You lived a good, long life, but sadly, many bloggers and less than reputable journalists keep telling me of your passing. You lived a long, good life, but tragically, you were no longer relevant or important. No one uses the eReaders, iPads or 3D printers you offer for free, this technology is so outdated. Not a single person can benefit from your career services or the school help you can provide anymore. And don’t even get me started on community spaces. Who’s even used a community space in the past decade? The people making these articles certainly haven’t, and they’re the be all and end all.
Libraries and librarians certainly are incapable of changing and adapting to the new technologies and challenges presented to them. That’s why books are still carved into stones.
Improving society seems to have two major themes: innovation and leadership. In the almost 24 years I’ve been alive, I don’t think I’ve heard the word innovation more than I have the past few months since starting grad school. Librarians love innovation, and they should. In my lifetime so far, the field has changed so dramatically, and it will only continue to keep changing. And the librarians who can roll with the punches, take these changes, and make something wonderful out of them are the ones who will be improving their society and helping their communities to the best of their ability. A major part of librarianship seems to be adaptability in creative and successful ways. Leadership, a skill that I personally break into a cold sweat over, seems to go hand in hand with innovation. It’s one thing to be adaptable and creative, it’s another to be able to successfully implement these changes and have people take you seriously and follow your ideas.
I want to come back to this post after the class discussion and edit in some thoughts.
I know the thread on communities better than any other thread in the Atlas of New Librarianship, and I’m hoping I can present you all with this post without spoiling any of the fun my group has planned for you.
I’ll keep my thoughts on community short, since my group and I will be touching on most of them in class on Tuesday. I think one of the most important things to remember about community is that everyone around you is a different person with different wants and needs. As a librarian, you want to be able to provide resources, programs, etc, to everyone in your community, but you cannot possibly know what everyone in your community will want. Because of this, you need to get out there into the community. Talk to the users of the library and learn how to serve everyone in the best possible way you can.
The bad thing about blogs is that sometimes I forget they exist. That said, let’s go back in time and discuss facilitation.
Facilitation is defined as “the act of facilitating something.” Facilitating is defined as “to make (an action or process) easy or easier”. Merriam-Webster should take their own advise, I think. The activity that the facilitation group had us do was to go around to campus libraries and see how they were facilitating knowledge, access, environment, and motivation. We broke off into groups to investigate each of these. What this activity made me realize was the importance of signage in libraries, and the importance of making sure your technology works before you advertise it. It you offer a “text a librarian” service, make sure you’re staffing someone to check on these texts. If you have a QR code, make sure it’s large enough that a reader can scan it without 10 minutes of frustration. What surprised me about this activity was that it lead to a complete overlap with IST605, at least in the group I was in. Immediately upon approaching the reference desk, all I could think of was “this man is doing the complete opposite of everything Jill has ever taught me.” I loved seeing an overlap in my classes out in “the real world”, though it was in a negative way.
My significant other was recently asked by a co-worker why he didn’t have a smart phone. The conversation went something like this:
Him: I don’t really need one? They’re expensive and I have a computer?
Co-Worker: But what do you do if you want to know something and you’re not near a computer?
Him: I ask Meghin.
I have an overwhelming need to know the answer to everything in the entire universe (do snails sleep though?!?!?!) And so far the answer to “what is information?” seems to be “Everything in the entire universe. And nothing at all. Good luck.”
I believe one of the most important points thread two makes is, “to be of service in building knowledge means to be part of a conversation.” It is important to be aware that these conversations can be with yourself or with those physically around you. Through reading a book, you are, hopefully, gaining all of the knowledge that the author has left for you on the pages. By discussing that book, you are giving your conversational partner that knowledge, and learning what they took away from the same book from a different point of view. In my opinion, both types of conversation are equally important, but knowledge creation can be at its best when the two types are balanced.
I was a quiet child. Little kids are mean because they don’t know any better, and elementary school me didn’t feel like dealing with it. I had a few friends, one of which loved books as much as I did. She and I would constantly share books and pool our allowances in order to split the cost of a series we were both interested in (a brilliant plan that would become problematic when one of us would want to re-read the series after she moved). We would sit next to each other on the bus every morning and talk about our books, what we loved and what we hated. At recess, we would pretend to be our favorite characters and act out made up scenarios for them. It was what got us through the day.
I’m still a quiet adult, but through jobs and undergraduate degrees, I’ve learned that it does pay off to talk. That if you take a second to let out a deep breath and raise your hand, you’re going to benefit yourself and those around you. In the long run, sharing what you’ve taken away from the homework isn’t much different than raving about your newest book with your best friend on the school bus. The conversation with yourself is important, but sharing that knowledge through conversations with others is just as important
Hello IST511 class and anyone else who might find this blog. My name is Meghin. I’m a first year LIS graduate student at Syracuse University. I got my Bachelor’s Degree in 2013 from SUNY Oswego in studio art and psychology. I was born and raised in the Syracuse area, and currently volunteer at the library in my home town. I hope to become a public librarian, and am looking to get as much experience under my belt as I can while still being a full time grad student and working a full time job outside of the field (have to pay the bills somehow, right?).
I’m excited to start my journey into professional librarianship, and to see where this field will take me over the next few years.
You can also find me on Twitter, Tumblr (where I also cry about TV shows and post pictures of cats in addition to library talk), and LinkedIn.