Went to a very cool lecture by Carl Zimmer about the definition of life at the University of Tulsa last night. You can listen to part one of the podcast of his Microcosm lecture series or read the transcription here, and part two is here.
Archive for March, 2009
In response to the question, “Can we assume all students are competent at seeking and using information?”
In the provision of information services, we cannot assume all students are “competent at seeking and using information.” The age and education level of the students in question have a significant effect on their info seeking abilities. That said, I have seen students make it all the way through high school without developing proper research skills. It seems to me that individuals who are students by choice, such as college students, are more likely to be skilled info seekers, and are certainly more likely to improve their info seeking skills the longer they pursue their education. K-12 students, who must attend school by law whether they want to learn or not, may be less inclined to develop their info seeking skills than individuals who have chosen to attend school and have paid a lot of money to do so. Avoiding assumptions about customer skill level, among other characteristics, will enable information professionals to provide information services more efficiently and effectively.
Whew! This semester has been like being tied by the ankle to a runaway llama so far… Which is why I’m so woefully behind on updating this blog. So here’s an essay I wrote about my aspirations for the profession:
My long-term career goal is to serve as a public librarian, specifically in the areas of reference, readers’ services and children’s librarianship. As the field of library and information services continues to expand at an exponential rate, it is clear that serving as a librarian means being a perpetual student. Through my career, I aspire to be knowledgable of the unique and changing needs of child library users and to sythesize theories of child and adolescent learning as I develop library services for this population. I will strive to stay informed about current practices, trends, and standards in the field by reading journals, attending professional meetings and conferences, and discussing current issues with colleagues. Following listservs and the blogs of colleagues will also assist to expand my awareness of new developments in the field. My duty as a public librarian is to be aware of new resources available in all formats so that I can quickly guide customers to the information and resources most likely to meet their needs.
Librarians are called to serve not only as stewards, but also as advocates. I intend to advocate for customers’ right to read and access materials and to provide for diverse information needs through ethical collection development. It is vitally important to foster a welcoming and comfortable library environment by ensuring that collection organization and arrangement facilitates access for all potential customers, including those with special needs. I will make every effort to connect children with the resources they need by encouraging browsing and questions, and enabling them to use the library effectively. Perhaps one of the best ways to engage children in the library is to consider the children’s opinions and requests in the development and evaluation of library services. I will promote library resources by providing bibliographies, book talks, displays, electronic documents, and other tools. I will promote children’s services through storytelling, book discussions, puppet shows and a variety of other programming. By networking with other local agencies, I will provide outreach to underserved populations to promote literacy and reduce the digital divide.
I have some experience working in library settings as well as experience with research and records management through my work as grants coordinator for The Salvation Army. My grant experience taught me how to locate funding opportunities for varied services and manage multiple deadlines. Working as a shelver and circulation clerk for the Tulsa City-County Library between 1998 and 2003 allowed me to become familiar with the library OPAC and the Dewey Decimal System of organizing resources. The majority of my time was spent ordering and shelving returned library resources, checking library resources in and out for customers, creating and updating customer records, issuing library cards, processing fines for late items, and placing hold requests for customers. Yet these activities taught me the importance of customer service in every role in order to cultivate a welcoming and accessible library environment.
Libraries are forums for information and ideas provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people. It is the mission of the library to challenge censorship and provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Libraries should promote free expression and free access to ideas in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all. I feel strongly protective of our first amendment rights and the freedom to share information. In my opinion, education and the stewardship of information are among the noblest of professions. Through my career as a public librarian, I will endeavor to perpetuate knowledge and education by promoting the accessibility of information for all people and encouraging and assisting others in their information quests.