In his November editor’s message, Carl Harvey shares a story to remind us of the importance of primary sources. If you’re sharing Thanksgving with relatives this year, be sure to ask them about their stories, look for the primary sources that go with those stories, and be sure to ask about that jar at the back of the cupboard!
Our November issue is all about primary sources. All kinds of primary sources. Subscribers can view the issue online here. Not a subscriber yet? Click here for information on how to become one.
When I was in high school and college, my mother and I used to work on our family genealogy. In the years that have followed, we’ve continued to do that but jobs, family, and life seem to keep us from spending as much time on it as we might like. Through all our searching, primary sources have been so powerful. We’ve been able to prove—and disprove—so many myths and legends in the family because of the information we’ve uncovered.
One of my favorite stories (and the kids at school always got a kick out of this one) was the story of Pop’s finger. Fred S. Cogdill, who we all called Pop, was my great-grandfather. He passed away at the age of 96 in 1987. Pop was a very old man by the time I was born, but I still have memories of going to visit him in the nursing home. My Mom commented once that Pop was missing a finger, and he always told his grandchildren (there were thirty-three of them) that a lump of coal had fallen on it when he worked in the coal mines in the early 1910s.
I just ended a few days back home in Indiana attending the Indiana Library Federation. It was a great conference—good sessions, great keynotes, a full exhibit floor, and a well-organized and fun conference. But, I have to tell you my favorite part was networking with my friends. Sure, now that I’m living in Virginia, it is even more special to get together with my Indiana school library friends because it doesn’t happen as often as it used to, but it’s more than that. These are the librarians I “grew up” with in the field, and for that I’ll be ever grateful.
Over the last almost 20 years (good grief….where has the time gone?), these are the folks with whom I’ve shared my successes, commiserated when things didn’t work out well, and brainstormed the next great adventures. We’ve done that for each other countless times. They have been (and I’m certain will continue to be) invaluable to me.
School librarians are often the only ones in their building who do what they do. These types of networks and friendships are so important to the success of the school librarian and the library program. You need that support network to build and grow. Nowadays, we can have our PLN online with Twitter, Facebook, etc. These are wonderful ways to connect, but I have to admit my favorite is a table of friends, some good food, and wonderful conversation.
Flying home today from a visit with family and friends in Indiana, I’m sure the people around me were wondering why I was fighting back a few tears. While home, I picked up a book at my favorite children’s independent bookstore called Ms. Bixby’s Last Day by John David Anderson. I don’t want to give away the ending, but let’s just say it was a tearjerker. This middle grades book focuses on the relationship of a teacher to the student and the power that one teacher has to make a difference. … sometimes without even realizing that is what they are doing.
Reading this book made me think about some of the teachers I had over the years. I remember fondly my German class in high school, where I know our teacher was often much more concerned about us than whether we had learned to speak German fluently. I think back to the computer coordinator who took me under her wing and eventually led me to the path that put me in the world of school librarianship—not that either of us really knew that was what was happening. I think back to the class birthday party that we planned for my 3rd grade teacher as a surprise. If only I hadn’t dropped the cupcakes as I walked out the front door that day! (Cookies were an acceptable alternative, thank goodness!) I think back to my Kindergarten teacher who showed up at my Grandma’s 88th birthday party…. some 25+ years since she had any of the Harvey kids in class because she always said our family was special. These are just some of the teachers that pop to mind thinking back over the years, and it makes me feel pretty lucky that I had so many “Good Ones.” Continue reading “The Good Ones”