in which I attempt to be a rockstar teacher librarian :)

Archive for September, 2011

thoughts and such.

We spent an incredible amount of time (read: three hour class) today discussing economics and how they apply to the information field as us, as information professionals. If this sounds like an incredibly boring topic to you, or even moreso, an incredibly useless topic, I beg you to think again. While I could easily play the nerd card and admit that I have always found economics fun to study – Marie plays the nerd card for +10 to a lack of street cred! – I’m re-evaluating what I already know and applying it to information and discovering all sorts of new things.

Information can be treated like a commodity or a public good. In this case, public good does not mean a good that’s supplied by the public, or owned by the public, or financed by the public per say but is defined by the non-rivalry inherent within. If I am reading a journal article online, I am not preventing you from also reading that journal article, and both of us are able to benefit from reading it. Thus the public good aspect of information.

For class, we had to read a book by Bruce Kingma entitled “The Economics of Information” that I would recommend everyone at the very least skim (also, if you’re taking 618 in the future, and you will be, it probably wouldn’t hurt, since it’ll probably be required again). Understanding how to effectively analyze and conduct a cost-benefit analysis *might* seem a bit complicated and overdone at first, but if you end up in a position of management in a library – or anywhere, for that matter – it’ll be ridiculously helpful. I’d by lying by omission if I didn’t admit that I CBA lots of things in my life. Making decisions based on opportunity cost and the time-value of money may not always work, but it certainly attempts to remove one from the situation and make a less emotion-based decision. And, well, I have no problems with that every once in a while.

And herein I apologize for how absolutely boring this blogpost is. And now I will shrug.

reinventing: not a bad idea.

It’s 3:11 in the morning and I’m creating a new blog post. Because sometimes inspiration strikes, and the best thing to do is acknowledge it so that you can work past it.

We, as human beings in this somewhat-crazy world we live in, are constantly reinventing ourselves. I had an interesting and introspective conversation with a friend tonight that forced me to acknowledge that though, over time, I’ve had to change and reinvent myself, that’s not all for the bad. And to think this all began because I mentioned, half-jokingly and half-seriously, “oh no, I’m becoming my mother!” It brought me to a realization that not only isn’t this a bad thing, but it’s something I could embrace – and should embrace – if I’m truly to move forward and not horizontally on this never-ending track that is life. (Editor’s note: my mom is freaking awesome. I talk about her all the time, with good reason.)

My oldest brother has held more than 30 jobs in his life. Continually seeking the next good thing.
My next brother went from being a college drop-out to a sergeant in military intelligence. Now he works as a citizen for a federal intelligence agency, and is such a proud dad and husband that it gives me hope for the world.
My next brother (ed’s note: yes, I have three) went from being a soldier – the path he’d always envisioned himself on – to being a war veteran who now works what most would consider a minimum-wage job so that he can solely afford to travel and adventure. He sends me pictures of the wild animals he encounters – last ones I got were of a herd of elk.
My sister, known as the music and drama queen of the family, went on to become a therapist and works with severely disabled clients. It’s a good day at work when she can say someone actually improved a skill, and yet every day she trucks off with a bit of optimism in the tank.

I graduated high school (ed’s note: in a small town in Ohio!) and headed off to college. Everyone knew my path: get a degree in chemistry, take over the world, in that order of course. Within a year, I’d had numerous career-counseling sessions, declared an abhorrence for laboratory work, though I loved the theoretical, and switched my major to history. History, the field that most consider “the study of the past with lots of memorization of names and dates.” Three years later I graduated with a BA in history and approximately zero plans to pursue a career path specifically linked to that field.

Now, here I am. In a new state, at a new school, with new professors and a new path. I’ve reinvented myself yet again. From chemist to confused to historian to student all over again, with the hopes of going on to the librarian path. And how does any of this (minus the last clause of the last sentence) apply to school?

As a field, librarianship is continually changing. Like we mentioned with medicine, it didn’t go out of style and fail to exist simply because of germ theory. The field took itself where it needed to go, established itself as relevant yet again, and flourished. Librarianship has been doing the same thing over the ages. While we may have originally been the hunchbacked scribes, creating transcripts and storing them in a logical order, we are now ‘information professionals’. We are people with answers, and people willing to take the necessary steps to procure an answer. We have reinvented ourselves and maintained our relevancy through yet another age. We’re learning how to be ‘new librarians’ and excited to take what we’ve learned into the field to continue to shape it, mold it, and reinvent it, for the modern day.

But medicine didn’t continue because doctors decided to catch up to germ theory and figure it out. They didn’t decide to start developing pharmaceuticals because it was a way to make money off a disease (not starting a political discussion here, just roll with me). They successfully integrated their knowledge, the information at their fingertips, their willingness to serve, and their tangible goods, and created modern medicine. One would not consider going to a doctor who announced he only served, but would not dole out a physical drug to treat an ailment. Likewise one would be hesitant to approach a physician who claimed to write prescriptions, but was unwilling to listen to your list of symptoms and diagnose you first. In the same way, we as librarians must take up the challenge of integrating our willingness to serve the public with information, and the goods we have at our disposal with which to do so.

We can learn from the past. We can witness the present and all that we’re doing right. But we must also look to the future – to spy that which has not yet come over the horizon – to perceive that which is still as yet indiscernible – and be prepared to reinvent ourselves. Constant vigilance, my friends! The future is ours, should we bolster ourselves with just enough confidence to continue offering goodly service and servicely goods to those who seek them.

(Ed’s note: it’s now 3:34 AM and I’m actually tired now. Keep this in mind as you re-read that last sentence. Thank you, and good night.)

—Marie

ramblings and ruminatings.

hey, y’all. It’s Saturday evening and I’m fully aware I need to blog, but the Buckeyes are playing and I am both a) a native Ohioan and b) a huge sports nut so you’ll just have to wait in suspense. I’m leaving this window open in the hopes that I’ll find blogging motivation during halftime. 🙂

…well, this blog is going to have to wait some more. The most useful feature of G+, the hangout, is to occur. Why do I feel this will be officially posted after midnight?

It’s 1:26 a.m.

I’ve got to be up in 7 hours. I’ll come back to this tomorrow…thus rendering today highly unproductive. alas, I did read an entire novel. #nerd 🙂

-Marie

we’ve got class!

Actually, we’ve got multiple classes, most of us. But this week we had our first experience with IST 511, technically known as “Introduction to the Library and Information Profession”, though I affectionately (for now) refer to it as “Intro to Libraries”. Rolls off the tongue a bit better.

What did we talk about this week? A little bit of everything. It was like a delicious pasta salad – not too much dressing (gag), not too much pepperoni (also gag), a good handful of green pepper and cheese, with a solid base of slightly-al-dente pasta. If by pasta you mean “general talk about libraries”, with everything else serving as a relevant tangential topic. That said, I’m going to expound upon something that, while not overly discussed, is going to be crucial from here on out, forever and ever.

To paraphrase Prof. Lankes – because I didn’t write it down verbatim, and misquoting is horrific – You can not be unbiased.

What does this mean? It means stop parading around that little sign around your neck that says “I know how to be objective, I really really do, I swear! It’s called presenting you with all sorts of sources so I can’t seem biased in any one direction, while secretly hoping you only read the source I support most fully!” (Sidenote: I have a tendency to the overdramatic. Don’t take it personally, fellow students.) When a patronusermember asks for information, they seek information. They don’t seek it with a side-dish of bias, but they certainly don’t seek it with a side-dish of bias-disguised-under-a-cloak-of-objectivism.

I think it’s especially hard for those of us who -desire- to be objective to realize that it’s impossible. I know I spent the last four years of undergrad doing my damnedest to write “objective” papers, knowing full well I was spinning those sources around my personal wheel of beliefs. But therein lies another issue – how to balance the art of acknowledging a bias, while not letting that justify being lazy and completely nonobjective? I think that’s what I’m going to keep tossing around in my mind over the next couple days weeks months years. 

I recognize my bias, I know it, and I know it’s not the common – that’s something I’m learning in all my classes so far. Yet I want to work past it without denying my own self-knowledge. Thus begins a quest that I’m sure will continue long past this semester, or this school. Well, I do love a good quest…

new.

I don’t even know what number blog this is for me. Really.

I think I’ve had four xangas (four?! gosh)… three blogspots…and this is my second tumblr. I admit to never having grown to like wordpress. I used to blog on myspace – remember myspace? – which oddly enough, was one of the *worst* features on myspace. And we all know the “Facebook note” – I’ve used those for blathering and/or mindless words. Because really – Facebook as a blogging platform? I laugh.

So, here we go, with tumblr account #2. For the purposes of exculpating and exaggerating and examining my experience studying library and information science, school media specialization, at Syracuse University.

Here goes nothin’!