This has been a long and hard semester and its almost done. I feel like I’ve been stretched and pulled in a lot of unexpected and good ways, which I’m going to reflect on here.
First though I want to post a link to the library website that I helped create with Maria, Library Girl and Caroline, Artichocke Mountain High School Library Website.
In our last class of School Library Management, we talked a lot about what’s the next step for heading towards a career as a school librarian and a lot of the advice works for just being a librarian. A lot of the focus was on professional organizations and how many options there are and thinking about what you can get from each one. This is something that keeps coming up in my various classes, the idea of how as I become a librarian, there really is an amazing community with lots of smaller communities out there for me to become a part of. The other wonderful thing we did was do a quick exercise about summing up being a school librarian. In my group we designed a girl scout badge that incorporated books, reading devices and the world since a good librarian can bring you the world.
Now I want to talk more about this semester in general, because it was one where I took a number of classes that don’t properly fit within the definition of my specialization in Library Information Science. I took School Library Management because I think I want to be a youth librarian and it gave me a way to really think and consider what is really key when you run a library or part of library where the focus is on children. This class has stretched me to try new things and really think about what are the responsibilities I take on as a librarian who works with young people.
I also took a course on Archives, because I want to be a well rounded librarian and many times small public libraries will be connected to their town’s archives. This class stretched me the most in terms of the major project in which we had to do a project within an archive to understand the user experience. Yet the problem I ran into was that my topic was not really suited to an archive, it was one of those cases where I could see what I was meant to do but its not really how I think about things. In the end what happened was I created a paper that I’m proud of about Robin Hood and illustrations of Robin Hood, but didn’t really get as much of a sense of working in an archive. I’m thankful for how stretched and thoughtful this class made me and it just reminded me of something I knew before, I’m not an archivist. Not long after I graduated college, I interned in the library of a maritime museum and a lot of the work I did was sort of archival, I was going through a collection of logbooks and putting together descriptions for researchers to use. What I learned doing that job was that I found the information in the logbooks fascinating but I wanted to do more than just describe it, I wanted to write stories and novels based around what I learned in those books. I may not ever be an archivist, but I am grateful for understanding why I’m not.
Another course I took was a required course on technology that had the feel of a survey and a wonderful challenge along the lines of as a librarian you might not see yourself as a tech person but you can be. This connected a lot with School Library Management because so many times the librarian especially a new librarian can end up the technology person. I came out of this class realizing that I can do a lot more with tech stuff than I realized.
The last course I took this semester was a mix for me, Online Communities, because I found that it wasn’t what I expected. Instead of an anthropology course, I found myself more in a course with some looking at communities work but rather more on the tech of working with groups online. The stretching was much less noticeable in this one and I did learn of some good tools.
As I look back over this semester and first year at SI, I feel incredibly tired and accomplished and a little disappointed in myself. I know that I have gained a lot from these courses but at times, I feel like when I stretched, it wasn’t always in the right direction and I didn’t do as well as I might have. SI is a powerful testing ground and place to learn because it asks you as a student to step beyond what you think you know and find out more. I’m glad to have a break and will be curious to see how I change this summer and next year.