Posts Tagged Professional development
The first day of the conference was a little stressful since Greg and I were presenting on Sensory Storytime that morning! It was a bit nerve-racking but I felt a little better about it because several of the embassy personnel had asked about the topic the night before at dinner.
We went to breakfast at a nice cafe, Dive Cattore near the hotel. Gimena came to walk with us to Biblioteca San Giorgio in the morning where we received a short tour before the conference began.
The library is public and includes a variety of materials for all ages. It is beautiful and very modern with lots of light, a cafe and patio where patrons can bring materials, and trees as art both live and made of cast iron, twigs, and other materials. Maria Stella Eastern the library director told us that the materials used are an homage to a train factory that was on the site previously and had been demolished. The library is also the setting of the YouLab Pistoia the American Space within the library. It is a makerspace with a 3D printer and other technologies to encourage creativity and innovation.
The library is next to il Polo Universitad and because the students there don’t have their own library they utilize the Biblio to study and for its resources. The library is steadily busy between the cafe and the library itself from the time it opens til it closes, serving approximately 1000 people each day.
The main focus of the conference is “21st Century American Spaces: Innovation, Learning, and Entrepreneurship” which was reflected in the topics discussed including makerspaces, STEAM programming, and new programs the American Corners are offering. The Syracuse University Panel made up of myself and Greg (sensory storytime), Julia (self publishing), and Alex (gaming) had our presentations before lunch which I felt went well. I’m a nervous public speaker and though I knew my topic it’s still a bit stressful for me. For our speech, Greg reviewed the general facts and terminology around sensory storytime then I followed with information on how to setup a storytime that incorporates sensory enhancements based on my experience volunteering with two Syracuse area librarians, Dawn and Tatiana, to develop and launch a program.
The audience was interested in all the presentations and asked some great questions after on how to incorporate the ideas into their spaces. One member told us about an experience she had where you walked through a corridor decorated with fabric covering the walls and ceiling. When you exited the tunnel you entered a dark room where a storyteller whispered a story in her ear. While the idea may not be appropriate for every audience it was definitely a sensory experience which would capture and hold participants interest. After our presentation it was time for lunch, which was fabulous, and an opportunity to network and meet more of the AC representatives.
After lunch they held pecha kucha five minute presentations on a variety of topics and programs they had held and wanted to share with their peers to learn from and hopefully apply. Finally there was a Skype session with three of the librarians from Fayetteville Free Library on their makerspace and it’s role in the community in supplementing and fostering self directed learning.
Following the days sessions we walked back to the hotel and visited a supermarket on the way. It was interesting to see what products they sold compared to what we have in the states and the cost. Mainly we stocked up on bottled water and lamented the fact that we didn’t have a drive in the room. There was also a lot of mental math happening. When we returned back to the hotel and relaxed for a bit we went out to dinner and walked around the town a little.
We chose a restaurant in one of the Piazza de Duomo called Voronoi that had a lot of people sitting outside. It was hard to choose but luckily they had translations of each menu item. I ordered a caprese pizza and a chocolate lava cake with almond gelatin for dessert. It was all fabulous, the pizza had a thin crust and the cake was rich and decadent. It was a bit of a splurge for our first night but definitely worth it!
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.
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
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.
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 http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2013/10/placements-and-salaries/2013-survey/explore-all-the-data-2013/#_ 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.
In 6th Thread of the Atlas of New Librarianship, there were so many ideas that stood out to me. The biggest one is that the education of new librarians cannot end with the degree but must continue beyond that with continuing education. One of the things touched on is the need for a program to facilitate the development of librarian practitioners in their professional growth. Workshops, while viewed as beneficial, are not organized or structured enough to meet the needs of the population alone.
While I would agree, based on my reading, that a practical doctorate degree would be useful for those in the field as opposed to the more philosophical research degree for academics, I don’t believe this is necessary for all. Take teaching for example, those who earn a undergrad degree and initial teaching certificate must return in a few years to do a master’s and earn a professional certificate. However, if you have a different undergrad program, you can still earn a master’s in education, receive an initial certificate, and apply for a professional certificate after earning a set number of development hours. Teaching certificates in New York used to be permanent, however, that is no longer true now teachers need to maintain their certificate by taking part in professional development activities such as workshops.
I think the same idea could be applied to librarianship, to maintain your professional status a certain number of workshop/meeting hours would need to be logged and recognized every, let’s say, 5 years. That would give the librarian time to attend different workshops and classes they are interested in. The courses don’t have to be prescribed, the individual can follow their interests. However, perhaps when a set number of credits are earned in a topic of study they would be recognized as a “mentor” in the field (If you think of a better term let me know). This program would facilitate and legitimize the continuing growth of librarians in the professional community while reducing the need for those already holding a masters to pursue a doctoral degree.