Wrap – up Reflection – ‘Awesome free stuff – ask your library!’

Community of learning

I saw my role in the community this semester as a student, with a learning blog, expressing my interest in discrete aspects of the learning program. I wasn’t keen to critically analyse others’ comments, although I was happy for others to challenge my views, and to respond appropriately to those comments.

My nature is to be collaborative rather than radical and I tended to comment positively and supportively on peers’ posts. To be honest, I did not feel particularly opposed to any of the posts that I read. I sometimes added my opinion or shared a personal or professional experience or link on the posts as evidence-based understanding of the topic.

I noticed that there was a greater activity on posts at the assignment 1 checkpoint and again after the lecture in relation to CLA Toolkit.   The CLA toolkit connection did not happen for me as I understood from discussions during the Week 2 class that it was optional rather than optimal and have not resolved the login difficulty, and did not have a validated sign in until Week 13. On that note, I felt unable to fix the problem. This impacted negatively on my attitude toward engaging with the learning community.

Despite my lack of interaction using CLA Toolkit (which incidentally I was really interested in seeing how it worked once explained to me in the second session), I feel that my contributions would not have been differently positioned, but may have been greater in number and frequency.

The quality of information from my peers was amazing, presenting a plethora of perspectives on a broad spectrum of topics, especially in relation to GLAM, makerspaces and children’s programs.

Twitter and me

Twitter was a wonderful learning experience for me as I was not confident to use Twitter regularly at the start of the semester but feel much more confident about it now. I really enjoyed the challenge of Twitter Chats in organising the information before the chat and setting up with a twitter tool to enhance the experience.

I think that Twitter is a valuable social media tool for quick short shallow conversations with the advantage of linking out to more in-depth information, but I did not like it as a stand-alone learning tool. I found it too short, too sharp, too shallow to properly discuss the topics.

If Twitter chats were run in conjunction with a regular online class, I think I would have gained more from the chats. I really appreciated the links out to relevant information from Clare and other students, and the snapshot of interaction with other library professionals.

As a result of the Twitter Chat component of the course, I have been using Twitter more as a connection with library professionals and my peers. I like it because it is concise, succinct, and can be a very clever conversation tool.  Having experienced Twitter Chat as part of this unit, I am more likely to join industry specific twitter chats as part of ongoing learning.

I recently re-tweeted a twitter comment from a scientist who remarked that Twitter = workmates playground and Facebook = family and friends playground, because it aptly describes my use of twitter too (although I do sometimes use it for personal communications)

My take-away – ‘Awesome free stuff? – Ask your library’

My key take-away for the unit is that we should all be wearing badges that say ‘Awesome free stuff? – ask your library!’ because the diversity of programs available through libraries – public, private, institutional and academic – is awesome.

The Readers’ Advisory programs, Book Chat and the family oriented literacy programs like First 5 Forever and CoderDojo really struck a chord with me as great community connectors.

I like the training and education programs offered for all ages, from children and teens with coding classes, to career resume builders, and tech-savvy for seniors and others. Libraries are a hub for life long learning – this I think ties with my key take-away, that libraries offer awesome free stuff!

I enjoyed exploring the movement toward Makerspaces and amalgamation of GLAM organisations under the library banner, with the aim of presenting digital and physical resources to the public. Creativity and innovation are key to learning and discovery.

Personally, I realized that not all teaching styles align with all learning styles and that this unit challenged my ability to understand the course framework – what was required, and where to find the information. I felt really disconnected. I did not have a clear understanding of what it was that was required.

I know that I missed the lack of interaction through classes, and the opportunity to hear guest presenters share their knowledge and industry experience in relation to topics covered.

I focussed on extra-curricular learning, observing library programs, products and services while completing fieldwork placements, attending and participating in 23 Research Data Things, and attending other professional development events.

The quality of my work

I acknowledge that this unit has not been my finest work. I am not confident that I have understood the requirements and the parameters of the course.   I regret the misunderstanding about CLA Toolkit and the lack of interaction with that tool.

Blogging and commenting have not been my strong points. I was very concerned at the first check point, after receiving negative feedback. I sought help with these issues and feel that I have now better responded to the assessment criteria.  Blogging weekly is a call to action and meeting that obligation is compulsory practice which built my skills and my confidence.

In relation to the grant application assessment, I enjoyed the challenge and appreciate that these applications are an essential skill to support library programs. I feel that my choice of program (Get2thGames Hackathon) was difficult due to my inexperience in that field, and additionally, writing the project concurrently with weekly blogs was quite a workload.  Notwithstanding this, I enjoyed the learning curve.

Community of Inquiry

if you give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day; if you teach him how to fish, he’ll eat for a lifetime

This is so within  a community of learning, for if we simply read and absorb the information presented by another, then that answers just that one query at that one time; but if we read the answer, then de-construct and analyse that information, investigate it further and add another facet then the answer creates a broader perspective and deeper understanding.

The concept of community of inquiry opens discussion, inviting analysis and investigation to improve understanding and increase knowledge.  Creating a culture of critical analysis offers opportunity to experiment and to think laterally to really make a difference.

We’re continually exposed to these opportunities through informal forums like think tanks and brain storming, and formal processes like investigation and research and analysis.   When I am in a Community of Inquity, I tend to try to fly under the radar, only venturing a strong opinion when I’m sure of supporting evidence.

This aligns with my ‘ideal’ personal profile of contributing to the online discussion with factual information that is in context with the discussion.  This doesn’t always work of course, but it is my ‘ideal’ profile.  I like to think that I am responsible and responsive to queries and genuinely seek information to share either online or offline.  I am respectful and courteous, non-discriminatory and compassionate with a commitment to practically and proactively supporting those within the community.

Having completed my first week of fieldwork placement at Helensvale Library this week my perspective of the services provided by public libraries was informed by the diverse programs and products run by the library.  The team of librarians, library technicians, library assistants, IT specialists and community organisations work together at Helensvale to provide the public with the information and services they need.  Community programs provided young families with an introduction to rhyme and literature through regular morning meetings with singing, dancing and a bubble machine.  School-age children were invited to undertake STEM experiments working individually and in teams to discover simple scientific and engineering concepts through craft-type play activities.  Older children were encouraged to experiment with Minecraft, Scratch and Digiworks programs run by librarians and other tech-savvy team members.  Adolescent and adult patrons were offered assistance in access to the internet, use of computers, operation of the printer/copier/scanner and basic access to resources including DVDs, music scores, CDs, audio books, books and magazines.

The library team was cohesive and collaborative in its delivery of information and literacy services, respecting the diverse levels of ability of its patrons and taking care to understand their needs and respond to their queries.  This kind of collaborative culture has been developed through an environment where experimentation and exploration is encouraged throughout the team.  It has evolved from observation and survey of users to asssess their needs and to meet their expecations.

Technology has changed the nature of library ‘business’.  Self check-out and check-in is accepted by an estimated 96% of the branch patrons, with patrons encouraged to manage their individual accounts online using their library membership card to access the catalogue, information about loans, holds and upcoming events at the library.

Access to computers, printing, copying and scanning services, together with free wi-fi access has brought a different vibe to the library with many arriving at the library at 9am with their laptops, phones and briefcases as if the library is their office.  Visitors to the area use library services to access free wifi to check emails.  New residents join the library so that they can use the products and services and become involved in programs of learning.   It’s a vibrant community of people who work together to engage in self-education, self-improvement, recreational learning and reading and discovery of new and not so new technology.

This sharing of knowledge and information and making available the tools and facilities needed to support self-education supports many within the community who may not otherwise have access to formal learning.  It also provides an open forum for sharing of knowledge, information and skills.   While Helensvale library does not currently have a formal Makerspace, programs and events provide activities that fit within the regulatory frameworks of health and safety.

As Liz McGettigan stated we need to ensure that the 21st Century library will continue to engage with community in the format and with the content that the users desire.