Sunday, February 28, 2010

Becoming a Librarian

I've elected to use my blog posts for this course to mostly reflect upon my fast approaching completion of my MLS degree and less on the specific topics of this course. I hope that this use is satisfactory. Since my MLS degree is less than two months away I'm finding that I am very often reflecting on this accomplishment and trying to make sense about what this means to me. This is not the first time I'm mentioning this, but I mainly took the courses in LIS so I could continue to learn about how and why people learn and less because I wanted to become a librarian. In the course of my LIS studies I have vastly increased a number of abilities that could be said to be attributed to being a librarian. For example, I now look very critically at information in order to determine its validity and authenticity. I feel my search strategies have vastly improved. I know the value of various search tools, but I still have difficulty understanding why true federated searching is not the norm.

Although I did not enroll in the MLS program to become a Librarian, now that the end is nearly in sight, I'm very proud that I will join this important and elite group. I feel that my abilities have matched those of what are desired by the profession. It is unfortunate that in my career there seems to be an unlikely prospect in the near future of my job responsibilities becoming more in-tune with those of  the librarian profession.

One thing I would like to point out is that I clearly see my job as an instructional designer for the University at Buffalo to be extremely similar to the responsibilities of a school library media center. The main similarity is the need to collaborate with instructors to assist them in their quest to help students towards achieving a maximally effective learning environment.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

To the movies

I'll be going to view the movie "Hollywood Librarian" at UB very soon. I'm interested to see what the movie has to say about the librarian profession. Considering that I'll be a "Librarian" in just about two months it would be good to see this movie. Although I've been in LIS for a number of years going to classes one at a time, I find it difficult to picture myself as a librarian. I like my role as an instructional designer. I pursued an MLS to improve my knowledge and skills in this area. I feel I've been very successful doing this. I do think that life is capable of taking many unexpected turns. It is possible that a position could open up in a library that may entail many responsibilities for the utilization of my background. So, I'm off to watch the "Hollywood Librarian" to preview what possibilities may be in my future.

Monday, February 15, 2010

My strength

This past week I was able to draw on some of my strengths and knowledge about web design. This is an area that I feel I have a strong understanding of. Considering that I have taught a course for the Informatics program titled Collaborative Web Design I should be in my element when discussing website usability. It was not much of a stretch to take my existing knowledge about website design and usability and apply it to the needs of a library website catalog.

In contrast, when I need to rely on my knowledge about information literacy I am much more out of my element. If I'm asked to instruct someone on how to evaluate whether or not a website's content is valid and authoritative I am able to provide a few general pointers. However, in my own searching needs I can say that I am often swayed to trust sites that I should be much more doubtful about. I'm a member of the Information Literacy Task Force under the UB Libraries, but the team (which has a number of librarians on the committee) also has a hard time providing clear instruction to others about how they should evaluate the content they find on the web.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Inner commotion

It's been a week since I selected the new title for my blog. The more I think about this new title the more I like it. I often think that my emotions are a driver of my personality and they often result in inner commotion.

I'm finally starting to feel that I have some control over this semester. It took me a while to get caught up with my work responsibilities and my class responsibilities since returning from my "life altering" trip to China. Over this past winter break I had an opportunity to go on a two week study abroad to the cities of Beijing and Chengdu. I learned a lot on this trip. The main lesson I learned is to not take for granted the many of the creature comforts and freedoms that I have because I live in America. Although I won't go into details here (at least not now), I did learn that living in America does give me privileges such as freedom of speech, freedom to openly think thoughts of my own choosing, and the freedom to take advantages of luxuries including heat and abundant sources of energy.

What I do want to talk about in this post is the demands that my university studies is having on my life. This class is the last class that I need to take  for the MLS program at UB. When I was a course instructor a number of years ago one of my students told me that she expected the course to not be as taxing as it was and that I demanded a lot of my students in relation to the amount of reading and the course assignments. It was her last class towards her MLS degree. I bring this up because I'd like to offer a similar compliment (???) for the current course I'm enrolled in. I value the amount of work required in this course, and I value the amount of learning that I'm enduring.

I expect to graduate this May. When I was deciding to continue my studies at UB I was torn between working towards a doctoral degree or taking the easier route and just pursue a second Masters. At the time, a doctorate seemed so far into the future. Now that I'm almost done with the MLS I regret not choosing to pursue a PhD. I'm now considering what route I will choose once I'm done with the MLS.

I truly enjoy learning. However, I always have difficulty keeping up with the assignments and homework. You might ask why I don't just make my own course for learning and choose to self study. Well the answer is that I very much enjoy the social aspects of being in structured learning environments (even if it is in a distance learning mode).