Can you help me? I’m looking for something, maybe you know. Where did 2017 go?! Sweet potato pie, I can’t believe how fast that year went! This month marks my one-year anniversary of starting work here at the library. Little did I know when I started that just 5 short months later I’d be running things and corralling over 30 kids at the launch of our Summer Reading Program! Good thing they didn’t lead with that when they hired me …” Can you multitask like an octopus on Red Bull, keep a herd of children entertained for 7,000 hours, and be responsible for growing a community dream over 10 years in the making?” Ummm… isn’t Walmart hiring? If you would have told me then what I would be doing now, I would have said, “Great story mate, I love fantasy!” The frog boils in the water slowly, right? If we were shown all at once what we would be doing a year or even several months from now, it would overwhelm us. That’s why life opens up to us a little at a time—still a growing and stretching thing, but never all at once, and never more than we can handle if we have a Strength beyond ourselves. Before you know it, you look back and realize you are doing what you dreamed, but never thought you could. We grow into the shoes we were meant to fill. If it doesn’t stretch and scare us just a little, why are we doing it?
The start of a new year is for reflecting. We reflect for many reasons, but I think the biggest reason is so we can tweak what casts the reflection for next year. A reflection is, after all, just a mirror. And the power of the new year is that we can shape what is looking back at us 365 days from now. When you look at 2017, what is looking back at you? Is it the growth and happiness you wanted? Did you even know WHAT you wanted? Was there a plan, or did life just happen? Some things we can’t control, but we always have a choice what we do with it…we are forever being presented with building materials for our lives. Some we choose, some we sculpt ourselves, and other pieces are thrown at us…cracked and broken. But oh, I’ve seen some beautiful mosaics made from broken pieces. I’ve also seen heaps of those same shattered pieces discarded in the ditch. It is all about what we do with them. This year, I invite you to include the library as a part of the building tools you use for crafting that better reflection.
Maybe you were once an avid reader and are looking for a way to get back into the habit. I think our Book Club would be a great way to jump start your reading goals! Knowing that you will read one book each month, and have the accountability and joy of sharing your thoughts with an amazing group of people is such a motivation. People need work-out buddies in the gym to keep them on track, right? So, come find your reading buddies in Book Club. If you can’t make it to our club meetings, start your own! Get a friend or two and read a book together. If we don’t have the book, we can buy it or get it on loan, and the same goes for multiple copies if you want to read with a friend. Any subject you are interested in is literally just a request away.
Do you want to learn something new this year? Are you itching to take up a new hobby? You would be surprised what we have on our shelves! We’ve got books on knitting, sign language, drawing, wood working, bird watching, gardening, cooking and crafting… just to name a few. Is health and fitness one of your resolutions (honestly, isn’t it everyone’s?). Our books can teach you about exercise, weight training, self-defense, sports, dieting, healthy eating, natural remedies and essential oils. If you want to improve your surroundings we’ve got you covered, from decluttering to decorating and remodeling. How about growing your mind? You can find titles on politics, poetry, theology, and various self-help topics. If you want to go deeper, we have an entire religious section with books ranging from grace to Biblical battles. If you’re a history buff, there are books on Texas history, World Wars, ancient civilizations, archeology, mythology, old west tales, and many more that chronologue great discoveries and daring expeditions across land, sea, and space. Not to mention a few titles like The Directory of Gemstones, The Aquarium Fish Identifier, and How to Shovel Manure…because THAT needed to be a book.
A great tool that I highly recommend for book lovers is the website Good Reads (goodreads.com). It is a paradise of enticing book covers, reviews, and more. Their site makes it easy to track books you’ve read and those you want to read. It doesn’t get much easier than being able to scan a book cover with your phone to add it to your virtual shelves. You can rate books, write reviews, find all the titles from your favorite authors, check out what your friends are reading and even recommend a book to them. If you are searching out a certain subject, you can search the site’s ‘Lists’ feature and find books of a feather, so to speak. ‘Best Biographies’, ‘Books about mermaids’, ‘Must Read Titles of 2017’, ‘Fictional books set in Scotland’, ‘True war stories’ and many, many more. You can set yearly reading challenges and each time you finish a book, it keeps track of your progress for you. Such a fun way to reflect on your year, though the books you have finished. I have been using this site for years, and use it daily in my duties here at the library. Without it, I would only be half the librarian I am. So there. I just shared part of my super power with you. Until next time, here is looking forward to brighter reflections.