on gratitude…

Hi Friends,

As it turned out, this post ended up being a lot harder to write than I’d expected it to be.

See, as of this morning, we have 5 more days of school in the ’23-’24 school year and at the end of the day on May 24th, instead of being a “school librarian” I will be a “retired school librarian.” This also means that, after hitting the publish button 79 times since my first Independent Ideas post in November of 2013, that this is the last time I’ll get to share with you in this space.

What follows, you know, deserves a really good backing track so please open this in a tab in the background: What Was I Made for Instrumental

Thanks for humoring me one last time!!! 🤣🤣🤣

In all honesty, retiring is something that I’ve wistfully dreamt about on every single first day of school for the last 37 years, so it is, frankly, shocking to me that saying farewell feels as hard as it does. And, well, saying farewell to the wonderful community that AISL has been for me for the last 24 years might be hardest of all.

Please don’t misunderstand. I’m retiring. I’m not dying #CrossesFingersAndToes so I very much hope to continue a relationship with AISL as a KARL (“Kick A** Retired Librarian” for the uninitiated 🤣 ), but the farewell process I’ve experienced with colleagues and friends here on campus has already made me acutely aware that when you head off into retirement your relationship to people in organizations WILL change–and I know that will be the case with all of you as well.

More than anything, I hope that each and every one of you knows how grateful I am that you’ve invited and allowed me to be part of this community and part of your professional lives. Whether you realized it or not, by virtue of the fact that you are here reading my rambling last post; posting a question, supportive comment, or a solution to someone’s quandary on the listserv; or just reaching out on email to say “hi” to a fellow librarian, each and every one of you has had a part in building this community called AISL that I have come to love and cherish so very much over the years.

When I published my first Independent Ideas post. The Independent Ideas blog had just launched so I didn’t really know what I was doing or what I was supposed to write about. I was just told, “Write about middle school stuff…” 🤷🏻‍♂️🤷🏻‍♂️🤷🏻‍♂️

At the time, the ginormous new middle school library at Harvard-Westlake in Los Angeles where I worked was about a year old. After living in our new space for a year, we were looking for ways to address some of the pain points in our lovely new library so I walked through the library with a video camera and used Mozilla Popcorn Maker to create and post a “VH-1 Pop-up Video” style video asking people for suggestions about how they might make better use of our space. And yeah, I am about to be a retiree so I get that VH-1 Pop-up Video and Mozilla Popcorn Maker are anachronisms to, probably, 85% of you reading this now!!! #HavingOldMan KneesSucksButYouGetToRetireSoTheresThat 🤣🤣🤣

A couple of times over the years I seem to have hit the mark and a few posts have held up pretty well over time. Sometimes posts aged really, really poorly and it was more like, “Well this is the end of an era error…” 🤣🤣🤣

Always, though, you’ve let me feel safe sharing my successes and sometimes my frustrations and failures. I hope you know how truly lucky I’ve felt for that alone.

I’ve read countless amazing posts from fellow bloggers; I’ve cherished comments that many of you posted or sometimes sent me privately via email; and I’ve stolen borrowed countless amazing ideas from listserv posts.

You’ve helped me think through challenges in ways that I likely wouldn’t have been able to get to on my own; you’ve helped me to realize that I wasn’t alone in feeling frustrated or deflated or ALONE…; and you helped me to know that in spite of the random thing that was my anxiety of the day, that everything was gonna be OK.

Please continue to support each other. Please continue to be kind to one another and yourselves. Please continue to do the truly important work that you do. Please help this wonderful community continue to thrive.

While I didn’t get to accomplish everything that I wanted to accomplish when I first became a school librarian 24 years ago, I hope that I’m leaving the libraries and institutions that I workied in, and maybe even the profession, a little better than I found it.

As I turn off the lights in what will no longer be “my library” for the last time, I can honestly say that I will leave full of gratitude for all that I’ve been given and full of hope because of all of you and the wonderful work that you will continue to do.

Thank you for that. That you all for all of that.

Farewell friends. ❤️❤️❤️



That lovely moment when you go to the last elementary chapel of the year and you get notes of love–and two overdue books! 🤣🥰🤣😍

20 thoughts on “on gratitude…

  1. Dear Dave,

    Since we first met as bus buddies at an AISL conference nearly 15 years ago, I’ve admired your optimistic energy and your dedicated professionalism. Your steady presence will be sorely missed, not only by your students but all of your AISL family around the world. Please do keep your promise to be a KARL and continue sharing all your amazing ideas and insights with us!

    Best wishes (and some jealousy) on your retirement,

  2. Dave,
    You will be sorely missed! Talk about gratitude, thank you for answering all of my tech, scanner, libguides, etc etc questions – graciously and promptly. What will we do without your wit, kindness and brainpower? Enjoy a very well deserved retirement. Wishing you good health and lots of exciting travel adventures.

  3. You will be missed. I’ve enjoyed your humor and wit tremendously. Now- it’s time for you to start making the tour around the continental states and help us fellow librarians out … as a consultant!

  4. Dave,
    You’ve always been such an inspiration to me! I’ve saved many of your blog posts to reference later and incorporated several of your ideas. If you ever get bored in retirement, you could certainly take up writing or consulting!

    Best of luck to you in this next chapter! (hehe!) Your wit and wisdom will be missed!

  5. Wishing you the absolutely very best, Dave. You have been an inspiration to me not only as a librarian, but also as a valuable AISL member. Thank you for everything, especially your research thoughts and ideas, and I know you will make the most of your “retirement.” Thanks, Reba

  6. Everyone is saying such nice things, and all I can think is, “Damn you and your backing track”…

    Words fail. Know that it’s been a privilege and I’m a better librarian for knowing you. Go slay retirement 😉


    • Thank you for saying what I wanted to say, Shelagh! I can’t listen to music like that while reading this post!

  7. Since I went to your session at my first AISL conference in New Orleans, I have been so impressed by you! I have borrowed lots of your ideas from listserv posts and conference presentations over the years, and I have always appreciated how thoughtful and open you are about the life of a school librarian. Best wishes for wherever life takes you next!
    P.S. I too used Mozilla Popcorn Maker and tried (poorly) to make Pop-Up Video-style videos. 🙂

  8. Welcome to retirement! It is nice to sleep in and choose when you leave the house. Finding something to focus on that first year helped my transition. I can’t wait to hear about your next great adventure.

  9. I’m with Shelagh. You had my eyes leaking at the backing track.

    I love you so much, Dave. You have truly elevated the profession and made us all better through your blog posts, conference presentations, and listserv contributions. Also, no one will ever do hashtags like you do.

    I’ll see you in NY and/or Hawaii, my friend.

    Congrats on a well-earned retirement.

  10. Congratulations on your retirement! And thank you for all the wisdom and humor you’ve shared over the years.

  11. Dave, Thank you for another wonderful post! I’ve never actually met you IRL as the kids say, but I have learned so much from you over the years via the blog and listserv. I’ve always appreciated your willingness to share ideas with thoughtfulness, a generous spirit, and a sense of humor. Congratulations!

  12. Dave, Enjoy your retirement and know that you belong in the Library Hall of Fame! You have shared so much of your wisdom and humor with others and contributed to the profession in many ways, small and large. Big shoes to fill, we are all filled with gratitude!

  13. Dave, though I never had the pleasure of meeting you in person, your words via blog post have enlightened and entertained me these many years. So, thank you for sharing your honesty, humor, and grace. Happy trails into retirement!

  14. Congratulations, Dave!
    I’ve so appreciated your humor, your great ideas, the way you would candidly share your experiences with classes. I’ve learned some really helpful things from you and am grateful! Hoping your retirement is full of wonderful things….

  15. I will join the chorus and say that I will miss your vision and your humor. You model curiosity and reflective practice, and you have been an inspiration to me. I will miss meals and bus chats—and I think we are all going to miss your voice on the listserv and blog. Guess I need to start packing for Hawaii!

  16. What a gift it has been to know and work with you! Thank you for all the ideas you’ve shared (I don’t care if anachronistic, I now *really* want to make a library pop-up video), your humor, and especially the way you encourage so many of us to share and build upon ideas. These kinds of transitions can be so hard, but know that what you have given to AISL and to school librarianship will reverberate for many years to come. I hope to see you on some of your post-retirement travels!

  17. So much gratitude to you. I would not have eased into my first school library position out of graduate school without you. You are always a positive and trusted voice that I hear from within. This is not the end!

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