Friday, 7 October 2016

If....a Library Lament by Dawn Finch (ish)

If...a Library Lament by Dawn Finch (ish)

If you can keep your smile when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can be wholly trusted while others doubted
    But make allowance for that doubting too;   
If you can give and give, and not be tired by giving, 
    Or handle being lied about, without dealing in lies, 
Or be ignored, yet never give way to ignoring, 
    Or look too smug, nor talk too wise: 

If you can offer dreams—but not make dreams your master;   
    If you can think—and make sharing knowledge your aim;   
If you can meet with savage cuts and disaster 
    And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth that you have spoken 
    Twisted by governments, the ignorant and fools, 
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, 
    And stoop and build them up with worn-out tools: 

If you can make one heap of all your dedication 
    And risk it on another year of grief, 
Yet keep on working hard against huge losses
    When friendly helper becomes employment thief; 
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew 
    To serve your users long after they are gone,   
And hold on when there is almost nothing left in you 
    Except the will which says to Them: ‘Hold on!’ 

If you can talk with all and keep your virtue,   
    With equality for all and the common touch, 
If you can take the endless cuts that slash you, 
    And keep on working for the place you love so much; 
If you can fill each unforgiving minute 
    With a smile and crushing down your closure fear,   
Yours is the library and everything that’s in it,   
    And—which is more—you’ll be a library worker, my dear

With absolutely no apologies to Kipling, and a day late for National Poetry Day - If, the Library Lament from Dawn Finch

Dawn is a children's writer and librarian and the current president of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) She is also a member of the CWIG committee and an active reading and library campaigner.


Lynne Benton said...

Brilliant, Dawn!

Ms. Yingling said...

I am absolutely astonished at the poor support for British libraries! One would think that they would be in much better states than US ones, given the rich history and culture of the country, and yet they are not. On the plus side, you have Leon restaurants, and we have McDonalds!

Dotty Jo x said...

Bless you! Love from a librarian. xxx

Mystica said...


Dianne Hofmeyr said...

Brilliant Dawn!

I'm very sad to hear of the cuts In Haringey Children's Libraries. Sean Edwards has done an amazing job of building an incredible ethos between the librarians and the children and parents using those libraries. There's alway something going on and such a vital atmosphere. What a blow! and how shortsighted of the Council. Sean was once quoted as saying on a Book Trust site: 'When a child recognises themselves or something of their own experience in a book that's inclusivity in its widest sense'