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.


Daveheart: The Soapbox

@Librarian_Kate tweeted this under the #newlib hashtag: “Also, we need to start a PREACH IT FATHER DAVID hashtag for the stuff in this course we really like.

R. David Lankes tweeted a response : “I once had a class create a twitter back channel using Daveheart after my habit of getting on a soap box.”

For me, this is R. David Lankes’ soapbox:

  1. Librarians should articulate a new worldview of librarianship that goes beyond tools (otherwise called artifacts, products of learning, also known as books, ebooks, DVDs and so on) and founded on theories such as conversation theory, motivation theory, sensemaking and postmodernism.
  2. In the knowledge model, a foundation of librarianship, there are conversants, language, agreements and memory ( a means to capture, preserve and retrieve community agreements).
  3. Library users/patrons should be called members of our community. Members of the community should not be seen as problems but as people in need of power to  improve their lives.
  4. No matter what community librarians lead and/or serve, the mission of librarians is to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities.
  5. To be a librarian is powerful. An empty room with a librarian is still a library.
  6. Librarians are power brokers, advocates of libraries, radical change agents, activists, leaders, trusted mediators, motivators, innovators, facilitators of conversation and therefore facilitators of knowledge and learning.
  7. Librarians must go to the conversation – go to the places in the community where members frequent such as Facebook,  their workplaces, schools, places of worship.
  8. Reading is a conversation that one has with oneself.
  9. Access is a core librarian value and a means of facilitating knowledge. Access means more than equity of access and access to artifacts; it is about connecting members of the community to experts in the community and being a part of the conversation. The Librarian is an information source in the conversation and the community is part of the library collection.
  10. Librarians provide knowledge services and training ( information literacy curriculum in school libraries).
  11. Librarians provide safe comfortable physical and virtual library environments as means of facilitating knowledge.
  12. There is no scarcity of information any longer, there is scarcity of attention.

This one does not fall under Dave’s soapbox but I found it a valuable tip:

“Take a good idea and apply it everywhere you can”.  I think this tip is a #PreachItFatherDavid moment. The Example given was the Big 6 Information Literacy Skills created by Mike Eisenberg and Bob Berkowitz.  They now have The Super 3 and Little 12  and applied it by creating bookmarks, cards, videos and workshops.

Grand Challenge

At last, I have completed week 3 and I have come to the grand challenge of librarianship/ the large-scale goal/rallying call to other fields. The grand challenge is coordinating the knowledge infrastructure (technology, people, sources of information/knowledge, permissions – intellectual property) to unlock the potential and passions of society.  I have not absorbed this grand challenge. I thought the grand challenge for librarianship was the pressure for change.  The community is changing and the library has to prioritize resources to meet the challenges of change in the community.

I get the library as a platform for innovation, that the librarian does not have to master everything, that the librarian can be a facilitator bringing expertise together and making resources available to the community.

Here is something interesting.  This blogger focused on the political implications of new librarianship as presented in the course and asked, Does librarianship have a left-wing bias?  Advocating access to all and resisting censorship sound very left wing to me. But somehow I think in the library as cradle of democracy section, the course is focusing on getting us to answer this question and it is not connected to left wing politics, What difference has the library made in the governance of the community in which we serve – academic, business etc.?


New Librarianship: Virtues, Values, Competencies

I completed the lessons for week 2 and started week 3 today. My head is spinning with information. In the meantime I came across this blog, Infoliterati,  that made reference to intellectual virtues. The first part of the Salzburg Curriculum, the framing, consisted of the mission, applicability, and values.  The values found in every aspect of the curriculum are  openness and transparency, self reflection, collaboration, service, empathy and respect, continuous learning/striving for learning, and creativity and imagination.

However, this blog referred to an article that suggested that when librarians teach information literacy they should teach “intellectual virtues” as well as cognitive skills. Librarians should foster dispositions in users/members so that they will value critical inquiry and use information ethically. Examples of intellectual virtues given in the article were sensitivity to detail, intellectual humility, being open minded, adaptability, intellectual fairness, social justice. Values, virtues are they the same thing?

Yesterday I viewed a clip about topical areas or professional competencies in the Curriculum: 1. Transformative Social Engagement: Activism, Social Responsibility and so on.  Today, I continued with the other 5 competencies:  2. Technology – creating and maintaining a virtual presence,3. Management for participation – the core administrative skills, how to get funding, how to stay relevant, Advocacy for the institution – telling the good that we do, Economics how to budget and keep track of costs, Ethics and Values – what it means to manage an effective library, where we want barriers and where we want to tear down barriers, Collaboration within interdisciplinary teams and within domains – with other librarians, 4. Asset Management – more than the tools on a shelf, preserving, collecting, organizing to provide access, dissemination (marketing ),5. Cultural skills – communication, understanding how the community speaks, their limitations and opportunities because of their culture, 6. Knowledge/Learning/Innovation

Week 3 on New Librarianship has started

Unfortunately, I am behind this week. I have completed my tests but have not completed  listening to all the video clips on the Salzburg Curriculum which is answering the general question, How do we prepare professionals to work in libraries and museums? With reference to libraries, the Curriculum is specifically answering , What should librarians and library workers know? I am learning that there are 2 parts to the Curriculum. Part 1 is Framing: Mission, Applicability, and Values.

Mission: The mission of librarians and museum professionals is to foster conversation that improve society through knowledge exchange and social action. 

Applicability: the scope of the Curriculum formal and continuing education

Values: skills are implemented through core values that we bring to our work: Openness and Transparency, Self Reflection, Collaboration with communities, Service, Empathy and respect, Continuous learning/striving for excellence, Creativity and Innovation.

Here are those words again: Service. Learning. Innovation.

Part 2 is Topical Areas and there six with many subheadings : 

  1. Transformative Social Engagement – actively trying to make the environment better according to community aspirations.
  • Activism – identifying topics that can bring the community together and getting community to act.
  • Social responsibility – librarian being socially responsible and getting community to be more socially responsible.
  • Critical social analysis – understanding the community’s needs, problems and aspirations.
  • Public programming – offering services to the public.
  • Advocacy – promote and supporting a cause.
  • Sustainability of societal mission – supporting and allocating funds and personnel.
  • Conflict Management – the librarian as facilitator and moderator.
  • Understanding community needs.

The new librarian brings core values of service, learning, innovation and so on in the role of  community organizer, activist, advocate, moderator, budget manager, collaborator and event planner

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.