We close 2021 with many of the same challenges as 2020 and some new ones. We are all united in our wish for healthy and healing communities, despite the many circumstances and issues that confront us.
For my own part, I garner strength and inspiration from those around me. I know I cannot solve problems alone; none of us can. But in the information field—libraries, archives, records management, and more—we have some of the very best professionals—individuals who are passionate about and committed to the public good.
Today, I am especially grateful for librarians—for their no-nonsense approach to problems and their absolute and unstinting commitment to serve their students and communities. You all resolve to undertake hard processes few others would undertake, and you do it because you care about people and you want to make a difference. The only personal agenda you have is other people’s success.
Here is what I know about you all.
School librarians – I don’t believe I have ever met a school librarian who was not dedicated to the success, education, and safety of their students. You (often alone) serve the entirety of your campus and keep sight of the absolute need to foster lifetime literacy and a love of reading.
Public librarians – You all are advocates down to the marrow of your bones for your communities. I see librarians working tirelessly and creatively to make libraries trusted and responsive places. You understand the power of libraries, and you take great care with that responsibility.
Academic librarians – You are the behind-the-scenes masters. Eminently skilled and efficient, higher education librarians serve faculty and students directly while helping your institutions succeed—sometimes in ways that administrators don’t see.
The world of information that our Texas librarians manage and guide patrons through is enormous, complicated, and fraught with increasing complexities. Few appreciate the scale of the work you must do to make libraries the critical centers of information and learning that they are in the 21st century; so much of serving people comes down to kind, dedicated, and compassionate customer service. That human-centered approach is paired with a deeply-informed professionalism and serious, unflagging commitment to public service.
Librarians understand this, and throughout all these years, I continue to be impressed with all you do and how much you give.
You make this world a better, more informed place. It’s hard for me to think of anything better.
Thank you for all that you do.