The journey of a future librarian

Friday, November 26, 2010

Reference Can Happen Anywhere

I work part time at the front desk of a gym over in Dewitt. It is a fairly simple job; I wash towels, answer the phone and hand out locks. All your usual costumer service things. However, the other day it somehow turned into a reference desk for one of the members.

I guess that technically, some one at a front desk is equipped to handle ready reference questions for the business. I know the hours, the prices, and other little facts about the business. However, this situation went beyond ready reference; pretty much turning into a full on reference interview.

A member, of the gym, came to me at the front desk and asked me to look up a medical condition  he called diastolic zero; as well as looking for the term hyper dynamics. Trying to be the learned reference librarian that we are training to be in 605 I decided to go straight to, instead of using a Google search. Well let me just say that typing the terms that the member gave to me did not result in any search results at that site. So I started to ask clarifying questions to the patron to try to see if I understood what he was truly trying to get an answer for. I was bit concfused as to what I was actually trying to find for the member; what the codition was, how it happened, how to treat it? I didn't know.

However, the member just seemed to repeat the terms that he wanted me to find. He didn't say "I want to know what causes the some one to have a diastolic of zero." He really wasn't giving me much of a direction to look for the answer or information was that he wanted. Maybe I wasn't asking the right questions, but there was a communication problem going on.

At this point I started to get a bit frustrated with the situation. The member was hoovering and insistent on having the information quickly. Also, they wanted to go about looking for the information themselves, making me feel that I was incompetent of the search. Eventually, due to the inability to search on for the information I gave into a Google search. I figured the member wasn't really going for the creditability of the information, they just wanted it quickly. So, in combination with wanting to stop the members inquiring and a Google search I ended up giving the member a halfhearted answer.

I know that this member does not know I am going to school to be a library, so they were not aware of my pride that was on the line. However, I realized that this situation is the type of thing that I am going to face all the time working in a public library. Obviously this situation did not go as I would have liked, but it really helped me to think about how I should act in future reference situations. It is going to be important to keep a level head no matter who you are working with or what they are asking. It doesn't help to get frustrated with the member, you get flustered in your search and can jeopardize the end result.

In conclusion, I learned that the life of a reference library is going to be a trying career. However, the fact that you are helping others learn and be informed is the reason that we need to do this work.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

One Man's Trash...

I loved tonight how Dave talked about the fact that we can not determine the intrinsic value of something for another person. This is something that I whole heartily agree with. I realize that when I become a librarian I am going to be ask reader advisory questions about the types of books I don't normally read. And if by some chance I have read a series of books about a girl that desires to be a vampire to be with the man she loves, that doesn't mean I liked it and want to suggest it to others. But this is the point: I can't decide for that person whether they are going to like it or not.

The basis for this idea is one of the things that often makes me laugh in this program. We are all so different. There are those of us that want to be school librarians, special collections librarians, or public librarians; and that's okay. Goodness knows if we all wanted to go into the same thing getting a job would really be difficult. So, it is good that we are different. And with these differences we value different things.

The world would be a boring place it we all had identical values. Creativity would mean little, those who are the slightest bit different would be shunned. We would all live in ignorance. For we have learned the most from those men and women in history that went against the grain and followed what they truly believed.

As the title begins: One man's trash, is another man's treasure. May we all always keep our minds open to this possibility.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Being a Master's Student

In the past week or so, it has really set in for me what it is going to take to be a Master's student. I know, I'm half way through the semester and now it is setting in? The answer, for me, is yes. I'm not trying to say that I can't handle it, it is just that I need to adjust and step out of my comfort zone at times. 

I feel that as a Master's student you really learn how much you can put on your plate. You learn the point to which you can stretch yourself with out breaking. Yes, there may be some cracking and need for glue. However, you also learn that you are not alone. I have gained so much strength from those that I have gotten to know in the program. We learn that we are not the only ones with a question about this or that, we are able to provide insight to one another, and we are there for each other because we are all going through it together.

I know that I made the right decision to pursue my Master's. Every time that I think about the fact that I am becoming a librarian, it excites me. I know that it is not going to be easy, and no one ever said it would. But I think I have learned that easy really isn't worth it, the best things in life come from the struggles you face.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

This is a QR code:

I thought it should be used more then once. So get a kick out of it's randomness.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hot Sauce simmering on the back burner

You would think that I would have learned by halfway through the semester to blog right after class when the ideas are still fresh. But no siree, I don't. I just sit in front of my computer with a blank stare thinking what to write. Week after week. This is getting sad.

Okay, I guess that I should get on about becoming a librarian now. This past class we had two "special" librarians come in. Let me clarify "special" as those who work in a specialized, could be subject based, library. And I am starting to see a theme in what they are looking for in a new librarian. A theme that has been preached to us since we started at the iSchool; and that is Innovation. This week it was titled as the "Hot Sauce," a mixture of innovation, lifelong learning and a do all attitude. The sauce that brings a new edge to the organization, mixes it up a bit. So the baker in me is ready to make my own recipe. I'm not always into burning hot, so I may have to work in a little sweet. However, after a two year simmer, I think that a good combination will come out.

As with every week, in the end the post works out to be fairly informational. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Ah that time of the week again

I know that this blog is not meant to be a hard assignment. It is a reflection on our progression through the program. However, I still struggle with sitting down and writing in a blog, even when it is assigned. Especially when there is all sorts of thoughts banging around in my head. So, I will try to focus on one. And no it is not very creative, seeing as many others have written about it, but I will try to give my opinion on e-reading.

At first when e-reading is brought up, I do have a tendency to shy away from the subject. I just what to grab any book in sight. I will always be a die hard for holding the book in my hands and flipping the pages. However, as I continue to learn more knowledgeable on what has become available, I am starting to see a benefit to this new field.

This are some of the pros that I have towards e-reading.
  • An e-reading device can hold a generous amount of books on it. That way, if you are board of the book that you are reading, you can start up a new one. This is especially nice with the devices that have Wi-Fi so that you can download the book right where you are.
  • Along with this idea, a single device with mutiple reading options is great for traveling. They are sleek and small and better then carrying around bulkier books. 
  • Also, it I were to fall asleep while reading, which I often do, the e-readers are may to save to the page that you are on in the book.
  • One of my favorite benefits is that you can put PDF files onto most of the devices. This saves you on printing costs and paper usage. 
  • Also, you don't have to stare at a computer screen for too long.(Only when writing blogs)
  •  The E-Ink technology is anti-glare so you can read out in the sunlight (if we are getting any in Syracuse).
The one thing I will hold onto the hardest with e-reading.  I can never see a children's book being better in e-format. To me, no matter how good the images and colors get in e-ink format, they can never replace a child turning the page and seeing the illustrations and touching the page. I hope that I will never read a Dr. Seuss book in e-format, that might just make me cry.

Even though I hold some reservations to the world of e-reading, I have come to see that I need to embrace it for what it is, in up-and-coming field. E-reading is going to be prevalent as we go out and work in the library sector, and we need to be prepared to face what is coming our way.

In conclusion, I would have to say that I am to truly for e-reading. However, I am not really against it either. Therefore, the jury is still out on this one for me. I'll let you know if it ever comes in.

My random fact for the day is really out there, but it actually comes from my 605 assignment. Did you know that you can get The Encyclopedia of the American Constitution in e-book format? Well you can. And I am sure that you are all going to go look for it online now, but be warned that you need to log in to access information about it, so that may put a damper on your excitement.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

And now the pressure sets in

Okay, now I'm going to possibly going to go insane. And trust me, that will not be a pretty sight. I think the whole I am a master's student with tons of work is really sinking. Not that I really want to tell any one that when they ask "how are classes?" Of course I have to say just dandy, cause if I said that they are work then I would have to go on about it is in more details. Which I really don't want to. And really classes aren't that bad, I think my big thing is adjusting to the teaching styles of the professors.

To add to the fact that I am obviously struggling, I some how forgot to put my reflection about my interview on my assignment. Thankfully David Lankes is a nice guy and will let me put it here in my blog. (Which I also some how managed to forget to put into the assessment section. Yes, I'm that good.)

As I mentioned in my report, the "librarian" that I talk to was the teen coordinator for my home town library. I was part of the summer book club Daily held while I was in high school; I greatly admired the work she had done with the group. Daily is a big part of the reason that I decided I wanted to become a librarian. I want to do some similar activities to her's in the library, to continue on the practices. It was great to sit down and talk to her about the situation the library is in. How the economy is effecting it with all the budget cuts. As well as all the joys that she finds in her job. As we talked, I was further remained of why I want to be come a librarian.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Some call it Innovation

As I sat there last night and listened to Dave's "ranting" about innovation, I was further encouraged in the path that I want to take into the field of librarianship. I received my undergraduate degree in Recreation Management and Youth Leadership. When people hear that and then hear that I am getting a Master in Library Sciences I often get a strange look. I guess I can see where there having trouble making the connection, however to me they fit hand in hand. (And thankfully, I have had a librarian herself tell me that it will help to have that background.)

To me they fit together well because I want to work in a public library as the children or juvenile director. In that capacity I want the library to not just be a place where they come to read, but a place there they come to have fun doing all sorts of activities. Like the librarians that spoke last night, it isn't only about books in the library.

To me, my innovation will be most seen in the events that are going on in my library. It will be about how I get the community involved and utilizing the library.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Say it Stupid

So if I just sound ridiculous, will people cite my blog as the next best thing? I highly doubt that, but maybe it is worth a try. Though, for me to say ridiculous things I don't have to try, they just come.

To make an another note in relation to the title of this post, I came to realize a big reason why I don't really talk in classes. I know professors are always saying that we need to participate in class, but I am always afraid of sounding ridiculous in front of the whole class. I guess that I should not care so much. So that is what I will try to work on during the semester.

As for the subject matter of class, I found it most interesting the breakdown in the numbers of the types of libraries. I guess that if I had thought of it before, it would make sense that the greatest number there are are school libraries. Though a community has one public library, it is likely to have multiple schools and therefore several school libraries. However, I did not have any deep epiphanies, so this blog is not to insightful.

Random Fact: In order to lessen his debt, Thomas Jefferson sold his personal library to the Library of Congress after it had burned. Jefferson was in the habit of owning every book ever printed.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Start of a new semester

Disclaimer: To tell you the truth I always blank when I sit down to write a blog. All these good ideas were there before; and they just disappear. So if this post seems a bit disjointed and, well, crappy; I am sorry to those of you who read it.

This past week was the start of my first semester at Syracuse University in my journey to become a librarian. I started it off with IST 618 - and lets just say that all the technical stuff was daunting. However, in IST 511 I was able to feel more at home. Dave Lankes seems to know just how to empower you into getting excited about the field. And all we talked about was the history of Librarianship. I left the class so excited to be a librarian that is not defined by where I work, but by the work that I do.

Random Fact: (This will be the lesser known facts that I got from the lecture that I feel are just fun to know) Dr. Pepper started the first Free Library in Philadelphia. Take that Ben Franklin