Restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed. #2: 2011
These words were spoken January 24, 1993, at actress and humanitarian Audrey Hepburn’s funeral. Hepburn (1929 –1993) was one of the most successful film actresses in the world and received Academy Award nominations for Sabrina (1954), The Nun’s Story (1959), Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), and Wait Until Dark (1967). She was recognized as “the most beautiful woman of all time” and a fashion icon In fact, her Givenchy “little black dress” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s sold in 2006 at a Christie’s auction for $920,000, almost seven times its pre-sale estimate. However, it is her work with UNICEF as a Goodwill Ambassador that keeps her in our hearts and minds.
Although born in Belgium, Hepburn was a British citizen and attended school in England. It was her wartime experiences that inspired her passion for humanitarian work. Her unique ability to connect, particularly with children, opened many doors for humanitarian relief efforts in Africa and Asia. From 1988 until her death, she worked tirelessly in some of the most profoundly disadvantaged communities in the world.
I am most intrigued by Hepburn’s thoughts about remaining relevant and able to lead. I understand the concept that we need to be restored, rebuilt, and reclaimed so that we can remain passionate about what we do, who we are, and who we affect. For me, it means that my constant quest for new ideas, new ways of doing things, and reaching people is essential to the very existence of the library.
But, to redeem one’s self…well, this is a new idea for me.
In its most basic form, “to redeem” means “to buy back; to get back; to recover, as in to pay off a debt.” To redeem one’s self professionally embodies the concept that, in order to sustain and feed librarianship, we need to constantly be giving back, repaying the debt, and redefining the worth or value of the experience. I really like the idea of giving back and redefining the worth of librarianship to the library associations and universities, to those who have mentored us along the way, and to our peers and family who redeem us on a daily basis. We, as a community and as individuals, must redeem the folks who fulfilled the pledge, who restore the honour, and who validate the worth of our efforts.
Thank you Audrey. Your spirit and wisdom live on, not just in that little black dress, but in everything we do to restore, renew, revive, reclaim, and redeem librarianship.
firstname.lastname@example.org #2 February/ 2011