Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Confession Tuesday

So my assistant and I cataloged and shelved new books. Yay! Then I spoke with my coordinator about any progress getting staff to support the library and for the agency to draft a policy regarding missing books. Nope. Nada. Not a priority. I saw a few girls before leaving and asked them if they had their books to return and they nonchalantly said, "Oh, well it's on my dresser" and "I was suppose to bring it but I forgot."

I feel like I am banging my head against a wall. Worse, I feel defeated. I'm not doing enough. What am I doing wrong? Why can't I get the message across that the library matters, that reading matters?

It seems everybody else gets us except the community I'm trying to serve. And let's not forget the dose of guilt. Because I work midnights and have limited transportation, I'm not at agency like I was when I started which amounted to practically living there. The truth is even when I was there all the time the resistance was about the same. ((sigh))

The upside is I do have a good rapport with the residents in the shelter. My assistant organizes movie night on Sundays, and some girls will return books then and ask to check out new ones. And my current assistant is a wonderful young woman who reads and enjoys the library.

I want more. I want to be effective. I want to make a difference. Okay, I'll get off the pity pot. I do have some hope that some of you here are reading new authors because of BES and Color Online. I do believe some teacher or student is talking about a book they've read about here so that has to be enough for now. Until I hit the lottery and form my own nonprofit and run programs like I want!

Check out my girls at Poet Mom.


Zetta Elliott said...

There's no scientific way to measure the impact you're having on the world...but you definitely ARE reaching people and impacting lives, Susan--don't despair! It may be years before you can actually see the harvest you're sowing right now...

Thinking Aloud said...

Well Susan,

I am thankful for your blog and your book reviews. I log in first thing every morning to: read your inspiring quotes, find new and interesting blog sites,find books to recommend to my students, add to my book pile on my nightstand,or the evergrowing one in my Coach bag.

So,Good morning and THANKS!!!!!!!!!!

susan said...

Zetta and T, you know I almost deleted my post because I'm repeating a complaint I've talked about too many times already. On better days, I don't need to see the impact, but the rejection hurts even though it isn't new. I know my reaction is more about my are my own demons. I don't know how eradicate the self-doubt. I am grateful for this space because here you all lift me up, and I'm ready to go right back at it. Let me add that the people who had the greatest impact on me were teachers so reading your posts are especially potent.You can't know how much I admire and respect you both.

bunnygirl said...

FWIW, some seeds take a long time to sprout.

As an example, my husband was a barrio boy who was taught all the right lessons, and ignored them all. He didn't start getting his act together until his early 30s, but when he did, he was amazing. He has told me time and again how grateful he is for all the good lessons he was taught in his youth. Even though he ignored them then, he didn't forget. When he was ready to turn his life around, he had all the right tools at the ready.

So keep doing your best. Some day a nicely dressed, well-educated woman will walk into your library and tell you how much you helped her. She'll be one of the ones you thought you hadn't reached, and you'll be so, so glad you didn't give up.

susan said...

Thanks Bunny, I think your husband and I are alike. It took me a long time to find direction and focus in my own life. And like him, I did not forget the lessons and the people who taught me along the way.

January said...

Don't worry. You're doing more good in the world than you think.

Thanks for your energy--you are an inspiration.

Claudia said...

Hmmm....well is there anything your faithful readers can do to help? A letter writing campaign? You've done a great job of getting book donations - should we be donating money to the shelter instead?

susan said...


I don't know what you could say in a letter, but I appreciate all support I get. If you know about nonprofits and schools you know they're overworked and stretched too thin. My project just isn't a priority because well, it's not their project.

I get books, yes. Dollars, no. I could use supplies like mailing supplies, color printer cartridges, gift cards to anywhere. I just learned about a grant so my coordinator and I will be applying for it.

The agency provides me space. That's all. Not that I'm not grateful but if you're feeling generous, I'd ask you send a donation and specify the money is for the library. I can then get reimbursements for purchases I make.

The group I work most closely with are residents in the shelter and I regularly get donations to pass along to them.

I'd love to take the girls to a play or the museum but I don't have the funds to take them and CO is not part of any department's budget.

Anonymous said...

The forgetting to return books thing. My students do that. They read a book, like it and figure they can keep it. Yep, you're making a difference!