Final Reflections

The tools and skills that I can bring to my professional position in the future is the importance of being a respectable librarian towards every patron. In addition to learning about the ALA Code of Ethics and Library Bill of Rights, there is an identified set of standards and rules that should be followed by librarians, which should be relayed to the public in order to prevent any misconceptions or errors.

My perceptions and attitudes have changed and developed over the semester after reading, learning, and discussing the issues and concepts presented in the field. The Did You Know video I found interesting as it had information pertaining to the world and how the youth today has had more exposure to electronics than any other generation. Even the job positions that we have today were nonexistent back when I was still in elementary school. Even though some people may think that I am too young to remember the older technology, I definitely remember using it. My father has worked at the Wayne County Purchasing Division in downtown Detroit for the past twenty-two years where they used computers that were small, loud, and clunky on 56K lines up to the modern day computers that most people have today in their households. We have had many computers at home, from Packard Bell running on Windows 95 up to Windows 8.1 on my 17.3 inch laptop. I have seen 3½ floppy disks and have used them. Today, I use flash drives and portable hard drives. Dot matrix printers were incessantly loud and cellphones were only used by the government and expensive businesses during the 90s. The times have definitely changed, including the way libraries function. Every book, periodical, newspaper, and other media has a barcode assigned to them in the library in which scanning has made it easier to check out the item.

My understanding about the role of the information professional has developed significantly. When I used Microsoft Access for a project in my other class, I discovered that although the foundation of setting up the parameters for data took long, it made the task much easier and I was able to complete my work much faster and efficiently as well. The profession (or most professions if not all) involves some level of management and organization. It is also important to update systems and upgrade whenever possible and available to keep patrons coming as well as inviting new patrons to the library. Also, working with others is almost inevitable in every profession. Many professional places promote working in groups to promote the variety of ideas as well as promoting accuracy and collaboration with other people.

Where I plan to go from after this class is focusing more on classes that involves archiving and looking into professions that involves some of my interests, such as art, English, and history. I plan to use the techniques and skills that I have learned from my intro classes and apply them in the workforce. A well-rounded informative professional is better than a professional that just only have information on limited data and limited skills. The more information that one learns, the more valuable the person becomes.

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Revisit Assumptions/Assertions about LIS

In regards to my assumptions, assertions, and beliefs that I held about the Library and Information Science professions during the start of the semester, I feel that I have learned much more than I first knew about the modern library system. I actually thought that the library was solely work based inside the building, which primarily consisted of clerical work. However, after researching and reading from posts that my peers have made about the profession, it has definitely opened my eyes as to what the profession is really about. It seems that even though the library does make a great effort to be incorporated (in a positive light) as a modern day resource for the community to use, many people (including myself at one point before I enrolled for grad school) that librarians were either limited to cataloging and staying in front of checkout desks and observing patrons, however, they do so much more than that. They make sure to be a positive protruding presence in their community in a modern aspect so that people will still use their resources. Even if it means incorporating computers, scanners, e-books, etc. or the like, as long as patrons are interested in these modern materials, the library will still be in effect.

My second assumption is in effect in some libraries. Libraries can work with patrons through various social media websites and even in other avenues (such as programs in their community). The library can be flexible in servicing their community in order to be the most effective in capacity. My third assumption is that even though some libraries may have the materials and the funds to archive subjects of interest, not every community is able to do so. Smaller libraries probably only have books while mega libraries may have every reference of media and technology every created and archived in every subject and for every age. However, funding does play a large role in how a library functions. Without funding, the library may not run to full capacity and may risk being closed.

Librarians have to reach out to their community and more people are becoming librarians. As the library includes other elements, they incorporate people from other fields. Archiving involves history and information technology involves science and math. Academic libraries involves those with MLIS degrees as well. Many times, there are always resources available for those that need it. However, most of the time, the people are not aware of these sources and therefore, miss out on the opportunity. The library helps those that miss these opportunities by providing as many resources as they can in order to service every aspect of their patrons in the community, whether homeless or wealthy.

Overall, I have learned that in the library and information science profession, a librarian has to be social with their patrons and not every patron will be on their best behavior. Working with patrons while at the same time treating people with respect and following the ALA ethics are things that a librarian has to juggle on a daily basis. A librarian in a way has to give their all in order to fully fulfill their position as a librarian towards the public to make sure that patrons return and keep the library running.

Technology Sandbox

Some of the core resources that libraries and information agencies should be using to reach a wider user population would be the Internet, social media, and websites. Facebook and Twitter may be some of the most widely-used platforms that library patrons have, however, one allows users to post limited information while the other one is originally designed for individual users (but can be used to form groups). However a more professional way to reach patrons would be to use Blogger or WordPress. Both are in a blog-style format, although originally used for personal web logs/journals, this is a great way for a library to personalize the collections, data, and other information pertaining to the library. Although there are probably not as many users using blogs in comparison to Facebook and Twitter, it is probably the most formal way of presenting information through another avenue (besides the library’s home page).

In sharing images of events (for example, if the Westland Library were to share information and images of the Wayne County Lightfest or the Jazz Summer Festival), they would be able to do so by sharing past images through Instagram, Flickr, and other image-based sharing services. These avenues would be best for those that would like to view information of local events in their community. The amount of people that use image-sharing services is probably small in comparison to Facebook or even Blogger, which would probably hold more information on the web page in comparison to the photos. Not every patron can afford Internet service much less, a computer, many of the technologies that we use today involves the Internet and a device that can connect to the Internet (usually through Wi-Fi). However, since most libraries provide computers and Internet services for patrons to use, everyone has a chance to use the Internet.

Respond to the following question: If I were given complete freedom, what I would do with what I’ve learned in class so far would be to create groups in the library that are interested in media and the performing arts. With the film industry producing films in the Detroit area, if extras were needed, I would first communicate with the director to provide a list of people in the community that would volunteer to be extras that are interested and are a part of the media group at the library. If the budget allows, I would provide the latest technology for patrons to be able to use on a daily basis. Instead of using a whole slew of social media, I will survey all patrons at the library and have a poll set where the mount of users will be able to choose which social media they would like to communicate through. The top three to five social media choices of its kind through a tiered systems (such as Facebook, Twitter, or MySpace as Tier 1, Twitter, Reddit, or Digg for Tier 2, Blogger, WordPress, or Tumblr for Tier 3, and Instagram, Flickr, or Snapchat for Tier 4). Out of these tiers, one will be the main choice for communicating to other patrons in the library. This way, instead of communicating on a slew of various social media websites, the ones that the patrons would prefer to use will be the ones that are used.

Following a Professional Listserv

While following a professional listserv, I chose to follow the ARTUSA LISTSERV (LISTSERV.ARTSUSA.COM). They sent me an immediate confirmation of joining their listserv, however, I have not received any further communications from them thus far. Their website is http://www.artusa.com. I chose that listserv since I am interested in art in addition to the archives. Since I have not received any further communications from them, I will use the SLIS listserv as a professional listserv that I am following. The SLIS listserv posts information to over four hundred graduate students in the library and information sciences program with information pertaining to scholarships, assistantships, job postings, internships, and things going on in the community.

My advisor, Kim Schroeder even posts information pertaining to the archives field and article postings and websites pertaining to archives. The postings are local events as well as national events. One of the archive events she posted was on October 1st where Jan Durecki, a former SLIS student was presenting information on Nazi art and headstones. Another link she posted that stood out to me was the issue that Harvard could not afford the publisher’s price of journals, despite being one of the most expensive and elite universities in the United States. This took me by surprise because other universities stick to their budgets and do not overspend on journals, which made me wonder if Harvard ever considered budgeting their resources in different areas of the library instead of just the journals. On October 22nd, Schroeder sent additional emails about the Midwest Archives Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and that there were volunteer opportunities available for the event. More opportunities were posted in October where there were opportunities to work as an archivist in the city of Detroit. Audiovisual Heritage is another event that was mentioned pertaining to the archives field, along with a theme. Audiovisual devices were technology that helped bring books and narratives to life in a way where the characters are given an actual auditory voice. This is a great benefit to the extension of a reader, as well as great ways to service those that are deaf and blind as well. The Michigan Oral History Conference took place in Lansing, MI earlier this November in which Michigan archivists gather and develop new ideas on preserving Michigan history and artifacts. This group may also be the ones in charge of the Michigan historic markers (where information about Michigan’s history would be placed in order to tell of its history and importance in the area, and also a great way to inform tourists of Michigan’s history).

Other opportunities that I was able to take advantage of over the semester was attending the OCLC conference back in September where I was in a room full of librarians discussing current ongoing issues in the library profession and ways to come up with possible solutions to these problems. Other conferences I was unable to attend due to limited transportation (as well as conflicting with my work schedule in addition to class schedule). However, over the next years, I will hopefully be able to attend many more conferences. Overall, subscribing to the listserv gave me much more insight in my career field and interests.

Blogging about Professional Blogs

Two of the blogs that I followed were The Travelin’ Librarian and Tame the Web. The creator of The Travelin’ Librarian, Michael Sauers, is the Technology Innovation librarian at the Nebraska Library Commission. The creator of Tame the Web, Dr. Michael Stephens, is an assistant professor for SLIS courses at San Jose State University. Some of the issues discussed in The Travelin’ Librarian are Barnes and Noble preventing PC users from downloading their nook eBooks due to problems with users being able to use the e-books for other applications and potentially giving users the ability to strip away the Nook data and resell the e-books (or torrent them online for other users). This did not affect users that have bought and downloaded Nooks, however, this may strain further relations with people that do not own a Nook and may go to other e-book vendors instead, such as Amazon’s Kindle e-books. Another article is about Fair Use in libraries and why it should be an option. Most items that are copyrighted lasts about 170 years before they can be used by anyone. Without the Fair Use in libraries, many of the materials would not be available for other future patrons to use. A positive issue that was presented was that the University of Iowa was digitizing 10,000 science fiction fanzines. This is great progress towards archiving history, and in addition to this, thirty fans will be able to catalog and digitize the collections as well.

In Tame the Web, there are issues of keeping the status quo, instead of keeping updated in the library system as well as making informed decisions. Librarians and libraries should keep their systems up to date. An example of this can be a library that still uses card cataloging systems. That may be evidence that the library using such an outdated system is still keeping old standards instead of upgrading towards a digital format instead. Another issue is how the library is a service to the community (primarily for those below the age of 18). Even though the library does not have enough services for them (or other patrons as a whole), they are still trying to find different ways to accommodate every single patron. There is also the Hyperlinked Library, which holds library services in person as well as on the Internet. Librarians and the patrons are able to communicate with each other. It is used for management as well as discussing techniques on how to run libraries and creating communities.

Some of my personal observations about issues presented in both blogs is that due to the advances of technology, it can affect users in a positive and negative way as well. Whereas Barnes and Noble are preventing PC users from downloading their e-books onto their computers, libraries are focusing more on the technical aspects of technology and the Internet by providing more of their services online for patrons to interact with them. Fair Use is essentially what the library needs in order to keep books on their shelves. However, with library hours, the time that patrons have to use services in their local library depends on funding as well. If there is not enough, ultimately they suffer in the end. However, a way to combat these issues is best demonstrated with the conversion of science fiction fanzines being catalogued and indexed by thirty fans of science fiction, everyone wins. Fans volunteered to contribute to the library by creating a digital database for the materials while granting fair use access of this data to the library patrons.

Overall, libraries, whether digital or physical, may encounter problems. However, there is always a solution to these problems so that in the end, the patron does not suffer the consequences.

References:

Hoenke, J. (2014 Nov 13). Public Service is a Library Program. Tametheweb.com Retrieved from: http://tametheweb.com/2014/11/13/public-service-is-a-library-program-by-ttw-contributor-justin-hoenke/

Sauers, M. (n.d.). About The Travelin’ Librarian. The Travelin’ Librarian. Retrieved from: http://travelinlibrarian.info/about/

Sauers, M. (2014 Sep 18). Barnes and Noble Suspends the Ability to Download Nook eBooks. The Travelin’ Librarian. Retrieved from: http://travelinlibrarian.info/2014/09/barnes-noble-suspends-ability-download-nook-ebooks/

Sauers, M. (2014 Oct 20). The Good News About Library Fair Use. The Travelin’ Librarian. Retrieved from: http://travelinlibrarian.info/2014/10/good-news-library-fair-use/

Sauers, M. (2014 Oct 29). University of Iowa Libraries to digitize 10,000 Science Fiction fanzines. The Travelin’ Librarian. Retrieved from: http://travelinlibrarian.info/2014/10/univeristy-iowa-libraries-digitize-10000-science-fiction-fanzines/

Stephens, M. (n.d.). About Michael Stephens | Tame The Web. Tametheweb.com Retrieved from: http://tametheweb.com/about-michael-stephens/

Stephens, M. (n.d.). The Hyperlinked Library. Tametheweb.com Retrieved from: http://tametheweb.com/the-hyperlinked-library/

Stephens, M. (2014 Oct 21). Office Hours: Always Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. Tametheweb.com Retrieved from: http://tametheweb.com/2014/10/21/office-hours-always-doesnt-live-here-anymore/

Stephens, M. (2014 Oct 21). Always Doesn’t Live Here Anymore | Office Hours. Libraryjournal.com Retrieved from: http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2014/10/opinion/michael-stephens/always-doesnt-live-here-anymore-office-hours/

The Hollywood Librarian: My Thoughts

After viewing The Hollywood Librarian, my thoughts on the current state and funding of the library system has been shifted. The film was very informative as well as detailed in the experiences and emotions that librarians and patrons went through, as well as discussing problems occurring in the library.

A library consists of a librarian, along with catalogers and other staff members in which they index and classify the information from the books. Librarians are social beings that help service other patrons while at the same time, serving at their place of interest for what they read. The librarian helps shape the environment in which helps make the library successful. It depends on the input that the librarian is willing to serve their community as well as the community itself (through taxpayers) and the government. The library is a symbol of freedom in which librarians and patrons get to express themselves and their interests and other things that they love while being in a safe and welcoming environment. It is a problem-solving business by helping people define their problems and helping them get to the solution.

I am glad that Andrew Carnegie was extremely open about who should use the library. After reading so many books during his childhood and experiencing a love of books, he did not want this to be blocked off from anyone else. He wanted other people to enjoy reading as well. Children were not initially welcomed in public libraries, however, this was changed later on. Children were eventually given a place to stay in the library. This was founded by Carnegie. He later on helped other libraries and founded them as well. John Steinbeck often went to one of Carnegie’s library to read and later on, he wrote his own books. He hated the social structure of his town in Salinas. However, he often wrote political works as well as focusing on the rural and nature setting in his literature. He also exposed the social life in his town through his literature. Salinas later on named a library after him.

Cataloging was also only limited to 10 characters. Eventually, it had to be expanded because books had loner titles and the system was growing (for Computer Scientists). It was the first tool that was the very earliest version of hyperlinking. Most of the Internet (if not all) was founded on the basic ideals and principles in the library system.

The points that Seidl made that were most provoking to me was how the government only spends $250 million for about a year in libraries statewide, yet they spend that much in the Iraq war each day, which I consider a waste! I find it interesting that the government would rather support to destroy other countries instead of helping support the youth back home in literacy.

Another thing that was thought-provoking was that any librarian will have to work with children, one way or another. Either way, librarians help raise children as well, if not more than teachers. Librarians often make such a lasting impact on children because when they are grown, many can recall the time when they first interacted with a librarian and how they remember the first book that they checked out. A child’s memory of the library is usually a long-lasting favorable experience because they spent time with a librarian that understood their needs and attending to them in a respectful manner.

I also enjoyed the clip where there was a former illiterate and homeless man speaking English as clearly and well as he did and how the library helped him from being homeless to wearing a suit and becoming a literate man at the age of 40. In another case, a different man could only pronounce single words. However, after a librarian taught the man to pronounce paired consonants, he helped him to form words and pronounce them correctly. The library can be perceived as various positions such as a business. Many people still see the library as a place to shelve books and shush people when it is a service that reaches out to the community.

What I see as the most important role an LIS professional plays in society is that they get to interact with their patrons and learn something from them. Even though (depending on the position) it may not pay well, the experience enough is rewarding for librarians in general. The librarians in the film even helped illiterate inmates in the prison system to be able to learn how to read and speak English properly. It is also important to have various books in different languages in order to help give those with English as a second language material that they are able to understand in their own native language for reading.

Seidl, A. (Director and Producer). (2007). Overdue Productions: The Hollywood Librarian: A Look at Librarians Through Film [Motion picture]. Retrieved from: http://wayne.kanopystreaming.com/node/41609