Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Writing a Personal Mission Statement

I have been working on writing a personal mission statement for quite some time now. I was inspired by the book, "Rethinking Information Work: A Career Guide for Librarians and Other Information Professionals" by G. Kim Dority. Kim does give some suggestions on how to do this, but it was not quite clear to me how to go about it.  I needed a place to start and I found one here at the FranklinCovey Mission Statement Builder.  I wasn't sure this would meet my needs at this point, or help me to accomplish what it is that Ms. Dority meant for me to do, but it is what I needed to get started--a reference point, a place to "jump off".

Kim's book has been great, and I'm going to use this tool so that she can better help me to meet my career goals.  I'll be revisiting the Mission Statement points in the first chapter to make sure that I'm moving along the path that I need to be right now, make adjustments and continue on from there.  I am grateful to both resources for helping me to figure out what I want and what I need as far as career goals at this time.  I can't wait to see what more I can accomplish through this duo of motivation.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Mission of the 21st Century Library

The 21st Century Library provides:
An environment where learning occurs
A forum in which to form intellectual communities
A place for study and creativity
A collaborative center for learning
State of the art technology for patrons to help them narrow the gap of the digital divide
Research instruction and quality curriculum supporting information sources in the most appropriate formats.
Space, equipment and support for project development of all types.
In broad terms, this is a more specific answer to the post I made about the role of the library a few days ago. This is in regard to academic libraries, but I think these same goals would be appreciated in a public library as well.  I took inspiration from Snow College's Mission Statement.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

What is the Role of the Library in the 21st Century?

This is a question that is asked on a number of library networking sites, and is one that I think will continue to be asked throughout the 21st Century.  The role of a public library will change, but I think it will stay centered on entertainment, and information retrieval and dispersal.  Obviously, in the 21st Century there is a greater emphasis on technology and libraries need to keep up with current and emerging technologies in order to provide the best service to their patrons.  Multiple points of access to information are key elements of library service in this new century.  As a trend, there is (and will be) less person- to-person contact, but patrons need more help in accessing “good and reliable” information.  Our role is to teach patrons how to access better quality resources than they would normally engage with on their own.  We can also identify resources that are off-site.  As librarians we must learn to provide resources when they are needed physically, or as web-based materials.  We also need to work to provide updated, relevant information.  In the 21st century, libraries are also becoming more community-focused.  They provide activities, information instruction, educational support and popular resources.  They are still research centers and they continue to serve those who cannot provide technologies or information for themselves.  As in earlier centuries, libraries continue to be providers of public access to information for their communities.

Monday, February 6, 2012

What Makes Libraries Unique?

Anyone who has applied for positions at libraries will eventually get "supplemental" questions as part of the application.  This is one that I answered today:  What makes libraries unique?

My answer:

Libraries are unique because they are collaborative centers for learning and creativity, whether a patron is working alone or not.  If the patron is “alone” s/he is at least working with the author of the text or game, or other resource.  Libraries are the public square for ideas, innovation and worthwhile entertainment.  They are a commons area of information and enlightened knowledge-gathering.  Libraries are the repositories for our national and societal culture—along with other institutions like archives and museums.  Not only do libraries hold and protect all information (and potential knowledge), but they offer their resources as a public service.  A library, especially a public library, is a “poor man’s university” and a fountain of intellectual wealth.  Nowhere else on earth can one have access to as much quality information/knowledge/culture or entertainment as in a library.  That is what makes them unique.

What do you think?  Post a comment and share your ideas!

Book Review: Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

Honestly, this book took me a long time to read. I read about half of it and then I put it down for quite a long while. When I picked it up again, however I did not want to put it down. I do not know precisely what put me off about it; I'm a medieval history major, so I love the time period. The descriptions of the building processes are exquisite and the connections and relationships that Follett builds between the characters he creates are fascinating, intriguing and profound. I think I had to get used to Follett's narrative style. It is very straightforward and without embellishment. Sometimes, I felt like his characters were almost simple, because their thoughts were so uncomplicated. Even for the smart or cunning characters. I am used to nineteenth-century social novels, so this was a change for me, but also think it had something to do with who Follett's intended audience may have been. His style is probably much more geared toward men than women. I could be completely wrong about that, but his style just seemed completely stripped, stark and gritty. Social novels can be that way too, but there is usually the hint of an element of beauty, too. Not so here.

Despite my initial struggles, I recommend this book whole-heartedly. Just give yourself some time to get acquainted with the style and the medieval world Follett created before you give up on it.
  It was well worth the read, and I was completely engrossed in it by the time it ended with Henry II being whipped by the clergy on the Canterbury Cathedral steps.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Applying Social Epistemology to

This is a blog that I and two of my classmates set up as part of our project for our IRLS617 class (also known as Social Epistemology--If you want to know what that is, you'll have to read the blog postings).  You can find "Applying Social Epistemology to" here.

I am not receiving, nor have I received, any money from Digg for publishing this blog.  The purpose of this was merely for evaluation purposes in pursuit of my MLIS degree, and not for advertisement.  I post it here thinking someone may be interested in social epistemology and/or social networking and for entertainment purposes.


I have always wondered if volunteering can actually help one to get a job. I love doing good and making a difference, and I've volunteered at food shelters and things like that, but have been reluctant to do it in the professional world.  One reason is that I think I should be spending my time finding an actual position.  Another is that I'm naturally introverted and I have to psych myself up before I can just go offer my services and throw myself into something (maybe head first?).  I think this attitude has hurt me.  Especially in my current jobhunt. Most of the positions I've applied for, I am qualified for--technically.  But, there always seems to be many more people who have more experience than I do. 

Nothing is more depressing than almost getting the job, and then--NOPE.  Nearly ready to give up, I posted the following to LinkedIn: 

"I'm trying to find a library position but I seem to be lacking in experience. Does anyone have any ideas about how to overcome this?

I started my professional library career in April 2009, but was let go from my first professional position as the campus librarian for a small, private university in September 2011. The campus had only about 350 students and I was THE librarian. I've applied for a number of positions across the library spectrum and I've gotten interviews, but I seem to never get the job because other librarians have more experience. How can I work to fill in this experience gap? I also have experience teaching, as a bookseller, and working in libraries as nonprofessional staff."

I've only gotten a few responses so far, but most of them seem to be pointing to volunteering.

I live in a very small town at the moment, but as I began thinking more about it, there are options related to information/library work.  I've already started tutoring for the local elementary's reading program, and there is also a museum and a Bookmobile library nearby.  In addition to that, there are online options that had not even crossed my mind, like Goodreads and ipl2.

See?!  I should have trusted my instincts and let my natural tendency to "do good" lead me to get the experience I need for the more practical aspects of my life.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

In The Beginning

Welcome to BiblioBrainStorm. I began this blog as an exercise in finding employment in Information Work. I need to be inspired to find and achieve my bliss, and I’m hoping this blog will help me on this journey. I sense though, that the posts here will cover a number of loosely related topics—everything from book reviews, to bookstores, to “Thoughts of the Day” and to anything book- or information-related. I love books, I love information, I am curious about information technology, and I love bringing people together to share ideas and to inspire one another to do better, be better and achieve more. So, here it is—for what it’s worth. May this blog bring you as much joy as I hope it will bring me.