I don’t usually associate the start of the academic year with feelings of gratitude. For most of my fifteen seasons as an academic librarian, I’ve viewed September and October as months to be endured. The best you could do, I told myself year after year, was to was show up every day, try to keep your sense of humour, and wait for it to be over.
This year feels different, and I’m not sure why. Perhaps I am still using up the reserves of energy and good will that I accumulated over my sabbatical, or perhaps it’s the arrival of the glorious crisp air after an otherwise hot and humid September. I don’t know what it is, but walking out of a class today, the tenth of many more booked this term, I was hit with a wave of something that I didn’t immediately recognize. And it was this: I am so grateful that I get to do this job. And by this job, I don’t just mean being an academic librarian, although that’s a wonderful gig. I’m thinking more about the particular set of responsibilities that I have, and the ways in which these seemingly disparate professional responsibilities are all connected by the values that are most important to me. Perhaps I couldn’t appreciate how it all tied together years ago, or maybe I’ve just stopped doing work that I honestly don’t believe is important or meaningful for the students and scholars with whom I work. I don’t remember making this decision consciously, but I do know that feel more focused and purposeful about my classroom teaching, and despite several weeks of a packed schedule that would have once brought me to my knees, I feel like it’s all more or less good.