This, yesterday from Unshelved. Says it all about libraries really. Not just the things in our collection, but the information we provide about research impact, copyright, collection management or just about anything else. We are about providing the information so that our user community (client? patron? customer?) can decide what’s best for them, in their situation. Everytime.
I thought this was a perfect topic to wrap up my contribution to Blog Every Day In June.
On WordPress’ Freshly Pressed page today was this hilarious post about the very serious topic of all the projects and tasks we start in our lives and then just never finish. Read this bit – you’ll get some idea:
See, that’s the problem: I have no follow-through. I’ve tried a bazillion things and moved on from just about all of them. Honestly, the things that I’ve managed to stick with I’m either legally obligated to do (like paying my mortgage), need the money (like my day job), simply can’t reverse (like being a parent), or would die if I stopped (like eating and, while I have been testing this theory, bathing)
I must admit I have a pretty bad case of this follow-through-less-ness myself, and judging from the number of comments following the post, I’m certainly not alone.
Finishing my undergraduate library science degree took me 9 years part time. A whole lot of things contributed to that, but if I’m honest, there was some degree of losing interest, particularly towards the end when my library subjects were finished, I was battling through a management major and going through serious change in my personal life.
What got me through? The knowledge that throughout my life I had shown a tendency to not follow through. I suddenly developed a fierce determination that this was not going to happen this time. I had invested many hours and thousands of dollars into my degree and really wanted to finish it. It was a major personal success for me just to complete the degree.
When I think about it, I’ve actually demonstrated follow through quite a few times in the past couple of years. I’ve participated in #blogjune for 2 years running now – and each time I have followed through and finished it. I think I missed one day last year and none this year, I’m pretty sure that shows staying power. The same goes for #1pic1thoughtinAug last year, I managed to get a photo uploaded every day. Maybe, just maybe I’m better at this than I first thought?
Cue forward 18 months, to the very last day of #blogjune and I’ve just enrolled in the Masters of Information Studies – essentially to convert my undergrad qualification to a post-grad one. It’s not going to make much difference to my employment or professional recognition but there’ll be a certain satisfaction in finishing it. Stay tuned.
Earlier this year, I attended a one day ‘Research for LIS practitioners‘ seminar put on by ALIA in Sydney.
Last year, I completed a FOLIOz course in Evidence Based Library and Information Practice (EBLIP), also offered by ALIA.
This is a little story about the blurring of the lines between the two.
One of the criticisms I hear (and agree with) about our profession is the dearth of original research that furthers the profession as a whole. I loved being at ALIA Access last year and I enjoyed watching the twitter stream from ALIA Information Online this year – but much of what is presented at these conferences is yet more examples of ‘what we did in our library’, which, while interesting and useful and worthwhile, don’t do much to further the profession overall and seem to be examples of EBLIP. Very good EBLIP, don’t get me wrong.
I’m sure it’s not unique to LIS professionals – but we seem to be very good at telling each other about the things we are good at (and the things that didn’t go so well) – the problem is, we are often preaching to the converted anyway so it is all just more of the same. Following Online, there was much discussion among my twitter PLN on the future of the conference format – but that’s probably another post.
The ‘furthering our profession’ research seems to be most likely to come from the many PhD proposals that were discussed as participants took turns outlining their reasons for being at the seminar.
Meanwhile, I struggled a bit with the EBLIP course as I didn’t quite understand at the beginning the difference between research and using evidence based practice to make workplace decisions. Much of what was outlined in the EBLIP literature was to do with evaluating previous research (or actually, previous ‘what we did in our library’) to build a business case or plan for proceeding with something in the workplace. The whole point was to avoid re-inventing the wheel.
It didn’t help my confusion that the ‘burning question’ I formulated during the course proved to be something that there actually wasn’t very much literature on – further blurring the line between EBLIP and research (for me). I forget the details of the question, but it was to do with international students and information literacy instruction as that was something I was dealing with at work at the time.
I had hoped to get over to the UK this year to attend EBLIP6, partly to further my understanding of these 2 different, but overlapping areas of research (and partly to see my brother who lives over there!) but it was not to be. I look forward to following the progress of the conference via the twitter stream and the papers that come out of it.
In the meantime, I continue to be a bit confused.
Last night I attended an interesting PD event put on by the newly rejuvenated ALIA Sydney group. Billed as ‘How to be library senior management in 12 easy steps‘, it quickly became obvious from the impressive panel of library senior managers assembled that there are in fact no easy steps. While some of it appears to be sheer dumb luck and being in the right place at the right time, mostly it comes down to the commonsense approach of making the most of your opportunities and being proactive about career development and career progression. This includes taking on roles you are a little nervous about (it’s good to challenge yourself) and taking on opportunities to improve your skills with further education, PD events, attendance at conferences, writing papers and all that other (obvious?) stuff. It’s good to be reminded of these things, particularly as I’m in a spot of down time in my career mojo.
So, this morning I have finally enrolled in a Cert IV Training & Assessment. In all the dithering I have been doing about whether to do any more study, I’ve overlooked the fact that I could probably just be getting on with this little qualification and getting it over with. It will probably be useful and will certainly be a good addition to my CV. I am pretty vocal about my issue with LIS education leaving important stuff like pedagogy out of the course when most librarians end up, in fact, teaching. I like the instruction side of my job but am aware that I am making stuff up as I go along when it comes to developing learning outcomes and effective programs. I’m hoping this will help. There’s a lot of studying going on in my household at the moment, including a HSC student so I have been a bit reluctant to add yet another one to the mix! However, everyone who has done the Cert IV tells me it’s not terribly difficult or time consuming so I am trusting my PLN on this and getting on with it!
Feels good to have taken some control and made some decisions about my own career.
Over the weekend I read a post from Fiona at A work in progress that has got me thinking about my career mojo.
The blogosphere has been full of posts about what it means to be a librarian, what LIS students need to know, (here and here) and whether our university courses prepare librarians adequately or appropriately. I’m sure this flurry of writing coincides with the new academic year in the US and the end of the academic year here in Australia. Add into the mix some doom and gloom about the future of the library as we know it (job cuts and library closures in the UK being the focus of Roy Tennant’s Digital Libraries post this week) and it’s no wonder that graduates like Fiona and myself feel a bit dazed and confused.
Now I’m in a horrible limbo land. I’ve finished my course. I am officially a graduand. But I’m yet to find work in a library and am feeling my tenuous grip on the pulse of librarianship slipping away by the day. It’s not that I’m not still reading blogs and articles and tweets from fabulous librarians and educators. It’s not that I’ve lost any of my passion for sharing information and helping to connect people to the information that they need. It’s just that without papers to write or a library job to go to it’s all feeling very abstract.
For a variety of reasons I didn’t work in the library industry while I was studying for my library qualifications, so I completely understand the disconnect Fiona is feeling. Now, a year after finishing my course and with almost a year of full time work in the profession under my belt I’m feeling a bit the same again.
MPOW is full of wonderful, caring and genuine folk but as an OPL in a very small educational institution I’m starting to feel the restlessness kick in. I will always be grateful to my current employer for the opportunity they gave me as a graduate to take this position and for the opportunities for professional development and advancement of my skills that they have allowed me to take while working here, but I’m eager to take my new found skills and apply them in the wider libraryland.
Like Fiona, I’m back in a bit of limbo-land. It’s completely the wrong time of year here to be looking for a new job, not only am I competing with the fresh, new crop of graduates but the long holiday shuts a lot of things down now until the end of January. In a way, I’ve also shut down. I love reading about the fabulous things that others in my PLN are achieving in their workplaces but it’s mixed with wishing that I had the opportunity to do/implement/experience some of those things too, which just induces more restlessness.
I have leave over Christmas and into the New Year. I can only hope that when I return from leave, some of my career mojo is back.