Oh. I just can’t wait.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Oh. I just can’t wait.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
- A backslash separates two or more related or synonymous words, e.g. Agon/agony, Assure/ensure/insure
- An em dash is used in lieu of the word "and", e.g. Antifreeze—coolant, or in lieu of a colon, e.g. Age and experience—internet terms
- A comma is only used in proper names, e.g. Auden, W.H. (you may be noting a pattern, I just finished filing the A’s) or when a comma was used in the title of Safire’s column, e.g. attaboy, attosecond
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
In class last night, we attempted to define librarianship. The diagrammatic definition above was my favorite—succint and profound. I should define its terminology for any readers outside of our class:
Conversation—the exchange of knowledge: from librarian to patron, librarian to librarian, patron to text, text to text—the conversation is endlessly evolving.
Facilitation—what most people imagine one learns at library school: cataloging, search methods, the ins and outs of research.
Values—our biases, our opinions, what our choices and our actions impart to our patrons.
“What is a librarian?” naturally leads me to a question which I have been struggling with (and will, I’m sure, continue to struggle with) for a while, “Why do I want to be a librarian?”
“Why libraries?” is and always has been easy to answer. I love visiting libraries, wandering the stacks, diving into databases—libraries are home to me. But I love libraries as a patron, as a seeker of knowledge. In considering the role of a library patron, I realized that it might be defined as follows:
Even the most passive patron is engaged in these two aspects of librarianship. Without some basic knowledge of facilitative methods (even if that method is “ask a librarian for help”), patrons could never find the information they need, and without any interest in conversation (that is, in the one or two way exchange of knowledge), they wouldn’t want the information at all.
Over the years, as my comfort and competance in libraries have grown, I have expanded my skills and interest within the categories of conversation and facilitation. I have learned about more search tools, discovered hidden corners of academia and the arts (and hidden corners of my libraries), criticized and praised, printed and stapled, argued and borrowed and browsed. But a patron is not a librarian.
Yes, a librarian expands on the skills of the patron—he is more facile with the library’s tools, more involved in The Conversation—but fundamentally a librarian also imparts, or even imposes, his values onto patrons and into the library space, both physical and virtual. Librarians are not unbiased automatons, we are proudly biased, we are active shapers of our communities, leading them into the future with our values as our guides.
I am tremendously excited to spend the next two years becoming a librarian, elucidating my existing values and discovering new ones. I hope to shape my life and career around these values, making professional decisions which are not only practical and logical but are moral. Today, I do not know why I want to be a librarian. But I know that I want to be one.