http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bestpractice/bill-barnett/8660008 – it has certainly got me wondering.
Asked David Lankes what he thought of potential relevance & he has responded, This is brilliant and I agree right in track. Building knowledge and narratives in a community certainly seems like sense making.
So, perhaps has milieu links in application of personal pedagogy to librarianship????
The Unquiet Librarian is moving on to a new blog & in her announcement post she said something really nice – sometimes we must be brave and courageous to venture into places we might not go in order to make those turns and moves that “will clear our vision” of what once was and to begin to be what can be.
The best leaders understand that it is not their job to know. Instead it is their job to create the systems that discover – William Barnett 8th July 2017 on RN’s Best Practice
I found myself responding to an ACRL Blog post again today. It’s so inspiring to see librarians responding in non-traditional ways when they discuss the things that they consider important to professional practice. I need to go back through this blog & explore the various expressions/descriptions of professional practice & identity – there are valuable insights there for me. I’m going to use this post to collate the posts so I can really reflect on what they mean to me:
- Veronica Arellano Douglas, Growth in connection, 6 October 2017
- Kevin Seeber, Cite Zoe Fisher, 11 August 2017
- Angela Rathmel, Relationship priorities from the forest to the library, 11 August 2017
- Sarah Crissinger, Finding and valuing my own voice, 12 August 2016
- Mark Lenker, Information in the Indignation Age, 18 July 2017
- Veronica Arellano Douglas, You are what is killing librarianship, 12 June 2017
- Courtney Block, Holistic advocacy, or the case for the annoyingly optimistic- librarian, 29 May 2017
- Quetzalli Barrientos, The importance of community, 27 May 2017
- Angela Rathmel, “Just why?”: Coming to terms with ambiguity, resilience and acceptance, 6 May 2017
Last week an Australian national treasure, Mark Colvin, died. Some of his colleagues at the ABC told brief stories about Mark, as a person & as a workmate. Now, my work as a librarian can in no way even begin to approach the quality & value of Mark’s work, but a comment about his approach resonated with what I hope has been my approach to reference & liaison librarianship. The comment about Mark was “That’s what Mark did for so many of the guests who came on PM — made them feel held and secure in a way that allowed them to focus, and access the best parts of themselves.”
I think that librarians who see their work being about people & their knowledge creation & knowledge sharing do something very similar. The practice of librarianship from this perspective is a humanist endeavour. Our clients come to us in various states of confidence to seek help – some are confident as this is their nature, or they know (from past experience) that we will respect them, help them fulfil their goals & enjoy the interaction with them; others are hesitant, unsure, perhaps have never sought serious help from a librarian before. Those who come to us with the various degrees of hesitancy & discomfort are the ones we help move away from their insecurities about their lack of knowledge, perhaps even embrace the “blank slate” with which they feel confronted. We help them begin on a journey to join the confident questioners & seekers, using constructivist techniques that encourage them to access the knowledge & thinking processes that have got them to this point, we engage tools together (such as database subject headings) to help them tap into new sources of support, as they discuss what they are finding & learning, we learn more about them & more about the knowledge they are seeking which gives us insights of greater breadth & depth which we use to play our role in building a mutual cycle of confidence & knowledge building.
Our work together helps us both access some of the best parts of ourselves – our clients accessing the best parts of their learning selves & us accessing the best of our professional selves; and both of us growing … together.
For many years I thought that all librarians saw (to varying degrees) their professional roles in a similar way & could not understand why, despite the value clients placed in my work, I continuously failed to find points of “ontological connection” with many of my colleagues (often the most dominant & powerful of my colleagues). With some space away from work & a chance to mull the work of new librarianship & reflect on this blog, I’m starting to think that perhaps not being an “information professional” created a chasm in understanding that I didn’t recognise or have the personal skills to attempt to bridge. Not realising it, I saw “information professional” as a meaningless label while those with whom I rarely found professional connections (but often conflict) have it at the core of their professional identity. So, when some people said things like, “I don’t know why that Faculty respects you”, they really didn’t understand what was happening in the professional relationships – they couldn’t see what work was actually being done, by me & by the academic & student clients with whom I was working. And, I have absolutely no idea what they wanted me to be doing to make my practice legitimate in their eyes.
There’s a reason that people in the know recommend putting thoughts down in writing & I’ve struck a very good example of it for myself. In response to this presentation, I wrote this blog post. On further reflection, I’ve realised that I haven’t actually been pondering separation from clients/patrons/community/etc since my early days of professional practice. What I have been doing, is pondering it when I’ve worked in situations where the dominant voices (those of authority figures or power figures) have emphasised “being of the library”. In these cases, we have seemed (in my experience of it) to be focused on what the library wants clients/patrons/community/etc to do &/or to think. I’ve taken to calling this practice “founded in behaviourism”. In the situations where the dominant voices have sought close connections with the clients/…, I think that Richland Public Library & Lankes’ presentation would actually have been welcomed & acted upon.
This is a really important realisation, especially if I do manage to get the research project off the ground as confirmation biases like this one are going to seriously impact the credibility of my question, lit review, methodology & analysis. I have to ensure that my passion for this doesn’t bleed into the research so I need to take action to keep thinking about the possible research question is objective terms. I started off that way, but I think that I’ve been drifting into subjectivity.
I also think that could be links to the things discussed in this article from The Conversation.
My comment about the courage & truth telling remains at this point. And, I guess that this level of feeling & thinking is at least part of the reason that I didn’t recognise my confirmation bias in the first place!!