Posts Tagged new librarianship

Arriving in Italy

The flight in to Rome and train rides immediately after were hectic and I was incredibly relieved to make it to the Florence train station, Santa Maria Novella, where Gimena met us and we boarded the train to Pistoia. Not to say there weren’t some cool moments of the trip, but we were all so exhausted after being on the move for 12 hours! The ride through the country to reach Pistoia was beautiful.
When we reached Pistoia, Gimena had asked her husband to meet us and he picked up our suitcases and we walked the rest of the way to our hotel for the week, Residenza D’Epoca Puccini. We met the manager and he told us a little bit about the house which was home to the Puccini family who were active in the local community.
After we settled in, we walked to the hotel the embassy group was staying at, Villa de Cappugi for dinner and to mingle with the group. It was a long walk, about 30-40 minutes to the outside of town. It gave us all a chance to see a little bit of Pistoia our first day. Dinner was amazing and it was fun to meet some of the American Corners managers and directors. On the way back, we took a wrong turn and ended up in the Piazza de Duomo which was fully alive after being quiet when we came in. It was beautiful and all lit up for a festival of stars on Sunday.



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Global Librarianship

I’m incredibly excited because in just one week I will be traveling to Florence, Italy to learn more about global librarianship! Syracuse University’s iSchool has teamed up with the American Embassy in Rome.
The first week, we have the opportunity to present several workshops at a European librarians conference, to embassy staff, and at the Pistoia Library. I will be presenting a workshop on sensory storytime with of my classmates, Greg; it’s a topic that I’m interested in and look forward to sharing with our colleagues.
The second week, we will be touring some of the libraries and museums in Florence including the Uffizi and the Accademia Galleria! I’ll be making posts throughout the trip to document the experience and what I learn about being a global librarian while we are in Italy.
Image from Image from

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Workshops and Wonder

I’ve had some amazing experiences the past few weeks with professionals working in the field.

I was selected to be a student shadow at the local SLA chapters workshop, “A Librarian’s Toolbox: Reopened,” which shared tools that librarians should be aware of to better serve members and accomplish their jobs. There were a number of programs that exist that I wasn’t aware of or hadn’t thought of as a professional tool for librarians. Take Pinterest for example, an MSLIS student at SU, Sarah Bratt, presented on how to use Pinterest to market your library. Typically, people assume that Pinterest is for crafters, cooks, and fans. Using the site, Sarah created a pathfinder (subject guide) on Syracuse history for a class.

Last night, our class visited the Restoration and Preservation departments of SU’s Bird Library. We were able to handle rare books and the tools used to repair them. We also watched demonstrations from students including how to fix a binding. We also helped reattach pages in books that had come out. It was an amazing experience to see how to fix some basic problems with books that I may encounter in my career and in my own shelves.

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Movie Making

For one of my classes we were assigned to make a video and publish it on YouTube. I had the opportunity to work with a great group and we decided to do something creative… and a little bit weird. The assignment was to answer the question “You need a Master’s degree for that?” Thanks to my co-creators: Anna Weinberger, Dina Meky, and Deirdre Downs!

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MSLIS choose your adventure

We’re getting to that point in the semester when you select which classes you want to take in the spring and perhaps even into next year. I think we need a guide for what impact these decisions will have upon your future in the job market. Especially after this recent article published in Library Journal about the employment rate for new graduates.

This is pretty terrifying for someone like myself who just began the program as a way to secure a career, considering I’ve done that previously. So how can you stand out amongst all the candidates with the “same” degree in a hiring climate like we currently have? Where libraries and librarians are not valued as highly as they should be in a society that espouses their value of education?

One thing which I am working on is putting myself out there more in terms of networking and socializing with my peers and professionals in the field. This is something that is a bit of a challenge to me, and I know to many others, as an introvert. I’m looking forward to conferences and workshops this year as both a way to learn more about the field of librarianship and as a way to meet more people.

Select courses that offer marketable skills. Hmmm… back to the original challenge. So many electives are being offered that give you a glimpse down the rabbit hole, so to speak. Each one seems to show you a new opportunity to explore. For example: “New Directions in Academic Libraries”, “Distributed Learning Librarianship”, “Creating, Managing, and Preserving Digital Assets”. I was hoping for a Youth Services elective but sadly that isn’t being offered next semester. However maybe taking a class in a different program is a possibility…”Instructional Design and Development II” could be really useful especially if I consider Academic Libraries as a good fit or even in the public setting.

Luckily, I have a few more weeks to ponder my decision and maybe get some more info so I can make an informed choice.

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The Organic Library

I interviewed the children’s librarian at Mundy Library yesterday for a class project. When we were talking about the resources her library offers to the community, she mentioned that they have a social worker on staff a few days each week. We began talking about the need for other people as resources in the library and I mentioned one of the ideas from the reading was “checking-out” experts, for example a lawyer, a nurse, or an accountant. These professionals would donate their time to come in and consult with patrons on a one-on-one basis (p.67).

I think this is an amazing idea for many of the library’s in the area. What if each library were to host a different professional one or two days each week. First off, the expert would be able to connect and market their skills to a unique group of people. Secondly, this would not be limited to one population of members; it would be a draw for the surrounding areas as well. I know around tax season I wouldn’t mind the opportunity to consult with an accountant, for free, to answer a few questions I have about filling out those forms.

Despite the great advances we have had as a society, the common perception is still that a library is that place with all the books. Why can’t it be that place where I was able to answer some question or the place where I created something? One of the big movements in library’s right now is the idea of the Makerspace. Fayetteville Free Library has created an amazing space for members with their Fab Lab. What I like about this is the space is not limited to the 3-D printer (although that could warrant its own area), but also brings in sewing machines and other resources to allow the entire community to utilize the Lab and see its value.

Another reimagining of the role of the librarian and the library is the idea of “production librarians” (p.67) who would, beyond their roles producing for the library itself, work for members who need a “production assistant” to implement their project. These individuals and others would help us redefine what a library is for the general public by making us (as librarians) the expert and our skills more accessible (or easily identified) to our members.

The idea of a library is organic and grows from the community it represents; by limiting the offerings of a library, we are in affect stifling the community and their opportunity to develop.

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Crafting a Mission

According to R.D. Lankes text, “The Atlas of New Librarianship,” “The mission of librarians is to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities.” This statement is broad and encompasses the entire field of librarianship, from public to academic, from schools to special collections. Additionally, the definition of a library is currently evolving to incorporate more diverse collections of materials. Perhaps the solution for a librarian, whether new or invested in a position, is to have a personal mission statement.

I first encountered the concept of having a personal mission while I was pursuing my teaching degree. At Le Moyne, one of the tasks for preservice or student teachers was to develop a brief statement that encompassed our goals and who we were as teachers. I created the following statement at that time to summarize my views:

“My mission as a teacher is to help all my students succeed by providing them with every possible learning opportunity. I will strive to achieve this goal by teaching in ways that meet all of my students’ needs. As an adult and authority figure, I will apply the rules consistently and universally to my students. I will endeavor to treat all of my students with respect individually and culturally.” (Brown 2008)

Now, while my ideas have changed, I still view this exercise as critical to my development as a professional. Within my current viewpoint as a new library student, drawing on the new librarianship mission and my prior views, I would like to share the following as my new and evolving mission as a librarian:

 My mission as a librarian is to facilitate access to information for all the diverse members of my library community as they each pursue their search for knowledge. I will work within my community to improve the state of our society by providing services and programs that my members need to foster their journeys. I will strive to create a welcoming environment for all community members. I will continue to grow and expand my knowledge in the field of librarianship to better serve each of my members needs.

While this certainly doesn’t address all of a librarians responsibilities, I believe that it does sum up their intention or purpose. I imagine that if you wrote your own mission it would differ from mine and that’s to be expected as each person is unique. I would however assume that they would all have something in common, some theme that would tie them all together. I hope you will be inspired to create your own mission and apply to your current role or use it as a guide to your continued development in the field.

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