01 September 2005

All I Needed to Know to be a Great Librarian, I Learned from a Child.

by Bambi L. Mansfield

Hurricane Katrina has stunned the nation, and caused many to become numb to the horror and tragedy of events. As a librarian I have always prided myself in being one who disseminates knowledge, who provides information and entertainment to those who seek. So many individual’s lives and freedoms have been taken or altered by a force of nature. What could I possibly distribute to those affected that would make a difference? What do library professionals have to offer?

My thoughts rambled and my heart felt heavy… Leave it to the inspiration of a seven year old boy whose ideals have not yet been affected by life’s experiences to bring a sense of humble reality to light. At dinner my son and I were discussing the devastation that individual people were facing in Mississippi, Alabama and New Orleans. Dakotah expressed that it was wonderful for victims of the hurricane to receive the necessities but, that what they really needed at a time of crisis was a friend.

After an elaborate discussion of how lonely it must be for the people affected by this disaster he concluded by saying, “Mom, If you are lonely a book can be a good friend. What people need is a book so that they can be somewhere else for a few minutes. What they need is to giggle.”

His words struck home, through books information professionals can create an opportunity for hope, education and a chance to lighten an otherwise dark moment. Within 24 hours this incredible seven year old has been able to affect many, refreshed my professional views as he has gathered donations of 5000 plus new books that are headed to some of the designated shelters housing the people affected by hurricane Katrina.

Let him be an inspiration to all of us, a book can be so much more than a source of information; a book can be a good friend.

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