Friday, December 23, 2016

My Name Is John Hannibal Smith

I'm the captain of a ship I never imagined, a ship of books, informational and media literacy, of studying students and students just finding a place where they can be comfortable. My crew is motley: a just-graduated-from-college alumni volunteer; a young, energetic science teacher with a deep love for sloths; a very tall, shy but funny football coach and social science teacher; a wise mother of four who teaches social science and coaches softball; me. Do you see a trend? Nary a one of us is a librarian. And, our library rocks.

A couple weeks ago, I took the group out to happy hour to celebrate Christmas. The shy football coach relaxed, his shoulders shaking with laughter. The science teacher told funny stories that made her eyes water with giggles, and the alumni volunteer supplied us with entertaining facts about teachers who taught her. The mom of four peppered the evening with her easy, gentle laugh. It was good.

We like each other, not just because we have a good time together at happy hour, but also because we each provide something vital to the team. The volunteer is an organizational genius; the mom brilliant in student relationships; the sloth lover the best, most dedicated tutor for struggling students I've seen. The football coach cares deeply about research and databases and gives smart advice about subscription purchases. Not one of us imagined being where we are, but each of us gives wholeheartedly to the team's success.

Our employer wanted each of us as part of the community, but didn't know where else to put us, so we ended up together. I joke with my group that we're a family of orphans. The coach said no, we're the A Team and he's clearly Bosco (the Mr. T character) and I'm Hannibal. Whatever metaphor you chose, it works. I didn't come up with this plan, but I love how it has come together.

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