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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Goodbye Berwyn...Hello Every Public Library in America

Today marks my official last day as an employee of the Berwyn Public Library [although I will be back on 6/15 to run one last book club].

After 14 years and 11 months there is a lot to say about my tenure, but much of it you can see by reading through the archives of this blog. It is all documented here. The things we have done, the successes, the failures, the displays, book clubs, programs, etc...

But I figured I should at least take a stab at saying goodbye and summing it all up in a single post. I was touched and honored by what one of my board members for the Friends of the Berwyn Library said very succinctly and poignantly in our final meeting on Monday.  She said, and I paraphrase-- I was working at the Berwyn Library when Becky started. I saw her come in as a kid, a new librarian, and I am happy to say she is leaving as a fully evolved woman.

She was exactly right. She summed up my personal and professional life over the last 15 years way more eloquently than I could have.

I started at the BPL a semester  and a half shy of having my MLS. I was 25 years old. I was happily married for only a couple of years and had no children yet. I had only taken 1 class on RA and was about to start my first full time job with a charge of co-creating an entire RA department.

Now, I am about to turn 40, have 2 tweens, have written 2 books, countless articles, and have become an International RA expert who is the one teaching everyone else how to be a Reader’s Advisor. People now turn to me for answers, advice, and guidance!

I know I was there to make all of this happen, but today, as I am forced to look back on these 15 years in their entirety in one sitting, it is all a bit mind blowing. Looking at those previous 2 paragraphs, the only thing that hasn’t changed is the happily married part (thank goodness).

It has not been sunshine and rainbows everyday, but I am nothing but thankful for the opportunity Gail gave me back in July of 2000 [click here for my personal In Memoriam post about Gail and a recounting of those early days] and for each and every day since then.

I knew I would create connections with patrons and work with some great colleagues, but I never anticipated the number of life long friends [both staff AND patrons] I would gain.

So thank you to all who I have ever helped or worked with. Thanks to patrons past, present, and future at the Berwyn Library. This is a community that loves the library, uses the library, and appreciates what the library does for them.

There are some amazing people who work under that roof on Harlem Avenue, people who will still be there after I leave.  The library is entering an exciting time of change, new direction, and planning. Great things are still to come at the Berwyn Public Library.

But, as I said in this post, I have reached the point where my consulting and training through RA for All has grown to be too much to continue to work at a public desk on a regular schedule.

So while I am sad to say goodbye to Berwyn, the good news is I get to start saying hello to everyone else. I am excited that I will have the time to develop the programs and services I have always wanted to do. I have begun to forge some partnerships that will help many more libraries, their staff and their patrons. And, I will have more time to read actual books.

Now if you will excuse me, in true Becky fashion I am putting the continuing education of our profession first and ending my tenure here in Berwyn by leading the next meeting of the ARRT Genre Study-- Psychological Suspense on my final afternoon.  I picked this day to be my last when I gave notice 6+ weeks ago.  What more fitting a way to say goodbye to Berwyn and hello to the next chapter of RA for All than by teaching a class on my favorite genre.

I will be taking tomorrow off from blogging [it seems appropriate], but I will be back on Monday to forge into this brave new world. I can’t wait for you to join me.


Elizabeth said...

What a lovely post, Becky! I am so grateful I had the opportunity to intern at Berwyn with you and Kathy as my mentors. Congratulations on 14+ years of outstanding work at the RA desk- many bright adventures and opportunities await you!

Esther Chase said...

Best wishes Becky! Thanks for your chipper spirit over the last 5+ years (that I've been with the Berwyn Library). You are a true inspiration to all library professionals.

Christi said...

Wonderful post! I agree with Elizabeth. My internship with you and Kathy at Berwyn was the highlight of my graduate school experience. Congratulations!

Tracy said...

Congratulations on starting this exciting new chapter in your career! You continue to be an inspiration and influence in all my RA endeavors.