My mom is a librarian for a local university. She is retiring at the end of the year after 40 years of working at the same library. As she leaves, she will be donating a good sum of money to establish an endowment to further support the library where she has spent her entire career.
I’ve been helping my mom with a lot of the details. I came up with the title for the endowment, and I convinced my mom to use her own artwork from when she did Chinese painting as a hobby over 30 years ago as the bookplate for each book that is purchased using funding from her endowment. As a side note, I’m also desperately trying to convince her to pick up her brush again after she retires, because she’s actually a very good artist.
I also wrote a few short paragraphs about my mom and her career that will be put in a catalog which lists all of the endowments established for the library (I’m a good writer sometimes). My mom has seen and influenced so many changes in the library throughout her career, it’s amazing. I find the transition from card catalogs to online databases incredibly fascinating (I love looking back at technological advances and seeing how far we’ve come in such a short amount of time), and my mom played a big part of that change for her library.
Writing about my mom and seeing thank you notes/emails from people at my mom’s library helped me realize that my mom has made a major impact on her library. Her endowment serves as a way to perpetuate her legacy with the library, so that future visitors to the library can benefit from her contributions. They may not know her personally, but they will know her.
This is the kind of thing I want. Forty years from now, I want be able to say that I’ve done something that will benefit my community (local, national, global, who knows) in some way. I want to make a difference somehow. Donating to a library seems small compared to building houses/schools in third-world countries (I know someone who is doing that too), but it is still a way to make a positive difference in the world that has a lasting effect beyond our own lifetime.
As I continue my soul searching and journey for my inner passions, I want to keep this in mind. What will my legacy be?