It’s hard to believe that it’s been two months since I’ve blogged on this site. Where did I go? I’ve been spending a little time blogging about teaching about Asia, but really the rest of the time has been taken up by teaching and also getting into a School Media Specialist program at Syracuse University. There are still little steps to take (immunization records, transcripts, etc!) but for now most of the post-acceptance work is done.
I will start actual classes in July, but I feel like I’ve already started to get the benefits of the program. The library program shared a short article and video from one of their professors, R. David Lankes. In “The Community is Your Collection” Lankes weaves the story of his cancer with changing the notion of librarianship. Rather than being the guardian of a “collection”, being a librarian actually involves gathering the hopes, goals, dreams and fears of your patrons and working from their to build, assist, and grow. This lecture made even more excited to be going to the iSchool in Syracuse to learn how to be a School Media Specialist. (Thanks to a PLUS NY grant funded by Institute of Museum and Library Services!)
Lankes begins by describing the night he that learned about his diagnosis and very quickly moves to explain how his experience differed with the experience of children and their families who learn about their prognoses at the very same hospital. At that particular hospital, in addition to doctors and other support staff, a librarian comes to the meeting. This librarian listens to the doctors, the families and listens for keywords and the concerns of every one involved. Then she provides resources–links, sites and articles for the adults–appropriate age level picture books for the children. Lankes very powerfully shows that being a librarian is about listening to people, and the community, and to help them face their fears, their dreams, and to take on life in its myriad forms.
I highly suggest watching the video even if you aren’t big into libraries. What I would like to add is that you also need to be your own librarian. You need to query your own passions, interests, lingering questions, problems, and challenges and get excited building your own set of resources–music, videos, websites, personal trainings, etc. Follow your love and passion and in your own way you can better serve others. You are the collection!
Bill Larsen-Ruffin said:
Congratulations! I stumbled across your blog while looking for book reviews. I like your view of librarianship. Mine is that my job is to help the library users create the kinds of lives they want to live for themselves. It is not my job to tell any one of them what kind of life that might be; instead it is to encourage them and to let them know what resources we have to help them create a wonderful life. There are even resources to help them discover what life options might be most appealing/suitable to them.
Awesome! I've just started my coursework on line and will be in residency in two weeks. Excited to get started. It sounds like you are a great librarian!
"What I would like to add is that you also need to be your own librarian. You need to query your own passions, interests, lingering questions, problems, and challenges and get excited building your own set of resources–music, videos, websites, personal trainings, etc. Follow your love and passion and in your own way you can better serve others. You are the collection!'
I really don't now what to say that would do this post (and the last few sentences in particular) much justice other than simply, well said! This should be a quote that is repeated often. Great, great post.