Reevaluating various course assignments and critically thinking of ways to apply them in a professional position will help make the abstract aspects of classroom learning become more concrete and practical for every-day living and working. With the semester coming to a close, I am dedicating the final post to reflecting on what I have learned.
There are multiple ways I can bring what I have learned into a professional position in my future and current workplace. My general understanding of the library as an institution as well as the various other information agencies has become more developed and fleshed out, thus giving what I do at the Southfield Public Library more meaning. Furthermore, I have defined what I believe is my role as a professional within the information institution. For a class discussion post, I wrote:
“Professionalism” is an abstract idea. I think we can connect “professionalism” and “professional” the same we we might be able to connect “libertarianism” and “libertarian;” one is the doctrine and the other is the adherent, but both are umbrellaed under the same definition and philosophy. Consequently, each exists as a result of the other. “Professionalism” is the state of a person working in accordance to and mastery over certain behaviors and services of a profession. I think there is general professionalism, which is a behavior and individual conduct all people have the ability to emulate, and there is educated professionalism, where people learn a specific skill set within a defined profession.
I have also gained more insight on the roles other people have played to help the idea of the library become what it is today. For example, I researched Charles Evans and the impact he had on the world of libraries. Evans assembled and published the first twelve volumes of American Bibliography, which is praised for “one of the greatest bibliographical compilations of all time” (Charles, 1944). Today it continues to be an invaluable source of information. While reading about his life, I learned that Evans was prone to simplicity, naturally shy, and so dedicated to and absorbed in his work that he had little inclination for much social interaction. In this way, Evan’s leadership was communicated through his ability to embrace his innate character traits. I wrote, “He was shy and reserved, yet this did not prevent him from committing himself for a worthy cause for the sake of his fellow human beings. He understood that being in constant social interaction is not the only way to serve and love humanity.” It was encouraging to know that being a leader can take on many different forms.
Other perceptions I originally held have also changed significantly over the course of the semester; as I began to understand the various avenues and career paths that apply to individuals with an MLIS degree, I decided to focus on archival administration. My decision was driven by the well-rounded appreciation I developed for different libraries and information agencies during the library visits for a class assignment. Visiting a research library and speaking with the head librarian who earned a graduate certificate in Archival Administration fostered my curiosity in archivists; I wanted to know who they were exactly and their job description. I learned there is a distinctly different cultural environment between the public, academic, and research libraries, yet also fundamental similarities as well.
My understanding of the role of the information professional has also developed in the sense that what I know has become much more concrete, especially regarding technology. Coming into the semester, I knew that computers were a necessary component to librarianship, but the fundamental requirement and thoroughly inundated necessity of technology within the information field was surprising to me. For my Technology Sandbox blogging assignment, I wrote, “If society is embracing technology and the use of social networking platforms, blogging, microblogging, image sharing, audio, and cloud computing, so must the library” (A Sandbox of Technology). Through this assignment and also through LIS 6080, I was able to more fully comprehend the ways libraries are putting different aspects of technology to use.
After this semester, I plan to finish the rest of the core classes next semester online and then dive into on-campus courses related to archives next fall. Also, through the professional associations assignment we worked on for class, I learned about the purpose and value of the Society of American Archivists (http://www2.archivists.org) and The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (http://www.ifla.org). I plan to become a member of the Society of American Archivists to network, stay involved, and stay informed. In my post, I wrote: “This comparison and analysis was helpful for me in unpacking what this association offers and the opportunities it involves” (Professional Associations).
Finally, concerning long-term goals, I am still hoping to travel and work abroad. While I am aware that my perceptions and attitudes will continue to develop and change as my understanding of the field evolves into the reality of a career, I nonetheless feel that the fundamentals I have acquired during the course of this semester has significantly defined my understanding and appreciation for the work of the information professional.
Charles Evans. (1944). In Dictionary of American Biography. New York: Charles