Learning is an ugly thing.

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Mummy‘ by Will Scullin licensed under CC BY 2.0.

BOO. That is the only mention of ‘wrapping up’ that you will see in this post.

What can I say, I like to buck trends.

Anyway, here’s four things that I’ve collected after my completion of Information Programs:

1. I contributed to the learning community!…somehow.

My week 2 reflection didn’t quite hit the mark for the requirements of the assessment. I rambled somewhat about ‘being myself’. And what I mean at by that is “I’m probably going to kick a few hornets’ nests.”

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But people apparently found me funny, which is what I was hoping for. I’m here til Thursday, try the veal.

Sure enough, according to the output from the CLA, I did certainly do a lot of triggering, as I suspected I would. I was surprised that 36% of my activity was coded as resolving, and a little relieved to be honest. What I’m intrigued by is the ‘Other’. I wish we had a bit more access, so I could see which of my posts ended up getting lumped in that category. Maybe I could teach the machine a thing or two.

However, I was not as much of a nest kicker as I thought I was. there were certainly some in the unit who wanted to be ‘thought provokers‘, and indeed were successful. But perhaps it’s because of my left leaning feminist roots, but devil’s advocates often have the potential to make me feel uncomfortable. There are some issues that absolutely don’t need a devil’s advocate on. This wasn’t w

2. I’m getting better with Twitter

At the start of this semester, I lamented that 140 characters is just not enough time to get a thought on a page. Well it turns out that minus the hash tags every week, we actually only had about 125 words. Yeep.

I tried to avoid Tweets that needed to take place over 2, even 3 posts. I had a feeling that people were less likely to read the following posts. And I did get better at becoming succinct. I had to pull out every acronym and abbreviation I could think of, but I got there in the end.

Kate and Clare were pretty clever in getting us to use Twitter. It’s been a hard and fast way of learning the ability to be diplomatic with opposing viewpoints. You know, like conversations at adult dinner parties. There’s only so much you can get away with when verbally sparring with other guests.

The more I use Twitter, the more I seem to enjoy it. The practice is doing me some good. I’ve done a pretty good job of keeping politics out of my Twitter postings. I get a bit rabid when not controlled. Overall, I’ve definitely solidified a professional presence on Twitter.

3. I need to be a lifelong learner, if I expect my patrons to be as well.

Wait, who said patrons need to be lifelong learners?

Well, that’s what Kate and Clare have been saying. Haven’t they? We’ve talked about programs for children, teens, researchers, seniors, the masses, and everyone in between. But why do we offer so many services to so many patrons? I think it goes beyond the surface issue of ‘libraries are for everyone’. It even goes beyond the survival of libraries I think. Whether patrons need libraries specifically is probably up for debate. But there is no question that libraries need patrons.

We don’t just want to touch our community members at one point in their lives and let them leave us forever. Libraries are for life. We can provide services for you, whenever you need them. That’s what my take away from this unit is. Sure, there will definitely be patrons that spent their childhood nestled in beanbags reading our books, who perhaps haven’t set foot in a library in decades. There are undergrad students who maybe never used their school library, but find themselves needing a place to help write that 2nd year health paper due next week. But I think that as librarians, our hope is that if we touch a patron’s life once, they will remember it for the rest of their life. And act accordingly.

If this is truly what we want, to be at the forefront of a society full of lifelong learners, then surely we must lead by example. The Week 7 Info Literacy chat asked us to what extent library staff should be expected to know how to use technology. In the Week 11 Research chat, we were asked if subject specialisation was important in librarians offering effective research support. Time and again we were asked, how much are librarians expected to keep learning? And how often?

I think we frequently, as a cohort, came back with an answer of “Meeeeh it depends”. Yes learning is good, yes there’s nothing wrong with expanding your skill set, but GOOD GRIEF don’t expect us to be walking talking Google machines.

But I’m taking a stand. I’m calling it now. It’s not enough to be osmotic sponges in our safe little library offices. Jump in the Twitter chat. Read the non-fic book from a call number you’ve never visited. Go to the conference. Try on those wings, Icarus, what’s the worst that could happen?

You don’t have to be excellent at everything. You don’t have to know everything inside and out. But I think we as librarians should at least dip our toes in the waters of knowledge. Maybe the process isn’t so ugly after all.

4. Illness triumphs over all.

black dog with its head in a toilet
sick‘ by Joan Valencia is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

That’s right I’m sick again. Earlier in the semester it was a bout of depression (literally the black dog), and now it’s a disgusting respiratory infection that has haunted me for a week. As a result, there have been times where I’ve felt that my level of participation in the learning community has been subpar. I have tried to chip away at commenting on other people’s blogs. But it always just seemed to be that life and other disasters were getting in the way.

But you know what, I do have very high standards. Very, very high standards. I’ve been beating myself up pretty heartily over whether I could have had a 7 instead of a high 6. Some people would probably think I’m pretty crazy. Maybe I am. And I did certainly contribute. Boosting people’s blogs through my rampant Twitter use seemed to catch on pretty well by mid-semester. And it worked for me. I think I read more blogs when they were spruiked through the Twittersphere.

I also found that I was more productive when I was not only physically well, but mentally well. Shocking, I know. Scoring a digitisation contract went a long way to pulling myself out of the slump. Then when I received my research assistant contract a few weeks later, I really hit the ground running. I had to. I had so much to do.

Then I fell again. So hard. Ate dirt, that’s how hard I hit the ground. I forced myself to stop and contemplate where I was, and what I needed to do. In the end, I did what I could with what I had. Maybe my take away from this unit should be “It’s not the end of the world to stop and take care of yourself”.

So long, farewell, adieu

This unit marks the end of my coursework! Going into next year, I only have the research project/s and my professional practice assessment to complete. It means that I won’t be seeing a lot of you face to face anymore, unless we run into each other at functions and such. I definitely hope I get the opportunity, mixing it up with a lot of you 2016 young ‘uns has been fun. But until then, this is indeed…

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Fresh Prince graffiti, Shoreditch‘ by duncan c is licenced under CC BY-NC 2.0.

…a ‘rap. I COULDN’T HELP MYSELF.

7 Comments

  1. Chloe Delaney

    Hi Bec,

    I’ve really enjoyed all of your contributions this year! Yes, I still find you funny.. you have great, individual ideas and the way that you write things and talk about things in class makes it fun.
    I know what you mean with high standards- this semester I’ve been working two jobs and doing four full time subjects and expected sevens from myself. You do have to take that step back and have that ‘you know what?’ conversation with yourself. You can only do your best.
    Hopefully see you at a few more conferences next year!

    Reply
  2. Nura Firdawsi

    Hi Bec, nicely written post. Your writing is funny, engaging, and emotive and reading some of your posts this semester has been quite enjoyable and informative. I liked your statement that “Libraries are for life” and think it’s a good thing to remember when looking at the diverse users and programs of the library. Best of luck with your projects next year!

    Reply
  3. Chloe Pickard

    Hi Rebecca,

    I’ve really enjoyed interacting with you in chats and on your blog. I hope to see you around on Twit space still. I feel you always brought a lot of energy and enthusiasm to conversations, and I am glad you are taking better care of yourself!

    Reply
  4. Kylie Burgess

    All the best with your projects, Bec! I’m sure you’ll do amazing! Thank you for bringing your humour to the unit, I’m sure I’m not the only one who appreciated the levity.

    I also wanted to tip my hat at you for your frequent tweets featuring other people’s blogs. I think that was a really lovely thing to do, and a nice way of empowering other members of the IFN614 learning community. Sometimes a little acknowledgement at the right time is enough to keep people moving forward with their learning, I think it was pretty special of you to provide that!

    You’re a very, very good egg 😀

    Hope to see you ’round!

    Reply

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