Poetry Friday: Nikki Giovanni

On May 11th our entire certificated staff received one of two letters; one that said you had a job but the district didn’t know where and the other a “Reduction in Force” or “RIF”, meaning worse case scenario, if teacher librarians are chopped because of budget, you have no job. This because our state legislature is in limbo with the state budget, therefore we are in limbo (between a 10-26 million deficit for our district).

At our library leadership meeting yesterday, our group of  seven sat at the table to plan an upcoming in-service.  Where does one start? Act as if we will remain unscathed and our program won’t be demolished, use the time to  celebrate our successes, or  have a white elephant exchange of old discarded library media items?

On the drive home, I remembered the Nikki Giovanni poem about her first memory of librarians.  It seems fitting today to share that poem and remind my colleagues to hang on.

My First Memory (of Librarians)

by Nikki Giovanni

This is my first memory:
A big room with heavy wooden tables that sat on a creaky
      wood floor
A line of green shades—bankers’ lights—down the center

Heavy oak chairs that were too low or maybe I was simply
        too short
            For me to sit in and read
So my first book was always big

 In the foyer up four steps a semi-circle desk presided
To the left side the card catalogue
On the right newspapers draped over what looked like
            a quilt rack
Magazines face out from the wall

The welcoming smile of my librarian
The anticipation in my heart
All those books—another world—just waiting
At my fingertips.

Poetry Friday is held at Julie at the Drift Record.

Happy Reading.


6 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Nikki Giovanni

  1. Jone,

    funny, I don’t remember my first library–the Glendive Public Library in Glendive, Montana.

    But, I do remember leaving the library each week with my pile of books–so tall it was tucked under my chin to keep my precious pile in place as I walked back out to my mother’s car.

    And in the back seat, I would open the first one as we drove out of the parking lot. Ah, bliss.

    I hope we Evergreen Librarians will continue to be here to provide such memories for our students.


  2. What a horrible mess public education is in, when we can’t afford to do it well.

    Crossing my fingers for you and your colleagues.

  3. Aiya! I am so sorry to hear this. My position as the only full time librarian at my independent school has been eliminated. They told us last fall that seven teachers would not have jobs for the next year so I have had some time to work through it. It still is a shock coming up to the end of the year and saying goodbye to my students, colleagues, and library. 😦 So, so, so sad. I have had some good job interviews so I am hopeful of landing something, and I know God has prepared me to do the work that comes next, but still it is HARD. I will say a prayer for you and your school district and all the students that depend on your libraries. God Bless you!!

  4. Jone,

    It is so sad to read about what is happening to school library programs these days. Since I retired from my school system in 2004, the elementary library program has been decimated. I wish you luck.

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