17/10/2012 § 14 Comments
How often do you use Wikipedia? If you’re anything like me, probably a lot! I’ve been interested in exploring the relationship between libraries and what I’m pretty sure it’s the only encyclopedia I’ve ever used for a long time (giant physical copies were already on their way out by the time I was old enough to use one). Sad story, though: when I was an undergrad preparing to apply for library school, I included a link to the Wikipedia page on stereoscopes in a post on my personal blog about my university’s special collections. I was soon told by a librarian that I would be looked down on as a future library professional if I included links to Wikipedia in a post I wanted to be taken seriously. I remembering wondering right then if I would fit in in the library world–I wasn’t citing it in my dissertation, I just wanted readers to see a picture and get a brief overview of what the contraption was. From then on, I was constantly aware of this Wikipedia/library tension boiling under the surface, but I wanted no part of it.
11/07/2012 § 50 Comments
My cohort, we talk. After our weekend intensive classes, we often go out roaming in search of a likely bar, and when we find one, we sit, we drink, and we talk. And since we’ve generally just spent 12 hours in class together, we usually end up talking about library school.
This month marks the halfway point through our MLS program, and by now we’ve begun to form some strong opinions on the subject: what’s working, what’s not, what we’d change if we could. And a few of us began to play with this question: if you could design your own MLS program from scratch, what features would you definitely include? Especially those that are lacking from library education as it exists today — if you were establishing the program that would define library school for the next generation, what do you think would absolutely need to be a part of it?
06/02/2012 § 8 Comments
so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white
The literature fan in me can’t help but begin with William Carlos Williams’s well-known poem from his collection Spring and All (1923), if only with the flimsiest excuse of lifting the phrase “so much depends” for this post (and for the chickens—blog posts can always do with chickens).
As a second semester MLIS student, I have only been immersed in the LIS world’s discussions about half a year, but in that time, I have noticed that digital, computer-based technology is clearly at the forefront of concerns faced by librarians and libraries today. These conversations revolve around the costs and benefits of incorporating new technologies, with concepts like technostress and financial burdens on the one hand and concepts like efficiency, engaging with digital natives, and transforming information access on the other. In general, responses seem to gravitate towards the idea that so much depends on a variety of factors, including your institution’s finances, your community members’ level of comfort with new technologies, your members’ access to technologies inside and outside of the library, and what other industries are doing with those technologies.
So much depends. . . I would love to hear from all of you in the comments about the kinds of discussions that you have in your schools about library technology and about how the curriculum in your programs deals with training students for an increasingly technological library.
This post, however, is about engaging technology and librarianship without getting mired in the technophobia-technophilia dyad, and in particular, it is about the importance of exploring non-digital technologies—rather than just computer-based ones—as ways of building future libraries and reinvigorating the mission of librarianship. I’m pulling my thoughts for this post from a course paper I wrote last semester in which I argued for thinking of dogs as a kind of library technology, recalling that technologies are in a broader sense merely systematic knowledge of processes for the accomplishment of goals. The focus of that paper was the recent emergence of literacy programs for young children in schools and public libraries that employ dogs as reading companions.
« Read the rest of this entry »