Theory Vs. Practice: Separating What’s Important

28/01/2011 § 11 Comments

Please welcome our first guest Hacker, Lauren Gibaldi! 

Lauren Gibaldi is in her second to last semester at Florida State University’s School of Library and Information Sciences. She’s aiming to become a youth services librarian within a public library, and hopes to create information literacy programs for kids and young adults. She’s a strong supporter of intellectual freedom, and loves supporting banned books. Read her blog, or her other blog, and follow @laurengibaldi on Twitter.
Library school overwhelms us with information, deciding what’s necessary for life-long careers in the field. Yet, as I navigate through each semester, I’ve started to mentally note which elements learned will help me post graduation, and which will fall to the wayside, getting forgotten in the abyss that is my mind.

Let me back up.

Before I became I library student, I was a high school English teacher. Before becoming a teacher, I was an English and Education college student (note: English AND Education, not English Education – the former is much more helpful in the long run). I learned Piaget’s theories, and Erikson’s stages. I learned how to look inside the mind of a child and debate his or her maturity levels. Educational theorists were the definitive answer when dealing with children.

And then I started teaching. And everything I learned quickly disappeared. When I looked at my darling 16 year olds, I didn’t think which cognitive level they were at; instead, I thought “What can I do to get them to work.” (Or, more accurately, “What can I do to stop them from throwing the furniture.” Seriously). The literature read only went so far – it was my patience and understanding that got me through the year. It was my knowledge of the subject taught, and my willingness to work with each student one-on-one. Never in the year did I think “Okay, what would Piaget think.”

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Save Our Librar*

19/01/2011 § Leave a comment

{This is from a post on my personal blog but felt that it may apply here as well.  A small disclaimer – I’m now actually working in a corporate library despite my hopes of working a public one.  However, I believe that the involvement and advocacy that I discuss really applies to anyone in the field, no matter where they work. }

A year ago I left my job in banking to go back to school to be a librarian. Wow. It’s been quite a journey. And as soon as I think I’m getting the hang of the whole school thing I find that something knocks me off my perch and I find myself questioning if I’ve really made the right decision.

In my quest to become more a part of the profession I’ve gotten fairly involved in student organizations on campus. I do not entirely regret this but I had forgotten how thankless some of these activities can be at times. However, I think it has been a really good lesson in learning how to work with people and learning how to not say “yes” to everything, which I have a tendency to do. The really wonderful thing that came out of getting more involved on campus was being able to help, a bit, with what is going on with the Boston Public Library and its branches. There are 22 branches of the BPL and 4 of them are currently up for closure along with almost 100 job losses. As a future librarian, and hopefully a future public librarian, this was a fight that I felt absolutely compelled to become a part of, even though I don’t actually use the BPL (the Brookline libraries are part of a different system). A group called, People of Boston, was created by a library user to help get people active in the cause.

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