22/02/2011 § 2 Comments

Please welcome Brian Leaf who is graduating with an MSLS from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May 2011. He writes at and tweets from @bdleaf. Brian’s interests include instructional design, library marketing/outreach, and emerging technologies. Someday, he hopes to take a leadership role in library administration and education policy. Read on for his take on how and why he decided to join up with HackLibSchool.

I’ve been watching HackLibSchool since the idea was proposed in a guest post at In the Library with a Lead Pipe last fall. I found myself intrigued but skeptical, only making minor contributions to the Wiki and Google Doc. I wondered how much energy should actually been poured into this effort when there are plenty of other opportunities to take advantage. There’s no shortage of projects to work on and skills to learn. There are also dozens of library and information blogs out there already, and I’m personally hundreds of posts behind on Google Reader–not to mention my master’s thesis, the job hunt, various committees, work projects, class projects, my own blog, and Thursday night salsa dancing. To be frank, I feel like I should be more concerned about looking out for Number 1.

As adopted buzz phrases like the “library echo chamber” or the “big tent of librarianship” have emerged, and observing the various campaigns being put forth throughout the library world, there’s no doubt in my mind that there are some fantastic and entrepreneurial information professionals out there. Then I remember something in “Information Architecture for the World Wide Web” about the world producing at least 1-2 exabytes (1 Exabyte= 1,000,000,000 Gigabytes) of data every year1. I also remember reading about how scholarly research also often goes unused or unnoticed for years before being uncovered or making a contribution2. With all the great ideas I imagine we all have, I start to understand that we are not as united as we could or should be, and that many of these ideas go the way of a lot of scholarly publications. But we’re the ones driving the future of the librarianship—not our LIS programs, and not our membership to professional organizations (which isn’t to say they’re not, just that we’re not all there yet).

It’s a tough environment. We want to change things and we want to know that we’ll have a job at the end of the day (or upon graduation), but the climate is far from stable. What’s the future of library and information services? What do we need to know or do to thrive in the modern world when it seems like we’re getting left in the dust? How can we be a positive force in the world when our profession is at odds with itself and others? Like in the show LOST, we’re kind of stuck on an island, and we don’t know where we’re going as a collective. But as Jack says at the beginning of the show: “If we can’t work together, we’re going to die alone.”

A decade ago, the Journal of Education for Library and Information Science (JELIS) published an article called “The Panda Syndrome: An Ecology of LIS Education3.” The authors examine the LIS profession and education from an evolutionary framework, and lead into their discussion with an interesting statement: “Individual organizations will be created, thrive or fail to thrive, and die and be replaced by organizations better suited to the changing niche” (House and Sutton 58). Information and information services has been the niche of librarians for centuries; but as it evolves, so must its stewards–or else we may be in danger of being expelled.

There are no superheroes to rescue us, and no magic bullet (or Cupid’s arrow) that will suddenly make us important and valued to everyone. However, I’m willing to bet that we’re going to get a lot farther together rather than alone, which is why I’m throwing in with HackLibSchool.

1Based on a follow-up study by Berkeley done in 2003, which claims 5 exabytes of information was produced in 2002.

2Halliday, L. (2001). Scholarly communication, scholarly publication and the status of emerging formats. Information research, 6(4):6-4.

3House, Nancy V., and Stuart A. Sutton “The Panda Syndrome: An Ecology of LIS Education.” Journal of Education for Library and Information Science 41.1 (2000): 52-68.

Redefining Information Literacy for the Networked World

17/02/2011 § 18 Comments

Please welcome another guest, April Martin!

April L Martin is a second year MLIS student at the  University of Washington.  Her interests include reference, preservation, anti-Googlization, oral history archives, historical research, Facebook scrabble, reading great books, Nina Simone, talking, and long walks on the beach.

One of the hot topics on the HLS wiki was information literacy — Here’s April’s take on redefining it.

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LIS Student Day in the Life

16/02/2011 § 13 Comments

Inspired by the evermore popular “Librarian Day in the Life” Series, HackLibSchool is proud to welcome guest author Rose Chou. Rose approached us and suggested an article on Time Management, which she included in a section below. As busy as we all are, how does one find time to live between work, school and responsibilities? How do you do it? Look for a related posts coming in the future from HLS contributing writer Lauren Gibaldi titled, “How to Make Time for Library School,” and this Friday from Micah Vandegrift on “How I Hacked Library School – WEB APPS!!

Rose is a first year MLIS student at San Jose State University. She blogs at AnthroArchivist and is on Twitter @roselovec

Librarian Day in the Life – LIS Student Edition: Rose

9:15am:  Wake up and make coffee.  9:15 seems pretty late to wake up on a weekday, but it’s because I’ll be at work until 12:30am — and I want to make sure I’m alert through all of it.

9:30-11:00am:  Check email, Google reader (almost 200 new articles!), and Twitter.
Click through for the rest of Rose’s day!

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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