Foundations reflective journal

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Foundations reflective journal

  1. 1. August 30, 2009 For my first journal, I am writing about the debate surrounding the website Wikipedia.This includes the articles by Bennington, Read, and Schiff. When I first read the list of articles under the course documents, I was surprised to seeseveral articles regarding Wikipedia. I was confused as to how the website related to the coursecontent. I thought of LI801 as being a class surrounding the theory behind informationmanagement and the foundation of library science and after reading the other articles I still feltlost as to how the Wikipedia articles fell into the same category. Therefore my point of viewwhile reading the articles was that of a high school teacher and Internet user, and not as a studentin SLIM. As an everyday consumer of the Internet, I felt guilty as I was reading the articlesbecause I have often had a question about a celebrity or seemingly silly topic and just hopped onWikipedia in order to find a quick and easy answer. As a high school teacher, however,Wikipedia means something different. It becomes one of the teachable moments where I feel theneed to educate my students on the reliability of sources from the Internet. I think as adults andadministrators we are too quick to set up rules and regulations and block websites that with someamount of education, could be used as great teaching tools. To this effect, I agreedwholeheartedly with Bennington when he said, “Instead of demonizing Wikipedia as a poorresearch tool, academic and school librarians should use it as an occasion to teach informationliteracy skills.” (Bennington 47) It was after reading this line that I realized how much Wikipedia and other websites aretruly relevant to a student of library science. Librarians are no longer in charge of boundvolumes in the stacks, but are also responsible for electronic research. Though it is stillimportant for students to do their research at the library using hard cover books or journals,
  2. 2. Wikipedia and similar websites are changing the requirements and demands of the informationprofession. The website could be used as a tool to find the most up to date information as well asserve as a jumping off point in finding other sources. Our job as information professionals is not to censor, but to educate. We need to useWikipedia as an example of how to properly search for materials and to appraise the reliability ofthe source, whether it be online or print. September 13, 2009 For my second journal I am writing about the technological growth of information as itrelates to librarians. I will refer to chapter 1 of the Rubin text. As I watch my almost three year old son play in his room, I wonder about his future. Iwonder what he’ll be like as an adult and where he’ll go to school, but I wonder about thetechnologies that will come about as he gets older. One of his favorite toys is his Thomas theTrain laptop that has alphabet games, number games, and songs. He also loves to play onwebsites via our home computer. He talks and sends text messages on his pretend cell phone andis better at playing the Wii than I am. He will never be able to comprehend life without acomputer or cell phone. My point behind my story is this: if we as librarians are going to keepstudents in our libraries, it is essential to keep up with and even stay ahead of the technologicaltrends. The previous statement is easier said than done, especially when I think of patrons andlibrarians alike who are from the generation of my grandparents. On one hand they own a cellphone, but absolutely refuse to buy a computer or access the Internet. According to Rubin, thisfear is common. I like that he refers to some of the terms by which the information age is called,“information explosion…the flood of information…bombarded by information” (Rubin 2004).All of these expressions are perilous, destructive, and upsetting. They sound like terms that
  3. 3. would be used to describe the apocalypse, not new technologies. This anxiety towardsinformation is something that we as SLIM students must address and try to change. We mustfollow the growing trend of being user-focused rather than document-focused. I think there maybe people whose only sources of reference are hardcover textbooks and journals, because theyare too afraid to explore other possibilities. In order to help patrons think outside the box,librarians must attack the new technology, learn it, and then disseminate the information. I must also admit that it is not just older people that are hesitant to branch out beyondtheir comfort zone. I know that at times I become comfortable in only using the technologiesI’m familiar with. I know that to improve as a teacher and future librarian, I must also be open tonot only learning about new information and technologies, but also putting them into practiceand then teaching others. September 27, 2009 For my third journal I am writing about the movie “Mona Lisa Smile” from the seminalvideo list. When I looked through the seminal video list, this was the first movie that caught myeye. I had seen it a long time ago and had enjoyed the progressive point of view. I did not,however, immediately see the connection between the video and our class. After watching thevideo a great deal of connections became obvious. First, I believe this is easily integrated with the 801 content because the teacher isessentially disseminating information to her art students. I also see examples of informationprocesses and the information “gap.” She realized that her students already knew about all of theart pieces, so she had to edit her search. She had to search for other art work they wouldn’tknow. I also think the beginning of the movie (where she is showing the slides from thesyllabus) is applicable because in order to provide the right kind of information, she had to get toknow her users to get them the best information at the right time. If the students had been library
  4. 4. patrons, she could have used neutral questioning techniques to find out what they knew alreadyand possibly what they would be interested in knowing more about. Second, I can take what I have learned and apply it to my future as a librarian. One issueI know I will have to face is that of censorship. There will come a time in my library careerwhere someone will try and tell me what I can and cannot have in my library. In the movie I sawthis on two occasions. One was when the nurse was fired for providing birth control to a student.The birth control was a form of information she was trying to give to the students. Thatinformation was very powerful and she was censored, or in this case fired, for bestowing thatinformation. They say that knowledge and information are power and the administration of thatcollege was obviously trying to control their population. The other example of censorship waswhen the administration was going to allow Miss Watson to return, but only under certainconditions. They tried to tell her which information she was allowed to present to them and alsothe manner in which it could be done. Like a good information professional, she refused toconform or be censored. I also saw a lot of myself in Miss Watson. She was a liberal woman in the midst of acollege with traditionalist ideals producing conservative women. I am a very liberal extrovertedwoman who at times feels (in the library program) like an outsider. Many of the SLIM studentshave similar open-minded views, but most of them are very introverted. When I walked intoorientation I didn’t make a connection with any of the other students and that was difficult. Thenagain, I cannot judge the other students for having a different personality style than me, just likeMiss Watson could not judge the girls for having different ideals.
  5. 5. October 12, 2009 For my fourth journal I am writing about building a resource collection and will focus onChapter 8 of the Greer text. As a future librarian, one of my main fears is that I will have no idea what I am doing. Ihave some experience working at a reference desk, shelving periodicals, and working withmicroforms, but I honestly know nothing about creating a collection of items from scratch. Thisis particularly frightening because in one year our high school will have a separate building forthe 9th graders, and I am hoping I will be the librarian at the new building. It will be myresponsibility to decide what materials I do and do not want in my library. First, and mostimportantly, I will have to be aware of the needs of the students and teachers that will make upmy clientele. In regards to the needs of my patron, one line that seemed extremely significant is“Understanding the needs of the clientele enables the information professional to know currentneeds and to anticipate future needs” (Greer, Grover, & Fowler 2007). This has immenseimplications because in order to satisfy their needs, I must look ahead and try to predict whatwould be useful to my library. I also agree with the authors’ point of view, especially when dealing with selection. Aninformation professional cannot simply choose a book because he or she thinks there is a needfor it. It must also have appropriate reviews. While doing research for my ethics case study, Ispoke to our current school librarians about choosing novels for our high school students. Oneof them told me they make sure and read all reviews so that if the book is challenged, they canrefer back to the reviews. I also agree that it is important to see what people and organizations
  6. 6. have to say about the material, rather than relying on the publisher who wants you to buy thebook, database, etc. Within this topic, I do think I have had several assumptions. First, my assumption wasthat the majority of my patrons would be students and therefore the function of most of mymaterials would be recreational. So many of our high school students do not like to read, orthink they don’t, and so part of my job is going to be trying to reach these students through booksthey would read for pleasure. I must also consider the fact that students will enter my library notonly for recreational purposes, but also to do research. In order to test these assumptions I willneed to work closely with our current librarians and assess the needs of my patrons when I amworking in my own library to see whether or not these assumptions are accurate. October 25, 2009 For my fifth journal, I am focusing on Andrew Abbott’s Professionalism and the Futureof Librarianship, one of the articles from the seminal reading list. This article is intricately tied to our course content. As new individuals to the libraryprofession, it is up to us to bring with us the new and changing ideas to librarianship. Thisarticle focused on the future of librarians and that future is indeed SLIM students. To me, thismeans I must be adaptable and open to change. One line that stuck out to me was “when newknowledge transforms the nature of its work, other occupations take parts of its work away”(Abbott). This means that my job may very well overlap with other professions and I will haveto learn to work with other professionals and understand where the line is drawn. I did not, however, agree necessarily with the aforementioned quotation, especially inregards to new technologies. I don’t see any occupations taking away what I will do as alibrarian. If anything else, it will be information professionals learning to navigate the newtechnologies and will therefore be the ones taking on more responsibility and possibly the work
  7. 7. of others. For example, if I am a librarian who is specialized in sociology, I may be encroachingupon the work of a sociologist or specialist also in that field. For some librarians, working with others under overlapping conditions may beuncomfortable, especially when, according to Abbot, “The system of professions is thus a worldof pushing and shoving, of contests won and lost… they are all simply expert occupationsfinding work to do and doing it when they can.” I recently read that many librarians choose introverted personality qualities when takingthe Myers-Briggs test. This may become a problem if someone from another profession is takingaway from his or her line of work. The information professional may not feel comfortablespeaking up and eventually be out of a job for lack of responsibility. It is difficult for me topicture many of my classmates “skirmishing” with other professionals. Personally, I score as anextrovert and feel very comfortable working with others and standing up for what I believe. As alibrarian I think I could come across as bossy, so I have tried to be aware and reflect upon myinteractions with my colleagues. I also believe my time as a teacher has taught me how to befirm and stand my ground while at the same time remaining professional. I agree with the author in his point of view that new technologies will not replacelibrarians. He gave the example of the introduction of microfilm, and how many believed peoplewould stop coming to the library because they would all have readers in their homes. I imaginemany have this fear about the Internet and many online databases. I think those professionalsafraid of change will be replaced by professionals who are not afraid; not by the newtechnologies. Information users may have more opportunities and more resources from which tosearch, but they will always have information gaps needing to be filled. Informationprofessionals must follow in the footsteps of the librarians before them: adapt and welcome
  8. 8. change, know your users, and always do your best to provide for the user. If we do this, we willalways be a profession. November 8, 2009 For my last reflective journal, I will be focusing on the Diamond and Dragich article:“Professionalism in Librarianship: Shifting the Focus from Malpractice to Good Practice.” Likemany of my previous journals, I choose this article because it stuck out in my mind. Never in amillion years did I think it possible for an information professional to be held liable or get suedby an information user. My definition of malpractice has always been when a physician ormedical person made a mistake or did something wrong and his or her patient took legal actionagainst them. I agree with the article in that librarians have struggled to be seen as a profession and thatby developing core standards we can be one step closer. However, part of me fails to see howmalpractice and liability relate to these ideals. The article says that no one has ever filed a suitagainst a librarian, and discusses that because librarians simply disseminate information alreadycreated, they cannot be at fault unless they knowingly did not prevent harm of a patron. If I dosome assumption checking, I know that simply because it has never happened before, does notmean it cannot. After reading the article, I think I assumed that the only reason to address themalpractice issue would be to prevent them in the future. Then again, if informationprofessionals are to be seen as genuine specialists in the eyes of the courts, we must address “asystem for discipline of its members for a violation of the code of ethics” (Diamond & Dragich2001). There was one part of the article where my thoughts were conflicted. At first, I disagreedwith the line that stated that librarianship does not have an “enforceable ethical code obligation”
  9. 9. (Diamond & Dragich 2001). My 801 group members and I had just spent a month researchingand creating an ethics case where the ALA code of ethics came into play. I also know of manylibrarians that use the ALA code of ethics as the basis for many situations and for the explanationof why they chose a particular course of action. After taking some time to think about the codeof ethics, I do agree that it is difficult to make them enforceable, but I don’t think it would beimpossible. I think the content in this article will be extremely useful in the future. As the role of theinformation professional is growing and changing, it will become more apparent that we areindeed professionals. On the other hand, there may be increasing lawsuits, especially where theInternet and Internet sources are concerned. If a woman can sue McDonalds for her coffee beinghot, you never know what someone may accuse a disseminator of information.

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