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(Professional) Beach Reading

My summer office has a GREAT view!

I am very fortunate to live at the beach. That means I spend lots of my summer complaining about the masses of people who descend on my little town for vacation each year - while, secretly, not being able to blame them. It also means that when my school district asked me to compile a summer reading list of professional titles for teachers, they referred to the final product as a "beach reading list," which I find endearing.

I don't know about you, but the pile(s) of books I've been "saving for summer" has grown beyond what I'll ever be able to tackle. Each year I look on, longingly, as many of the superstars on my PLN take on the "Book A Day"challenge that Donalyn Miller issues every summer. But I know my limits. Despite my love of the sport, I'm a fairly slow reader and will *never* play in the big leagues. A book a week, maybe. But a book a day? Oi.

Even so, I love passing on the challenge to others and encourage everyone within the sound of my tweets to play along. As Donalyn rightfully points out, this challenge is as much about connecting with a community of readers as it is about the books you get to mark as "read" on Goodreads. So, to those who can do it, think they can do it, or at least want to do it, I say go for it!  I'll be sitting on the sidelines cheering you on!

As for me, well… soon the lights in the library will be clicked off for the duration, but only after I've made several trips to the car with boxes and bags filled with summer projects. What I'm looking for this summer is balance. Rather than making work OR play a priority this summer, I’m shooting for that place in between where I can do the following, if not in equal, then at least in healthy measure.

  • Heal: It’s been a tough year for all educators and I need to make time to tend to my wounds. I’m pretty sure most of us will emerge from this school year with scars.

  • Connect: Both virtually and in person: whether just having coffee or as part of an online book club, I need to cultivate some old and new relationships.

  • Rest: I will sleep 8 hours per night. I will. Really. No, really.  And I will nap too.  So there.

  • Share: I’ve got a few presentations lined up for summer. I haven’t overbooked myself, but I’ve got a few opportunities to be a part some great conversations this summer. Can’t wait!

  • Create: I’m not artist, but I like taking pictures and building webpages – I hope to do lots of both this summer.

  • Disconnect: This might be the hardest of all my summer goals, but I know I need to unplug and go “off the grid” for awhile. I’m starting to dream in 140 characters; that can’t be good.

  • Play: Enough said.

  • Advocate: I will bedocumenting the hours I spend on work related projects as part of the 2000hours project.  If you are in education,you MUST do this.

  • Learn: There’s so much to learn. I know I'm a nerd, but this is the part of summer I look forward to most. (This and the napping). Reading, whether online, on an eReader or in the pages of an old school book, summer is a great opportunity to lose yourself in words.

Which brings me back to “beach reading.” This list is a combination of some titles that were already on my reading list and those that my fantabulous PLN suggested. I got the idea to crowdsource the list from my friend and mentor Buffy Hamilton who constantly seems to be blazing trails for me to tread. If you contributed to the list, please accept my humble gratitude. (And if I didn’t include something you suggested, it’s only because I was limited to a certain # of words by my “editor.”)

A couple of titles that did not make the list that I'm sharing with my district, but that I will for sure read personally are:  The Atlas of New Librarianship by R. David Lankes and The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth by Alexandra Robbins.  It's exciting to think about all of these as being part of how I grow and change as a librarian, an educator and as a person this summer. 

All that said, no matter how you spend your summer… whether your toes are in the sand, you're breathing the mountain air or you're simply lounging in your favorite chair, remember: you’ve earned this break, you deserve whatever pampering you indulge in and after a year spent taking care of everyone else, it’s time to take care of yourself.


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