Friday, May 17, 2019

End of the School Year Always Bittersweet

When May rolls around I gird up to do what is needed at my school. Most of those tasks do not really relate to the library. The seniors graduated this year on May 11th. I coordinate senior awards night, plan graduation, and help the students with their val and sal speeches for the graduation. For a long time, I was also AP coordinator, and that was a total nightmare because all of these tasks fell within the same few weeks. I would finish school totally wiped out needing my months off to regroup. 

Tyler speaking to the YALSA BFYA committee at ALA Annual in 2018 
During senior awards night, I give out something special to all graduating members of the high school book group, Bookmarked. Actually, over the last few years, there have been no seniors in book group. Students would join early in their high school career, but by the time that they became a senior, they would chose to get involved in other organizations. I understand, but I have come to realize that the students who do remain in Bookmarked until they graduate are pretty special kids, to me anyway. 

Standing in the stacks and ready to say good-bye
I want to tell you about one member of Bookmarked who just graduated but has spent all four of his high school years having lunch in the library on Mondays. He usually ate lunch in the library every day, but I was guaranteed to see Tyler every Monday. Since Monday was scheduled for the Bookmarked meeting, I always had time to talk to him. It took me awhile to really get to know him, and it took me a year or two to realize how deeply he thought about the books that he read. He was always a big participant in our discussions during Bookmarked, but it wasn't until we started talking one on one about what each of us was reading that I realized that Tyler really took what he read to heart. He wanted the good guy to always win, and he wanted a resolution for all the loose ends at the end of series that he had read and loved. He liked many of the books that I did including the Arc of a Scythe series by Shusterman. I am sorry that he won't be around when the third book in the series is released. Tyler had the good fortune to go with me and other members of Bookmarked to ALA last summer when it was in New Orleans. He was overwhelmed. of course, but he had the opportunity to talk to Neal Shusterman in person and many other others authors as well as bring home bags and bags of books. This is someone who will read those books if they look appealing to him. 

Tyler talks about diversity in books during a Bookmarked meeting

I always enjoyed talking books with Tyler, and we would recommend titles and series to each other all the time. I can tell you what many of the recent graduates plan to major in at college, but Tyler and I had so many other things to talk about that I never did ask him what he plans to do. He did win a POSSE scholarship and is heading to Case Western Reserve University in the fall, and I am sure that he will succeed as he was named a National Merit Scholar.

Tyler happened to be one person who always read this blog. He made many comments to me about it over the years and always got my jokes. I am sure that he will read this entry too.

To Tyler: 
I am really going to miss you next year, but I know that you are going to have many new experiences and opportunities that you have never had before. It might be that you do not think about us back at Taylor very often, but do know that I will remember you and all your amazing contributions to the many discussions that we had together and in Bookmarked. 
All my best, Ms. Kahn

Updated on May 18th: 
I sent an email to Tyler sharing this blog post. He was so touched that he wrote me a very long thank you note for all that I had done for him while he was at Patrick Taylor. I am going to keep his letter to myself, but I did want to share a bit here with you because it shows the importance of what librarians do everyday for their patrons:
"Without your club, I doubt I would have had the confidence to own my opinions as proudly as I do today, whether it's in reflection of a novel or in a debate in World History.  Your recommendations and willingness to listen really has helped me to grow as a person and as a reader, and I again cannot thank you enough." TB
I am a happy librarian right now. Though I feel that I am getting a little long in the tooth because I have been in this profession so many years, it does my heart good to know that I can still make a difference in a young person's life. Of course, they have made such an impression on me too!





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