Lean In OR Thrive?


"It’s not ‘What do I want to do?’, it’s ‘What kind of life do I want to have?’"  Arianna Huffington from Thrive
When I accepted the appointment as President Elect of my State's school library association in the fall of 2010 for the three year leadership term that lasted from 2011-2013, I had no idea that I would be a "Mom" in the late summer of 2011.  The appointment included travel across the state and across the country.  Twenty-six trips in two years, eight of these trips were out of the state in 2011 and 2012.  This might not seem like a lot for someone who travels regularly but it was quite a lot for me as a new mom.

“Careers are a jungle gym, not a ladder.” ― Sheryl Sandberg, from Lean In

Pam and Hannah
I could not have held it together without four women [actually there were many, many more] who helped me tremendously during that time. Mona who really pushed our association to a new place with technology, she and I worked on a new web site design and that in turn increased our membership to a new level in a time when associations were struggling for members.  [Our association reached a new high of 900 members in 2012.]  Pam a friend, confidante, and travel companion, was my mentor throughout the leadership term.  Beth who is a far better mind and speaker than I could be, pushed through the politics and really advocated for school librarians in Tennessee.  And finally, Alice whose organization and just plain hard-work as the association's secretary was invaluable.

I am not sure that I would go this far, but  ... "There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women." Madeleine Albright quote

At the end of 2012 I struggled with how to proceed in my career, I knew that my travel should taper off somewhat given my new mom status and at the same time I wanted to continue my career and professional growth.  I came up with several options to "lean-in" while still being present for my children.

  • First - Work on my own school library program - make it the best that it can be
  • Second - Write for grants to support my library program 

There was a third thing that helped that was quite unexpected - I began to write.  First, I began to record my work in my own school library program in this blog in May of 2014.  Then I submitted an article to Knowledge Quest for the January 2015 journal.
Little, Hannah Byrd. "Prove it: putting together the evidence-based practice puzzle." Knowledge Quest 43.3 (2015): 62+.
This boosted my confidence, so I applied and was selected to be an AASL Knowledge Quest blogger starting in July 2015.  So, look for my posts coming soon to the KQ site.
Silly family photo

Here are a couple of books about career balance for women and moms

  • Sandberg, Sheryl, and Nell Scovell. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. : Knopf, 2013. 
  • Huffington, Arianna Stassinopoulos. Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-being, Wisdom, and Wonder. : Harmony, 2014.


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