I realize that it can be difficult to find things to be thankful for in the news this year. It may seem like a daily onslaught of tragedies, hate, and strife. It is impossible for a community such as ours, dedicated to improving society, not to be moved. Hurricanes, mass shootings, growing international tensions, racists marching, sexual harassment disclosures…its enough to drive anyone to withdraw.
But if you seek to change the world, to improve society, you must first see the world as it is. In addition to being a community of service, we are also a community of scholars. We match our passion with dispassionate tools of research. We study how libraries respond to hurricanes. We examine how first responders serve people with disabilities. We study school librarians faced every day with the ravages of poverty. We mine millions of tweets to understand the threats to democracy. We research faith communities. We travel the globe to understand how policy effects the diffusion of ideas.
And then, we act. Because in the face of great need, great effort it required. Our faculty, staff, students, alumni, and partners engage. We use archives to fight racism in our schools. We travel the state to inspire children to read, giving them books, hope, and self-worth. We build libraries as places of creation and community. In our schools, universities, corporations, governments; online and off; in palaces and huts; in South Carolina, the nation, and the planet we build the world our communities deserve.
That work gives us much to be thankful for this year. Our enrollment numbers are up. We are hosting national events, and have a significant presence at national and international conferences. We publish in top journals. Our alumni run the best libraries in the nation.
I am truly thankful to be part of such an incredible and caring community.
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.