Research into Practice. Summer Self Care

recharge verb recharged; recharging; recharges


1 : to make a new attack 2 : to regain energy or spirit 3 : to become charged again : to refill with electric charge // Batteries keep our devices working throughout the day—that is, they have a high energy density—but they can take hours to recharge when they run down.— Patrice Simon et al. (Merriam Webster,

Just as batteries run down and take hours to recharge, individuals need to take time to recharge their mental, emotional, and physical batteries. An essential element of self care is taking time to reflect and be mindful. Ideally, educators will employ daily strategies that keep their internal batteries from getting too depleted during the school year. Summer months, which have historically been considered the best perk of K–12 education, are an ideal time to recharge your school library energies. Most educators remain committed to their positions, their schools, and students throughout the summer. They find value in using those months to recharge, taking time to reflect on the successes of the past academic year, develop goals for the next one, or indulge in some self-development that may entail reading the professional book they have been hearing about, catching up on the latest and greatest kid-reads, or organizing their professional resources for the upcoming year of planned instruction. Educator self care is critical after a busy, stressful school year. Recharging needs to be a priority, especially in the summer when there is time to focus on one's own individual needs. The premise is educators who care for themselves can care more effectively for their students (Thompson 2019).

If self care is a priority, but you need help in actualizing a plan, this book may be your next best summer read: Take Time for You: Self-Care Action Plans for Educators (Using Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and Positive Psychology) by Tina H. Boogren (Solution Tree Press, 2018). This book provides a guide to self care through mindfulness with suggested strategies, reflection questions, and daily activities.

If reading is one of your preferred recharging activities, the following online resources offer a great place to start in choosing your next book. For inspiring reads and to get the lowdown on recent school library trends and issues, visit recommended lists such as those posted by School Library Journal or Booklist or see Scholastic's newsroom on social media at to see recommended school librarians to follow on twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or blogs. Visit our own reVIEWS+ page here at School Library Connection for current Top Picks and reviews of professional learning books (Select Grade: Post Secondary and Genre: Professional Learning on the Advanced Search page for PD titles).

Looking for inspiration to refine or implement new library instruction and hone your professional skills? Seeking professional development has never been easier or more cost-effective. Many professional organizations such as ALA, AASL, or your state-wide school library organization or favorite library vendor offer free webinars on instructional topics in addition to practical how-to for building specific management skills. Many webinars offered by organization such as Common Sense Media ( provide a wealth of inspiration and practical advice for school librarians. Common Sense Media has a long history of providing critical communication such as reviews and discussion topics that educators can use to help children become savvy consumers of multimedia or promote digital citizenship and other technology-focused topics. Go to the site and click on the "Educator" tab and then "Professional Development and Advice" to find free webinars such as "Footprint Foothold: Helping Students Manage Their Online Reputations" or "Cultivating Kindness: A Foundation for Digital Citizenship." Here at School Library Connection, visit the Workshops & Webinars tab for self-paced professional learning and archived, on-demand webinars on an array of topics.

Mindfulness is defined by psychologists Daphne Davis and Jeffery Hayes as the "moment-to-moment awareness of one's experience without judgment" (2012). The practice of mindfulness helps individuals cope with ongoing stress, build resiliency, and regulate emotions. Librarians are taking note of the benefits and multiple titles have been written specifically for the librarian audience such as The Mindful Librarian: Connecting the Practice of Mindfulness to Librarianship by Richard Moniz, Joe Eshleman, and Jo Henry, Howard Slutzky, and Lisa Moniz (Chandos Publishing, 2015). Librarians interested in engaging in the practice of mindfulness have many options for learning and opportunities to practice. Visit the American Library Association website at to see book reviews, e-course learning options, suggested websites and recommended reading on the topic of mindfulness for librarians or join a Facebook group of mindful librarians School librarians who would like to develop and implement mindfulness programming can visit, a site dedicated to providing mindfulness training in K–12 education.

Recharging your professional and personal self is one of the most important summer activities you can do to improve your overall school library program. Author Melody Beattie states, "Taking time to rest, renew, and refresh yourself isn't wasted time. Recharge. Choose what energizes you" (1996). Recharging is a win-win for you and those you work with in the school environment.

Works Cited

Beattie, Melody. Journey to the Heart: Daily Meditations on the Path to Freeing Your Soul. Harper Collins, 1996.

Davis, Daphne M., and Jeffrey Hayes. "What Are the Benefits of Mindfulness?"Monitor on Psychology (July/August 2012).

Thompson, Lindsay. "Importance of Self-Care as a Teacher." NEA Today (January 20, 2019).

About the Authors

Liz Deskins, MA, currently serves as an instructor in the School of Information at Kent State University and has been a teacher-librarian for more than 25 years. She earned her master's degree from the Ohio State University and is coauthor of the books LGBTQAI+ Books for Children and Teens: Providing a Window for All (ALA Editions, 2018) and Linking Picture Book Biographies to National Content Standards: 200+ Lives to Explore (Libraries Unlimited, 2015). She has served in numerous leadership roles within both the Ohio Educational Library Media Association and the American Association of School Librarians.

Meghan Harper, Ph.D is a professor at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. Dr. Harper serves as the MLIS graduate coordinator and the coordinator of the school library program in the School of Information and currently teaches four courses in the area of youth services. She is co-director of the Virginia Hamilton Multicultural Literature Conference, the longest running national conference of its kind ( Dr. Harper earned a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction, a master of library science, and a bachelor of science in elementary education from Kent State University. She has held administrative positions as assistant curriculum director, director of technology and libraries, and as a K–12 school librarian. Her research areas include school library administration, assessment and evaluation, ethic of care, trauma informed care, multiliteracies and informational nonfiction print and non-print resources, and bibliotherapy.

MLA Citation Harper, Meghan, and Liz Deskins. "Research into Practice. Summer Self Care." School Library Connection, July 2019,

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Entry ID: 2214601

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