As temperatures soar to unwelcome heights and the smell of smoke is cause for alarm, The Hub would like to extend its best wishes to all our colleagues, their family and friends, and those we don’t know, who have been affected in any way by the fire monster.
Our history and our nation are dotted with disasters, particularly cyclones, floods and fires and so few Australians would be immune to their effects. But it is the burning or drowning of a school that always seems to draw the focus of the news crews, and yesterday, was no exception. The Channel 9’s Today news crew was on scene at the remains of the Dunalley School on the Tasman Penisnula in Tasmania, filming from what was the library. Now there are just rows of ash where the books had been and molten plastic lumps of what had been the computer centre. Even in disaster, the library becomes the hub of the school.
Dunalley Primary, sadly, is not the first school to experience such destruction, and, sadly, nor will it be the last. But, once again, its restoration seems to be the spearhead of the recovery process and Fullers Bookshop in Hobart
was co-ordinating an appeal to restock the library before the Red Cross launched its relief appeal. (Those of us interstate who wish to contribute by buying a book voucher can contact them on 03 6234 3800.)
One of the strengths of the TL community is its connectedness. Even though we may be the only one of us in our schools, we connect through state, national and international listservs, blogs, nings, wikis, personal connections, Facebook and other social networking tools in a way that few other professions do, and it is those connections which enable us to spread the word of need and want with almost the speed of the fire or the flood. Proof of that comes from the 5000 teddies collected within a month for distribution to Canberra children after the 2003 fires, and again after Cyclone Yasi and the Victorian fires of 2009; the quilts-for-kids for the 2009 Victorian victims; the snowflakes for the children of Sandy Hook and a myriad of others.
The library is the hub of the school and the TL is the hub of that. So let’s use that leadership position to be pro-active in times of disaster. Look for opportunities, or initiate them, to exploit our connectedness to help communities to heal. With the Australian Bureau of Meteorology forecasting “treacherous fire conditions” at least once every four days for the next five weeks, sadly, the opportunity will arise for many. Be the beacon to which others turn, and the rest of us can be the rocks on which you stand.