, you talk yourself into changing the hamburgers to steaks and the potato chips into twice- baked potatoes. The easy dessert of ice cream has turned into homemade apple pie. Now you already have added more stress to your preparation, but on top of the change of menu, you decide to ask more people. Now you realize you need more porch furniture and it would look better if you planted some flowers. What started as a fun evening with a few friends can quickly turn into a nightmare because you didn’t keep it simple. It is easy to want to do more, but if we remember to stick with our original plans, it can save us unnecessary stress and work.

One day and one event at a time… keep your life simple.

JOY TIP #5: Watch your words.

One of the best ways to keep your joy is to watch your words. Have you ever looked in the mirror and told yourself that you are too fat or too thin? Have your words made a difference of the perception you have of yourself? Be careful of what comes out of your mouth. If you say it will be a bad day, it probably will be because you are expecting it. A good starting point in Watching your Words, is to take the three following words out of your vocabulary:

  1. Worry
  2. Dread
  3. Regret

In life, most of the things we worry about never happen. Why waste your energy worrying about things that have not occurred? Yes, there could be an accident, or there could be an illness, but until it happens you are using energy to imagine something that may not occur. Once something bad happens, you can fall apart, but until then don’t let yourself worry. Another thought is to remember some things we think will turn out poorly turn out to be blessings in disguise.

Have you dreaded a meeting or a job change? Nine times out of ten, things we dread actually work for good. Don’t go into something dreading it because you are wasting energy that could be used in a more positive way. Think about what you can learn from whatever you are dreading. There is good in any situation, but sometimes it is hidden, and you need to look for it.

Every one of us has regretted something. It may have been something we said or did.  When you start regretting a situation, immediately ask yourself if you are guilty or not guilty?  If you are guilty, apologize and make it right. If you are not guilty, move forward and get over it. There is no reason to carry around that regret. Sometime things can’t be changed, and we need to accept the situation. Once again there is always a lesson for us to learn and those lessons keep us from making a mistake the next time. Don’t you already feel better knowing you can live without dread, regret, or worry?

The library is the hub of the school. It is a place that learning comes alive with literacy, technology, and innovation. It should make you joyful knowing that you are igniting the spark in students that will help them find their passion and purpose in life. Remember not to let anyone steal your joy today. It is up to you.


Jim McMillan, MA, is Vice President in charge of curriculum at C.L.A.S.S. Education, Inc. C.L.A.S.S. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization driven by creativity and innovation. He earned his master’s degree from Indiana University East.

Barbara Pedersen, MA, is the founder and advisor at C.LA.S.S. Education, Inc. C.L.A.S.S. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization driven by creativity and innovation. She earned her master’s degree from Butler University.

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