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Teaching, and turning 50

I am really pathetically behind the curve on two serious issues. I’m going to file a tax extension, which really isn’t too bad, except I will be pulling together the details this coming weekend… the latest I’ve been. I’m also finishing five evaluations, which sounds simple, except this is academia, remember? Which means each evaluation has about 400 forms, half from the university and half generated by a library committee.

But tonight I got to guest lecture in a library school class, and that made all the difference to me. I did not extensively prepare; I believe “guest lecture” means “offload expertise,” and accordingly, I assessed the class and then engaged them as seemed appropriate. “It’s 2017… how do you provide library services” was the core exercise.

This also gave me a chance to talk about Anne Lipow. Someday, someone is going to claim responsibility for the concept that it is the librarian, not the user, who is “remote,” and that it is the librarian’s job to close that gap. One of my jobs on this planet is to underscore how much this was Anne’s idea. Maybe that doesn’t matter; maybe what matters is that librarians understand, and more significantly, believe it. Maybe I’m betraying how deeply I feel this year, when I turn 50. “Will I be remembered when I am gone,” I wonder, even though odds are, based on the family record and my own health, I will live steep into my 80s.

The weird part about aging is I don’t feel it internally. I am startled when I look in the mirror and see creases on my face. I am baffled when I take the treadmill too hard and feel aching bones the next day. I look at old people, and think “you” and not “us.”

Yet I also find myself thinking in terms of my experience. It felt strange, the first time I watched someone fifteen years younger than me make a decision I would have made at that age, knowing that I wouldn’t do it that way today. That doesn’t make the decision wrong; it just means that the confluence of time and experience in my life have led me down a road where I would choose differently.

Back to the stuff I dragged home…

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