New Librarianship Comments

New Librarianship Course

I have enjoyed this MOOC on New Librarianship. I wanted to learn what was new in librarianship.  I wanted to experience why MOOCs and online classes were seen as the future of education.  I was curious about online learning because one of the paraprofessionals in my library just completed her Bachelor’s in Business completely online through Georgia Southwestern University.

I found the Discussion Board in the course useful and overwhelming at the same time. So much information, so much intellectual chatter sometimes way over my head.

The course itself has been inspiring. I have a new perspective of myself as a Facilitator of conversation and knowledge not just facilitator of learning or facilitator of information. I have a new perspective of myself as a Power broker empowering “members” or participants in my library community to be creators of knowledge and not just consumers/users.  I have a new perspective of myself as Coordinator matching library members with resources which may include community resources, persons with expertise.

I can see where an empty room with only a librarian and a phone is still a library. The  librarian is a Connector and Coordinator not just the guard at a warehouse with books and computers, even though it feels that way sometimes.  The librarian needs the phone to communicate and connect people to other people and resources outside of the otherwise empty room.

Reading Fiction to Create Knowledge and Improve Society

In this article by Lane Wilkinson, the writer wonders about fiction. If the mission of librarians is to improve society by facilitating the creation of knowledge, how does reading fiction create knowledge in the community? Are people reading to create knowledge or are they reading for fun?

  • Fiction as a Catalyst for Knowledge Creation

Some people create new works from reading fiction.  There is a whole genre of fan fiction where the writers base their stories on other original works. Shane Peacock has created a whole set of Young Adult books, the Boy Sherlock Holmes series, based on Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. I remember when Dan Brown wrote the Da Vinci Code, a whole set of books were written piggy backing on the Da Vinci Code, not all the writers of new works were fans of the Da Vinci Code, like this one.  There was a lot of discussion on television andwritings about Mary Magdalene as a result of Dan Brown’s controversial book. Here is sample on this link.

I would say I am creating explicit knowledge when I read fiction and act by documenting –  writing a book review or writing about the books I have read in my blog or even pinning and collating fiction books  I have read on Pinterest.  Am I really creating knowledge when I recommend the books I have read in a conversation with library community members? That sounds like just passing on information but it is creating implicit knowledge or adding to personal knowledge.

  • Knowledge Acquisition/Consumption/Discovery/Creation for Personal Knowledge

According to the Atlas of New Librarianship, constructivism as a theory says knowledge is created inside a person based on interpretation of experiences.  Following that thinking,  reading fiction and non fiction is about creating personal knowledge.

Personally, I think that I read fiction primarily for fun and happily acquire/consume/discover new knowledge  but I am also learning and creating personal knowledge in the process.  I like reading historical fiction because I get so much historical information about a particular period from it and  for me it is far more exciting than reading an actual history book. Reading the Matthew Shardlake series by C.J. Sansom has led me to read other books based on the same historical period such as The Crown and The Chalice by Nancy Bilyeau.

I am a fan of the Louise Penny murder mystery series.  I recall searching for Gregorian chants on the internet and listening to Gregorian chants on YouTube because of her latest book in the series, The Beautiful Mystery.  I was curious. I wanted to distinguish what was real and what was from the writer’s imagination. I was adding to my personal knowledge from multiple sources and learning.

Reading fiction does not always lead me to create knowledge to improve society.  It improves me.  It changes what I knew before. There is an internal dialog, learning, improvement in vocabulary but I do not necessarily read with the intention to apply what I learned  or to improve my community.

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Approaching the library member

I have finally completed my first MOOC.  I am glad I participated and stayed to the end.

This final section had to do with one of Dave’s Soapbox topics, killing the concept of the library user as a consumer of information. This is because the” library user”  modifying (adding apps), manipulating, controlling the system is building a telecommunication environment.  R. David Lankes prefers “members” but also includes other terms: Participant, Creator, Prosumer.

We were introduced to Herb Simon’s concept of satisficing – members being satisfied with “good enough” when searching for information sources. This led to another of Dave’s Soapbox topics, that we should stop using the deficit model,treating the community’s deficits as problems in need of remediation – homelessness, poverty, low literacy- and should approach members by catering to their aspirations and motivating them to take action.  Community members are tired of being treated as inadequate and of being reminded of their limitations.

New Librarians’ Values and Skills

I am repeating this mission statement because I constantly want to be reminded that in this MOOC on New Librarianship, the mission of librarians is to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities.

I watched two video-clips today and intend to do some reading later from the text. One video-clip focused on the part of the mission that says improve society. This was tied into two additional values of librarianship: innovation for positive change and leadership. One of the many key points I absorbed today was that librarians ought to be constantly learning, changing and improving our community.

Also, today I have learned that librarians are radical (read activist, “on the edge”, “hip”), positive change agents. We are in the conversation business, the knowledge business, and the learning business. We facilitate knowledge creation through conversation.  How do we facilitate?  That’s the complex part.  By getting the conversants and the resources together – access, through a curriculum/learning center – knowledge, in a safe, comfortable environment, and through motivation. We are power-brokers empowering communities through all types of literacy.  We are trusted arbiters or mediators and our greatest asset and responsibility is our credibility.  We belong to a noble profession.  We have a point of view and value learning, transparency and intellectual honesty, intellectual freedom and safety. We have an obligation to lead and evangelize our profession.

Interesting that the Instructor used the word evangelize.  This librarian/blogger who studied theology said she wrote a paper titled, “The Ministry of Librarianship”.

The second video-clip was about the 5 skills of new librarians:

1. Public service – outreach to the community

2. Administration

3. Information organization

4. Information seeking

5. Collection Development

There has been a lot of conversation of the discussion boards on power and the fact that the Instructor said librarians  value intellectual honesty but are not unbiased.  Here is an interesting link on intellectual honesty. One sign of intellectual honesty is questioning our own assumptions and biases. Another is demonstrating consistency (no double standards) and commitment to critical thinking.