Posts Tagged New Library Student
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 Wikipedia.com http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sunset_over_florence_1.jpg%5B/caption%5D
The last question Lankes makes in the 5th Thread of the Atlas of New Librarianship is “What inspires you?” The thread is about the importance of leaders from the library community to step up and be an example, motivate the members of the community, and work toward improving society as a whole. He refers to Henry V’s St. Crispin’s Day Speech from the Shakespeare play titled (not a shocker) Henry V. In his concluding remarks, he rewrites the speech with a library audience in mind and provides us with a call to arms.
Here is what inspires me:
The Declaration of Independence (http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html) which was drafted by Thomas Jefferson. A group of individuals joined together to right a perceived wrongs by the government (Great Britain) without providing representation to grieve them or a willingness to correct them. After exhausting their options for redress they announced to the people their intention to separate from their rulers and create their own government to establish and safeguard the people.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness… The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.“
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi) (http://www.biography.com/people/mahatma-gandhi-9305898 ) who fought for the rights of his people and worked to educate the public and open the eyes of society to the wrongs that they faced and help them to overcome and change the way things were to make them better. He advocated the truth and non-violence in this methods for creating social change.
“I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.”
“A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.”
“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”
Rosa Parks (http://www.biography.com/people/rosa-parks-9433715?page=1 ) who refused to give in and give up her bus seat to a white passenger and spurred the Montgomery Bus Boycott in protest of the “separate but equal” laws that dictated life at that time.
“I would like to be known as a person who is concerned about freedom and equality and justice and prosperity for all people.”
The fourth Thread in The Atlas of New Librarianship deals with communities and the importance of gaining community involvement in the library and being involved in the community. The Philadelphia Free Library seems to embody the idea of creating topical centers within libraries through some of the programs they offer the community or communities they serve. Three examples of their efforts are provided in the text and they target the business community, the writing community, and the music community. They facilitated the conversations to develop these facilities by inviting professionals from each group for collaborative conversations.
Each community was interested in promoting different library offerings for their members. The business leaders developed the idea of the Entrepreneurium in their discussion and emphasized the importance of the library for start-ups and small businesses. They saw the role of the library as connecting members to mentors, offering technical services and seminars, and providing conference rooms to connect them with a wider community. The writers wanted to develop a more creative space with an open collection of their works. They didn’t want anyone critiquing them and excluding their writings. They saw the role of the library as providing them the space where they could work and come together socially to foster conversation. The musicians, on the other hand, wanted a stage where they could perform together or for an audience. They also wanted a collection, a space where their performed works would be filed and share with other community members. The librarians part was to improve music literacy by offering classes in music appreciation.
The NOPL Cicero library hosts Library Farm, a community space where members can plant and grown vegetables. The librarians there worked with the community in a need that they could fill to increase literacy in this topic.
“This library service [the farm] would aim to educate, collecting a usable set of materials where roots and vegetables are considered kinds of public documents. It considers the processes involved in growing food along with the food itself to be information. It assumes Michael Buckland’s conception of the thingness of information, and catalogs the actual stuff that aims to convey knowledge or understanding. The documents in this library farm would partially sustain members of the community, physically, socially, and economically.” (http://infospace.ischool.syr.edu/2010/09/30/library-farm/)
Based on this quote, the idea of an artifact or a collection is only limited by what the community determines it needs. The library is the great public forum in any community. It is up to us as librarians to bring diverse groups together to facilitate conversations aimed at improving the community and putting those plans into actions.
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.
I just finished reading the second thread in “The Atlas of New Librarianship,” which is about the importance of conversations in the process of creating knowledge. Now, my first thought on this was, well of course they are. You ask questions to learn and the answers of those questions help you to deepen your understanding of a topic. What I didn’t consider was that sitting here in front of my computer I’m having a conversation with myself while writing this. Yeah, I’m talking to myself. Not to worry though, it’s all happening inside my head (this time). Oh by the way, while reading this so are you… creepy huh?
The main argument in this chapter, in my opinion, is that a book can’t teach you. What it can do however, is help you teach yourself by causing you to ask yourself questions about what you read. Huh? This is something pretty important for educators to consider when working with learners. You can facilitate their learning, assisting them in processing the information (more conversation). You can also encourage them to ask themselves those questions (like for example by keeping a journal). These questions clarify the information and lead the learner to make new connections for themselves.
Everyone has knowledge and that knowledge is not the same as any other persons. Through experiences, your worldview, you interpret facts and information in unique ways. Engaging in conversations with other people enables more questions to be asked, even if one of the participants is an expert on the topic. There are always new ideas that can be incorporated into existing knowledge.
Lastly, I’d like to point out that knowledge is the lowest order in the original Bloom’s Taxonomy (http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/bloom.html). The real question is what are you going to do with that knowledge?
PS. Are you talking to yourself again?
This blog is beginning as a school project to share my experiences as a new library student at the iSchool at Syracuse University. Additionally, it is a forum for discussing and clarifying opinions I have developed through the readings and classwork. I encourage readers to comment on my posts, argue, and share their own opinions.