2. The British Library is Huge

british-library-lobby.half

The British Library Lobby : http://www.theguardian.com

Nothing related to immense size can be understated when applied to the British Library. The size is the first striking characteristic about the structure, which collects 3 million items a year and houses over 200 million items total. Not only is the British Library the national library of England, it is the largest library in the world.

Multiple memorable structures in the London area have been relocated at least a few times in their long history. The British Library is no exception. All the books used to be housed in the Reading Room of the British Museum. Now, in the twenty-first century, the national library has a enormous house of its own.

IMG_6193

It’s not difficult to get a Reading Card from the British Library; anyone can register. Like the Bodleian, the British Library is a legal deposit library and has kept a copy of everything published in the United Kingdom. The relatively new structure is designed like an ocean liner and took thirty-six years to construct. Although the Library was never completed through all phases of the original building design, it can still proudly boasts itself as the largest public structure in the UK (and the basement only houses half the collection, the rest is stored off site in another city!). Nevertheless, one of the leading problems the British Library faces is, like most libraries, limited space.

One aspect I found particularly striking about the British Library was that, besides the centrally located castle-like structure containing 100,000 volumes of the King’s Library, books were not visible. To find a particular book, readers search in the online catalog and send a request to the shipping room, where books are given two bar codes, packed in boxes, and shipped along a conveyer belt stretching a mile long.

IMG_6189

The King’s Library

In addition to the John Ritblat Gallery of the British Library, housing over 200 priceless items such the Lindisfarne Gospels, Sherborne Missal, Barcelona Hagadah, Gutenberg Bible, and the Notebook of Leonardo da Vinci, one of the most exciting things to me about the British Library was their recent 2014/15 digitization project. In its Annual Report, the library explains:

Using the Legal Deposit Regulations alongside innovative partnerships, the Library will enhance and extend the range of digital content available to researchers. And by enhancing and improving the way in which we collect, preserve and provide access to the UK web domain, we will extend both the volume and format types available to include web, video and maps.

The Newspaper programme will culminate with the completion of the move of the Newspaper collection from Colindale to the Newspaper Storage Building at Boston Spa. The Newsroom will provide researchers with access to 750 million pages of newspapers and periodicals (once the collection move is complete in the autumn of 2014) as well as to 4.8 million archived websites and thousands of hours of broadcast news.

Making the enormous Newspaper collection available online will be an incredible feat for the Library. In my opinion, this is the beauty of well-funded libraries: not only are they able to conserve and give access to the past (i.e. the john Ritblat Gallery), they are able to use the most recent technology to spur research and information in the future. Utilizing the strengths of the present to protect the past and benefit the future, this is the beauty of the British Library.

A fun video for visuals on the British Library:

Advertisements

1. The Unforgettable Bodleian Library

When it comes to libraries at the University of Oxford, variety is not an issue. Most academic departments and each of the 38 colleges at the university have a library. The university’s website provides a list of libraries A-Z to help navigate its vast number of collections. What UO can boast of in quantity does not suffer in quality. Prominent libraries are based in Oxford, such as the ongoing digitization of the Oxford Libraries Information System and of course, the Bodleian. As an American graduate student in Library Science who is genuinely impressed by “ancient” European libraries, discovering this building will have a lasting impact on my memory. 

Sir Thomas Bodley, who founded the library in1598, spared no pains to ensure the Bodleian was as prestigious as the information it housed. Standards and regulations for the library have changed over time (for example, until 1878, women were strictly prohibited from entering the building), but the timeless nature of the structure is unmistakable. One enduring rule throughout the centuries has been the restriction on borrowing books. Although the book chains are no longer in place, the Bodleian is more like a treasure trove of current and antiquated knowledge, locked and closely guarded. Since the Bodleian is now a legal deposit library, which means every book published in the UK must be added to its collection, the size of the collection expands about 3 miles each year. There are currently over 8 million volumes, making up approximately 150 miles of shelving. The Bodleian is the second largest in the UK next to the British Library.  

When I stepped into the building, what struck my imagination first and most profoundly was the extravagant stone details that thickly layered the late English gothic style ceiling of the Divinity Room, one of four rooms represented in the Bodleian’s 600-year history. Stepping into the first room was like stepping into the architectural heart of the fifteenth century. Originally serving as a lecture hall, the Divinity Room has an intricately detailed gothic roof with no supporting pillars.

IMG_6106

The second room was from the 17th century, the Convocation House, a brain child of William Laud. The room is reminiscent of Oxford’s chapels, encompassed with oak paneling. Now, the room is used for electing the chancellor and the professor of poetry.

The Chancellor’s Court, added in 1640, is the third historic room within the Bodleian. At its origin in the City of Oxford’s history, there were two court systems: this represented one court room at the university and there was also the town’s common law court across the street. In the 1960s the university finally surrendered its court and now keeps the police out if its disciplinary affairs.

Arts End was the final room in the Bodleian, a room we were not allowed to photograph. It is a two-story extension added in 1610-1612. The ceiling is designed with rows upon rows of coat of arms in the middle of the panelling, all unique. There are book cases from floor to ceiling, larger books lining the bottom and smaller books stacked on top. A gallery or loft-like structure enables access to the higher shelves, but with only one entrance and exit near the librarian’s desk so that each reader could be checked carefully to ensure that no books left the building. 

IMG_6119

Me standing in Radcliffe Square by the Radcliffe Camera, a part of the Bodleian Library

As an aspiring librarian, it was a privilege to see and experience the Bodleian, a relic used throughout the centuries and still evolving. The library is resolute in its dignity and character and feels permanent yet ever-growing. As an information professional, I will take the memory of this special library with me into my career, understanding that when something is done excellently, indeed, beyond excellence, it acquires a lasting nature of its own. Wherever I work, I want to share the timeless qualities of the Bodleian: to be dedicated to and deeply rooted in the acquisition of knowledge.

IMG_6089

The Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford. Couldn’t have asked for a better day.

IMG_6161

Would’ve loved to see the Great Hall! Unfortunately, it was under construction.

Here is an informative video for more information on the Bodleian:

Published on Sep 20, 2013

A fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of Oxford’s vast main library, the Bodleian, and how its staff are working to make this ancient institution ready for future generations of readers.

Category – Education / License – Standard YouTube License

Final Reflections

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.

Resources:

Charles Evans. (1944). In Dictionary of American Biography. New York: Charles

Revisiting Assumptions/Assertions About LIS

My understanding of Library and Information Science as a discipline and a profession has increased exponentially in the last four months. However, the assumptions, assertions, and beliefs I listed in the introduction of my journal have not considerably changed. For example, my first belief was that libraries are set apart from other occupations due to their extensive history and historical contribution to civilization. I wrote:

I am drawn to the idea that librarians and libraries have a unique history of their own wrapped in global history. I may be idealizing librarians, yet I am attracted to their historical roots, and the ability to stay (for the most part, as far as I can tell) true to their original purpose while keeping afloat above the ever-changing development of the technological tides. (as cited in “Personal Goals/Objections for My Studies“)

After watching The Hollywood Librarian and learning about the library’s impact on ancient cities like Alexandria, a city claimed to have thrived during its time largely due to its well-established library, and also how movies traditionally connect the destruction of books to the destruction of civilization, I have confirmed (to some degree) that my original belief was true, libraries have and are still portrayed as having a unique influence over society.

My second assumptions was that, “librarians are acknowledged and have respect in the world of academia.” For our team group project, my group in LIS 6010 explored the significance and responsibilities of academic libraries and the role of instruction and teaching in the profession. I learned through researching for the blog and following various listservs that academic librarians are supported and wanted by their universities due to their ability to not only research and find information, but also for their ability to share these searching skills with others.

Finally, my third assumption was that “the work librarians do has the potential to be rewarding in nature.” I would still agree with this. Furthermore, in the course of these four months of my first semester, I have decided to direct my attention to archival administration within the field of library science. I am drawn to archives because of the unique job opportunities. Getting a graduate certificate in archival administration will qualify me to be either a librarian or an archivist. I have spoken with a couple different archivist who explained I may not be able to get an ideal job in archival work immediately after graduation, however, with some patience and determination (and also the willingness to move out of the state), landing a job in archives is definitely not impossible.

As I stated in my first journal entry, what I invest my life in is very important to me. One of my goals for this semester was to understand the basic philosophical principles of the profession and develop my own principles as well. One of the principles I stated in my personal philosophy was to enjoy what I do. Motives are an integral aspect of a career; if I just want to be a librarian or an archivist for the money, then I am in the wrong profession. I am aware I will not become wealthy off of this career. However, as a general rule, I do not believe librarians are in the information business for the money. Good librarians, that is to say, librarians who exhibit more than merely meeting the education requirements and work experience, are those who do not let the realities of their work disillusion their love for what they do. A good librarian looks forward to coming into work every day and feels a sense of fulfillment by a job done well.

A Sandbox of Technology

Technology is an integrated aspect of modern culture that greatly affects and influences users on a daily basis. To “ignore the whole thing and hope it all goes away” is not a viable option, especially not for institutions like the library who want to reach out to the community through whatever means possible. If society is embracing technology and the use of social networking platforms, blogging, microblogging, image sharing, audio, and cloud computing, so must the library. Not only will the library’s involvement in these technological mediums help it stay relevant to the population it serves, it will further stretch its range of resources and services to its community.

Facebook and Twitter are at the core of the library’s resources for raising awareness and reaching remote users. Updated information from the library’s profile shows up on its followers’ news feeds as either posts or tweets; users typically check their feeds multiple times a day. According to 23 Things UK, self-described as a “free online course which introduces library staff to social networking, online tools and mobile technology,” Facebook users worldwide represent “54% of all social network users.” This information was taken from “Social Networking Statistics,” based on findings from Browser Media, Socialnomics, and MacWorld. 23 Things goes on to explain, “Social networking is unbelievably popular and growing rapidly. The total number of Facebook users in July of 2013 had risen to 1.15 billion, surpassing the use of land line telephones and even email for a growing percentage of people.” Furthermore, Twitter is a well-used platform for microblogging and expanding a professional online presence. Due to Facebook and Twitter’s dominance in social networking platforms, if the library were to use social media, Facebook and Twitter would be considered a fundamental given.

However, 23 Things UK also explained that, “some authorities prohibit libraries from having their own Facebook page. Others are considering having a page and are evaluating the security, access to the site and staff time required to maintain it.” Facebook and Twitter’s security is questionable, it is one of the networks’ greatest weaknesses, and this reality is becoming increasingly apparent to libraries. Privacy and security issues are common among both Facebook and Twitter. 23 Things also explains that “Some microblogging services, including Twitter, offer features such as privacy settings, which allow users to control who can read their posts. In the business world, security can naturally be a concern, since there is potential for sensitive information to be publicised on microblogging sites.” Institutions like the library must be wary of the dangers of security breaches and become well-acquainted with the privacy settings on both Facebook and Twitter before using these networks freely.

Considering what I have learned through my own experiences with technology, in addition to the ways I have been encouraged and required to utilize tools such as cloud computing, YouTube, RSS feeds, blogging, and social media networks for the sake of class assignments over the duration of this semester, and finally what I have pinpointed in filling out the Technology Sandbox worksheet, my understanding of technology and how it can be applied to the library has changed and become more clearly defined. If I were given complete freedom, as a librarian, I would plug my library into social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest (after carefully reviewing and applying the privacy settings). I would follow librarians who are further advanced in the technological world of libraries to gain insight and ideas on the best ways to utilize what is currently available. I would create online tutorials through Camtasia and Youtube and offer classes in the library to help students or patrons understand the mystical intricacies of technology and how to access information through them.

References

23 Things UK. (2013). WordPress.com. Retrieved from http://23thingsuk.wordpress.com

Blogging About Librarians Who Are Blogging

Anyone can start a blog, yet those who have know that keeping and maintaining a blog is difficult and requires serious amounts of time and work. There is a distinct difference between a library blog and a librarian blog. To help understand the difference, Katy Greenland provides a definition:

Librarian blogs…are produced by individuals working in the LIS profession who blog about their work and other topics. The audience tends to be peers within the LIS profession, rather than library users. The librarian blogs of interest in this review are generally personal and conducted outside of work hours. They are an important communication channel for the profession that allows for the creation of networks and collaborations to emerge between peers. (Greenland as cited in Luzo´n 2008)

Therefore, in this context, “professional bloggers” are professionals (i.e. librarians) who blog about topics within their profession to an audience generally composed of other professionals. Understanding that a professional blogger is a professional blogging about a profession, opposed to someone who has made a profession of blogging (although that is sometimes the case), helps readers gain a better contextual idea of the authors behind the proliferating blogosphere.

Through Feedly, an RSS feed, I followed Steven Cohen’s blog, “Library Stuff” (www.librarystuff.net), subtitled, “The library weblog dedicated to resources for keeping current and professional development.” Cohen organized the topics of his posts within a specific tagging system. He wrote about topics related to academic libraries, ALA, amazon.com, archives, banned books, budgets, censorship, copyright, digital libraries, ebooks, facebook, filtering, flickr, Google, government, Internet, Kindle, lawsuits, research, news, public libraries, school libraries, search tools, and even Harry Potter. I greatly appreciated the way Cohen setup his blog. To me, it was a very sustainable means to keep up to date on the goings-on of the library world. Instead of writing lengthy posts on various related topics, Cohen simply inserted key quotations from news reports or articles from other sites and inserted a link to follow to these news articles. In this way, readers could read the gist of the article, and if they were thoroughly intrigued, could click on the link to finish the entire article from start to finish. If I were to start a librarian blog, I think this method would be beneficial both to myself and others. Keeping a blog of updated library news would motivate me to stay in touch, and also provide a means to share what I find with other readers.

I also followed Jessamyn West on Librarian.net (www.librarian.net), subtitled “putting the rarin back in librarian since 1999.” West explains, “librarian.net is my weblog and it has been going since April 20, 1999. It is, to the best of my knowledge, the first single-editor library-oriented weblog.” West’s blog follows what is now probably considered the traditional librarian blogging method. She finds a relevant topic and writes about it. While this is a good practice for a professional librarian, it is also time consuming and demands a large amount of commitment and self-discipline. However, West seems to be going strong. She posts about one post a month centered on a specific topic. Her most recent post was “professional news and thank yous,” where she explains her recently busy life and involvement with ALA, MLA, and recent writing projects.

Through this assignment, and also through the process of maintaining my own professional blog, I learned that librarian blogs demand attention. Starting a blog is simple, but in order for it to be a success it must serve a specific purpose for a large group of people; otherwise, it will become yet another failed attempt. Getting involved in a network of blogs can help keep the spark alive and serve as an encouraging support system.

Resources

Greenland, K. (2013). Negotiating Self-presentation, Identity, Ethics, Readership and Privacy in the LIS Blogosphere: A Review of the Literature. Australian Academic & Research Libraries, 44 (4), 217–225. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00048623.2013.843236

A Good Serving of Lists: New Technologies in Academic Archives

In mid September, I started tracking job listings posted on WSU’s listserv (LISJOBS@lists.wayne.edu). Initially, I focused on academic libraries; the majority of my recorded data is based on jobs within the university library. However, more recently I have also been tracking job descriptions within archival administration. Not long ago, I started following an additional listserv geared for library and archival jobs (libjobs@infoserv.inist.fr). I reviewed approximately one hundred postings during this time. Outside of a handful of music librarian job listings, every job description required at least basic technology proficiency. However, I would approximate about ninety percent of the postings required more than basic computer knowledge. This came as a surprise to me. While I knew technology was an important aspect of the librarian’s skillset, I did not realize the extent these skills are desired and required of both librarians and archivists.

Some of the essential computer skills were extremely explicit. For example, a college archivist position at Florida Southern College was asking for applicants with specific knowledge of and experience using bibliographic utilities including OCLC, integrated library systems, PastPerfect, and CONTENTdm; along with a working knowledge of cataloging and metadata standards such as MARC21, XML, EAD, Dublin Core, LCSH, DACS, AACR2, and authority control. In addition to these technology skills, the job posting required experience with the collection and preservation of born-digital materials, instructional experience, successful grant writing or participation in successful grant writing activity, familiarity with the history and governance of the United Methodist Church, and certification through the Academy of Certified Archivists. I am new to archival administration and unfamiliar with the acronyms of these bibliographic utilities and how they are used and operated. As I continue focusing on archives and taking more classes over the next two years (such as LIS 7710 and LIS 7770), I anticipate being introduced to these terms and understanding their significance.

Nevertheless, I plan on continuing to follow at least one listserv throughout the next two years and recording the skills I feel confident in, the skills I am familiar with, but not confident in, and the skills I do not have. As I learn about different technologies and build on my experience in class and during my practicum, I can check the skills off my list. If there are skills being posted on the listserv that are not covered in class, I will attempt to learn about these technologies on my own. Even if I do not own the software or have much experience with facets of specific forms of technology, I can at least be familiar with their functions and explain what I knew in an interview without appearing unprepared or incompetent.

I understand that I will be going into my first job out of graduate school at entry-level. One of the discouraging aspects of many of the postings was the required years of experience. Unfortunately, this is something I have no control over. I worked for two years in an academic library during my undergrad, but not as a librarian, and I will have two more additional years of experience working as a library intern during graduate school, but I am still limited to four years of experience (maybe even just two years, and an internship might not even qualify for some of these universities). Much of the job postings are requiring at least five-plus years at the minimum. Regardless, no matter how many years of experience are required, it seems that a certain level of job training is inevitable no matter where I apply. The important aspect of an interview is demonstrating that I am self-motivated and directed and not afraid to take on new challenges.

What is With Librarians in Hollywood?

Women in libraries; this is an issue The Hollywood Librarian addresses honestly and accurately. The stereotypical “Hollywood” or film-produced librarian is prim, proper, and indefinitely female. The film articulately portrayed the history and rationale behind the image of gendered librarians. After watching the film, I made a connection to libraries and gender that I had not considered before. As women continue gaining equal standing—equal pay and equal rights as men—it is evident libraries have and will continue to see less of a gender divide in library professionals. Society at large is questioning the very nature of “gender,” seeing it as a mere social construct. As the meaning of gender is deconstructed and losing its former power, the library can expect to see more of a male presence on staff, and with its male counterparts, perhaps better rapport as well.

The film takes viewers back to the beginning of human civilization to the city of Alexandria, a city claimed to have thrived during its time largely due to its well-established library. The film also conveyed the way Hollywood typically correlates the end of civilization to the destruction of the library and its books. I found this especially interesting since the rumor concerning American libraries today is that they seem to be struggling on the brink of collapse.

While the film suggests Hollywood correlates the rise and fall of a civilization to the condition of its libraries, it is primarily the way Hollywood shaped the keepers of the library that has truly influenced how the library is seen and understood. At the turn of the century, a time when public libraries were coming to fruition, a small but ever-increasing number of women began to work rather than marry. It was agreed upon that a person “did not have to think” to work at a library, so the job was given to the ambitious working woman. Nationwide, a woman employed full-time was a controversial issue, and thus the “old maid” librarian stereotype was given her Hollywood debut.

Hollywood’s portrayal reflects not only the sad discrimination of women at the time, but also libraries. Somehow libraries were shoved in the same back corner as feminine equal rights. The nation’s leaders had to acknowledge the existence and necessity of both libraries and women, but they nevertheless neglected to strongly advocate for the importance and respect of either role in society.

However, what the film failed to articulate is how the status of the library and the status of women look in recent films, and the ways they have diverted and changed. While the librarian’s job has become less gendered, its presence in Hollywood has all but disappeared. The steadily improving status of woman in the U.S. does not seem to reflect on the image of the library. As women gain more power and standing among their male peers, where is the library? Films like The Hunger Games, depicting a strong, brave (and non-sexualized) female character are on the rise, but where is the role of the library in movies?

The documentary ended with the dismal struggle of Steinbeck’s public libraries to stay open. As the female character is finally given more respect on film, my hope is that both male and female librarians alike, together with the prominence of the library institution, will be given a fresh image in the twenty-first century through Hollywood’s digital lens.

Mid-Semester Analysis and Reflections

I have been sufficiently inundated by Library and Information Science over the last few months. Looking back on what I have written, it seems my posts are primarily reactionary and assignment driven. I have done some research, but I think the uniqueness of this class rests in its nature as a survey or an introduction to the profession. One of its objectives is to “Demonstrate acquaintance with the philosophical principles of the profession(s)” as a result, much of what I have written is not strictly based on research, but rather my own thoughts and opinions in light of what I have read. I started working at a public library only a month before classes started and consequently much of what I have been learning in my online courses involves my hands on experience in the library and vice versa.

As a general summary, the past weeks have been developmental, exploratory learning covering a wide focus. I was surprised by the broad subject area we have been introduced to so far. As an English major, I am accustomed to examining a limited amount of content closely and unpacking the details, whereas in the first half of LIS 6010 the subject matter is widely dispersed over a list of topics and discussions and readings. Consequently, the themes of my writing seem to be as broad and diversified as the nature of the topics we study. Again, I think this is consequence of the survey-like nature of the course.

Something I have intentionally tried to focus on in class discussions is making my posts meaningful to further the discussion in some way. Merely agreeing with the initial post is not helpful. I try to go with the “sandwich” technique. I start with an affirmation, then propose a question to further the discussion, then close with something encouraging, or an open-ended question. However, something I need to be aware of is the tone of my post. At times, some of what I write seems critical or even slightly antagonistic to the original post. I do not want to sound terse, yet I also hope to avoid simply adding a meaningless white-noise response summed up by, “Great point and I agree!” This does not take the discussion anywhere. One of the struggles of online discussions is that there are often too many threads to keep track of and good discussions die simply because people forget to read replies. A suggestion I have for the next class (or perhaps even the last half of this one) is to find a way to keep the threads to a minimum and allow students to build off of one mother thread so discussions will not die before they barely have a chance to get off the ground.

Concerning this blog, one of the aspects I appreciate is that it is published online. I think I am more self-aware of what I write knowing that I am not writing to an audience of one (although this is probably still nearly the case). Another helpful aspect of the blog is that it is my own. There is something about ownership that makes what is written more attractive and personal; I am more likely to revisit the topics covered here merely because I was the one who wrote on them. Perhaps it is the writer in me that feels an emotional connection to my words, even if they were directed under a certain subject matter. I also appreciate that there is one deadline for all of the blog posts. Personally, this relieves a sense of overbearing accountability. I am a graduate student and like being responsible for my own learning, which is exactly what the nature of this blog facilitates.

Professional Associations

I am in the process of discovering a plethora of library and information associations across North America and throughout the globe. As I develop my professional profile, I have been encouraged to invest some time and resources into a couple of these organizations in order to share in knowledge and professional discourse, become more involved in the field, and network. Currently, there are two associations I am particularly interested in. Firstly, I am considering the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). I have been learning about what the association is, what it endeavors to accomplish, and the benefits of membership from its website: http://www.ifla.org. IFLA’s objectives are:

  • To represent librarianship in matters of international interest
  • To promote the continuing education of library personnel
  • To develop, maintain and promote guidelines for library services

IFLA’s objectives are supported by the following core values:

  • The endorsement of the principles of freedom of expression embodied in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • The belief that people, communities and organizations need universal and equitable access to information, ideas and works of imagination for their social, educational, cultural, democratic and economic well-being
  • The conviction that delivery of high quality library and information services helps guarantee that access
  • The commitment to enable all Members of the Federation to engage in, and benefit from, its activities without regard to citizenship, disability, ethnic origin, gender, geographical location, language, political philosophy, race or religion. 

Furthermore, the advantages and membership benefits include:

  •    Build international professional networks;
  •    Receive IFLA’s Annual Report, the IFLA Journal and discount on various IFLA publications;
  •    Help set the professional agenda;
  •    Join professional Sections;
  •    No surcharge on IFLA ILL vouchers
  •    ….and save up to 25% on registration to IFLA’s annual conference

As an information professional, I want the opportunity to establish international contacts. I hope to work overseas for a few years, therefore joining an international association could better illicit a network of professionals in the field where I hope to move. Essentially, I want to broaden my expertise by contributing to and learning at an international level.

According to its website, a good way to get started in international librarianship is to become an IFLA member and to get involved in one of its activities. The opportunities and requirements for membership are different depending on status, whether a person is a LIS student or established professional. Student Affiliates are “Individuals who are able to provide proof of current enrollment in a course of study leading to entry-level professional qualifications in librarianship or information work. Individuals may remain in this sub-category for as long as they can prove appropriate enrollment.” New Graduates are qualified as those who have graduated in library and information science. The website explains, “New graduates are eligible for an IFLA membership at the students’ rate for the first two years after graduating. Proof of diploma is necessary to apply for membership under this incentive.”

The IFLA has multiple publications:

IFLA Library

Launched in 2013, the IFLA Library includes IFLA World Library and Information Congress papers (2013-present) and will continue to grow with the addition of new resources. Earlier conference proceedings are available on the website of each congress.

Print publications

Over the years, IFLA has also partnered with a number of publishers to produce print publications on a variety of library issues. Read more about our publishing partners for additional background on how membership in IFLA can benefit your organization.

Additional publications

Three recent issues of the publications include:

In addition, the association has an extensive social media presence. It has integrated itself in these areas:

I am impressed by the well established reputation of IFLA. It seems like the association has a lot to offer, especially for those interested in international travel and networking like myself. However, if I do join, it would not be soon. Becoming a member during the last year of my graduate work, 2015-2016 and beyond, would be more beneficial for me as I will feel more confident in my role as a librarian and probably will have more means to invest in making the membership worthwhile.

The second association I considered is the Society of American Archivists. I retrieved gainful information from its website: http://www2.archivists.org. The website explains how SAA developed a strategic plan in 1993 to define the organization’s direction and purpose. They formulated the following mission statement: The Society of American Archivists serves the education and information needs of its members and provides leadership to help ensure the identification, preservation, and use of the nation’s historical record.

Membership benefits of joining the SAA include:

Individual student membership is open to students in degree-conferring programs. The website notes: Individuals who select this option must mail, fax, or email proof of active enrollment (e.g., a dated copy of your student ID/enrollment receipt or a signed letter/email from your faculty advisor) before a membership application or renewal can be completed.

Student members are eligible:

  •    To hold any appointive position in the Society;
  •    To vote for officers, councilors, members of the nominating committee;
  •    To vote on all matters requiring a vote which come before the Society as a whole;
  •    To be members of constituent units of the Society; and
  •    To receive the benefits of the Society’s programs and services.

Annual dues for individual student members are $50 per year.

Individual full membership is open to those who are or have been engaged in the custody, study, teaching, or control of records, archives, or private papers, or who wish to support the objectives of the Society.

Individual Full members are eligible:

  •    To hold office in the Society;
  •    To hold any appointive position in the Society;
  •    To vote for officers, councilors, and members of the nominating committee;
  •    To vote on all matters requiring a vote which come before the Society as a whole;
  •    To be members of constituent units of the Society; and
  •    To receive the benefits of the Society’s programs and services.

Member discounts on:

  •    Titles in the SAA Bookstore, covering a broad range of archives topics.
  •    Registration for SAA’s Annual Meeting, the premier educational and professional networking event of the year for archives and records management professionals.
  •    Registration for continuing education workshops around the country, providing unmatched opportunities to learn about new and developing technologies, polish professional skills, and enhance knowledge.

Mentoring Program

SAA’s Mentoring Program brings together members with expertise in subjects and members who want to build their knowledge within those subject areas. To learn more or to apply, please visit the Mentoring Program page.

Section and Roundtable Membership

Connect with colleagues who share your areas of expertise and/or special interest by joining up to two sections and an unlimited number of roundtables.

Access to the SAA Membership Directory

Networking opportunities abound with contact information for all SAA individual and institutional members.

The SAA publications are:

The American Archivist (Journal)

The premier journal of the archives profession, this semi-annual periodical features research articles, literature reviews, case studies, perspectives, and international reports. Individual full members and associate members receive complimentary print subscriptions with their membership. All members receive electronic access to American Archivist Online.

Archival Outlook (Newsletter)

Stay abreast of the latest news and information essential to the archives community. This bimonthly newsletter reports on SAA activities and upcoming events; the print edition is mailed exclusively to members.

Its primary activities involve:

SAA Annual Meeting

The annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists, held in late summer in different cities throughout the country, includes a wide array of informative education sessions, pre-conference workshops, networking opportunities, special events, exhibits, and tours of local repositories. Geography is a principal factor in selecting potential host cities. (With a national membership, it is important for SAA to move systematically around the country, from region to region.) Other important factors include access and affordability for attendees and SAA’s commitment to diversity, social responsibility, and sustainability in all aspects of conference planning.

Member Services

SAA today numbers approximately 5,000 individual and 650 institutional members.  The Society maintains offices in Chicago’s Loop.  Foremost among SAA’s many activities are services that the Society provides to members. These include:

  • Information:  SAA strives to keep its members abreast of the latest news and developments in the profession through a variety of high-quality programs and activities, including the American Archivist (North America’s premier professional journal for archivists), Archival Outlook (a bimonthly newsletter), In the Loop (a biweekly online newsletter), a robust book publishing program, and various e-publications.  For more about SAA periodicals and books, see below.
  • Education:  SAA offers more than 60 continuing education workshops throughout the year in locations around the country, as well as the largest gathering of archivists at its annual meeting each summer.  For more about SAA education offerings, see below.
  • Community:  SAA connects its members with colleagues who share their professional interests and aspirations through various networking opportunities, such as special-interest groups (sections and roundtables) and student chapters.
  • Advocacy:  SAA serves as an advocate—in both government and public opinion forums—on behalf of archivists on such key issues as intellectual property, copyright and fair use, declassification or destruction of federal records, abuses of privacy and confidentiality, the Freedom of Information Act, and others that may affect archivists’ ability to function in a fair, professional, and successful manner.  In addition, SAA works to improve and enhance public awareness of the importance of archives and archivists.

These are two recent publications:

Volume 77, Number 1 / Spring/Summer 2014

Journal American Archivist
Publisher Society of American Archivists
ISSN 0360-9081 (Print)
Subject History, Arts, Humanities, Cultural Heritage, Information Storage and Retrieval, Library Science, Archives, Information Professions, Perservation and Recordkeeping
Online Date Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Volume 76, Number 2 / Fall-Winter 2013

Journal American Archivist
Publisher Society of American Archivists
ISSN 0360-9081 (Print)
Subject History, Arts, Humanities, Cultural Heritage, Information Storage and Retrieval, Library Science, Archives, Information Professions, Perservation and Recordkeeping
Online Date Monday, November 18, 2013

While I am not yet fully committed to the prospect of becoming an archivist and am still leaning toward academic librarianship, I nevertheless am interested in getting the Archival Administration certificate at Wayne. However, in the same way that I am planning on waiting to join IFLA until next year, if I did join the SAA, it would not be until I have more familiarity with archives in general. This comparison and analysis was helpful for me in unpacking what this association offers and the opportunities it involves. This is my first semester and my first few months being exposed to the world of information science. I need to immerse myself one step at a time.