Thursday, January 31, 2013
This week, I’ve mentioned to a few folks that January has felt like it’s been both a year long and a day long. Has your 2013 felt this way as well?
We’ve had so many exciting things happening at Lerner this past month, not to mention the accolades (CSK Honor! Batchelder Honor! MN Book Award Finalist!) that just rolled in this week, honoring the previous year’s efforts. But with changes and announcements comes a consumption of time. How to reply to requests? How to track a system of numerous, high-quality titles? How to respond to market requests for multiple formats? How to continue internal and external growth in the face of just getting things done? Somehow, we accomplish all of this—and well—but it can leave a person with little room for thought. We work with words, and words require time.
Regardless of your line of work, you can likely relate. As librarians, teachers, authors, students, and publishing colleagues, you too work in a world of words. It takes time to read something, and more time to reflect, and more time to respond thoughtfully. With information coming at us constantly, it can be easy to lose focus. How do you manage your priorities? Do you make time to think? Does the chaos of information distract you from the heart of what you’re truly best at? Do you have the time to consider critically the quality of the information you’re consuming?
I often worry about this for my teacher and librarian friends. They spend a lot of the day helping people. But they’re also expected to read through and process tons of information around the information that they’re actually sharing. It isn’t enough to know good books and avoid bad* books. They’re also expected to know reading programs, pedagogy, funding options, review opinions, the impacts of pending legislation on their programs, and more. It’s amazing.
When I consider those pressures on time, I wonder: what can we do to help? The answer seems often to be: make things easier for our customers. Create reliable, engaging content that covers a lot of those bases at once. Curriculum aligned? Check. Leveled reading program aligned? Check. Well reviewed? Check. Good value for your dollar? Check. (I’m still working on the legislation awareness piece, but that’s for another blog post…).
My point is this: I overload my own plate because I know I have a lot of trustworthy resources at my disposal. When you can trust your foundation elements, you can build more and do more. I like to think of Lerner’s books as a trustworthy foundation for readers. It isn’t a crapshoot of a purchase. You know you’re getting quality and covering the bases. And that saves time.
*What is a bad book? Opinions vary, but to me, a bad book is one that’s poorly researched, poorly written, and poorly presented.