I was corresponding pretty frequently last week with two of my favourite people, Melanie Mulcaster @the_mulc and Jennifer Brown @JennMacBrown, about some big projects and ideas when this realization hit me like a ton of bricks - I've only known them this calendar year (2016). In fact, I've only met Melanie face to face twice - at Treasure Mountain Canada and at Maker Ed Toronto. I've only met Jennifer once in person, at that same Maker Ed Toronto event in July.
Despite this brief period of time together, I have to admire and thank Melanie and Jennifer for pushing my thinking, supporting my experiments, and providing feedback in thoughtful, caring, engaged ways.
You can tell by my Twitter feed how important these two have become. This is a copy-and-paste of my notifications.
And all of this transpired over the course of just a single day!
Jennifer has saved my bacon more than she's realized. I am the school library editorial board representative on Open Shelf, the official online publication of the Ontario Library Association. I've had trouble trying to solicit articles from school library professionals because these are typically very busy people with not a lot of time to spare to write, and we have another publication (The Teaching Librarian, OSLA's magazine) to fill with content as well. Not only has Jennifer written an article for Open Shelf, she's agreed to be a regular columnist! Look for her "It's Elementary: Adventures in School Libraries" articles to appear in late 2016. (I should also mention that her writing is impressive - it's the right mix of emotion and information, personal and professional. Open Shelf's readers are going to love it.)
Melanie is an inspiration. She created and ran a course on the TVO site Teach Ontario called "MakerSpaces on the Spot and on a Dime". I've been asked to do something similar about graphic novels. I didn't think I could do it. Melanie set the bar too high! Melanie's course is absolutely incredible, a pedagogical gold mine. She (and the fabulous Alanna King, who runs the very-popular book clubs on Teach Ontario) answered my numerous email questions patiently and reassuringly.
Both these teacher-librarians have also been incredibly helpful and supportive with my finger knitting endeavours. Melanie told me about a fabulous place to buy yarn inexpensively. Jennifer has offered to host finger knitting socials at her house. When I post photos of my work in progress, they often like, retweet or reply to them.
I feel blessed and fortunate to have met this pair of human dynamos. I'm sad that, since we are in different school boards (Peel vs Toronto), we don't have the opportunity to meet as often as I'd like. However, thanks to social media and the immediacy of texts and emails, their advice and words of encouragement are close by. I can hardly wait until the OLA Superconference when we'll be there simultaneously (with thousands of other library folks, but we'll find each other among the crowds).