I’m a dyed-in-the-wool New Englander, but here in the beautiful Mount Washington Valley our New Year is beginning with some serious cold. If you don’t believe me, check out what happens when you pour out a kettle of boiling water with a windchill of -84˚, as this fella did on December 28th (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RHc3y8EdT4).
We locals are proud of our claim to fame as the home of the “world’s worst weather.” But I’m not going to lie, this bitter cold comes with its downsides. In a season where others are making resolutions about all the wonderful things they’re going to get done this year, I find myself asking instead, what can I get away with not doing. Do I really have to get out of the house into that frozen landscape to go to the grocery store? Does the stir crazy dog really need to go for a ski? How important is it for the kids to get some fresh air, really?
In that same vein, the team at School Library Connection has been hard at work putting together our January issue focused on the importance of scaling back, letting go, giving up, and knowing what you can cut out of your day to focus your time and passion where it matters. In a great workshop she recorded for us a couple years back, Gail Dickinson explored leadership mindsets proposed by James Hillman as alternatives to the vaunted “growth mindset.” Among these is “emptying and shedding.” In describing this approach to leadership, Gail painted this picture: “My vision is taking my arm and sliding everything on my desk to the floor. So everything that’s in my journal, everything that’s on the list of what I have to do today, everything is on the floor. And then I’m only going to pick and put back up on the table the things that absolutely need to be there.”
I’m afraid that my dog really does need a ski, my kids really do need a dose of fresh albeit frigid air, and the milk they seem to go through at an impossible pace will not miraculously rematerialize in my refrigerator. But certainly there are a million other little things in my life, both at home and work, that do not have to come back up from the floor.
This month, Leslie Preddy questions the conventional wisdom that it’s always good to “finish what you start” and offers readers a set of reflective thought starters to use in determining whether giving up on a task or process may actually be the right choice for your patrons and library. Courtney Pentland explores the concept of weeding for our teaching practice. “We feel comfortable letting go of items not checked out in four years that are taking up valuable real estate on our shelves,” she observes. “Why then, can it be difficult to weed what we teach?” She offers tips to our readers to start this process. Lori Donovan looks at the Common Beliefs of the new AASL standards as a tool to reset priorities and ensure your time is being spent effectively.
And speaking of the new standards, please mark your calendars and join us on January 30th at 4:00 pm Eastern as we host Paige Jaeger for our latest webinar, PowerVerbs: A Tool for Tackling the New Standards. To learn more and to pre-register for the event, please click here. See you there!.