It’s wonderful to see that, despite my long absence during this first semester, readers continue to come and visit my sites. Thanks for stopping by, everyone!
Now that I have come to the end of the first semester of Library School, I find myself in a healthy standing with new and fabulous information tucked into my utility belt of knowledge. I’ve accomplished reading hundreds of pages about the history of libraries and librarianship, the ethics of the profession, and the changing face of the public library in this country. I’ve conducted literature reviews of journal articles for papers short and long, and I’ve discovered the ins and outs of digging through tens of thousands of offerings to find what is meaningful and what can be put aside.
Along the way, I’ve met many new acquaintances from varying backgrounds and with varying goals once they complete this degree. Some will go on to be school librarians, others in academic libraries, and still others will carry on the efforts to archive the artifacts of human history that we now create in the millions each and every day. And I’ll be in class with many of them throughout the degree, so we should get to know each other fairly well by the time we’re through, even though we each have our own lives outside of school.
So, what have I learned about library science? Quite a few things I knew but didn’t know I knew, for starters. Libraries are places where anyone can go to learn about any topic that interests them, no matter their socioeconomic status, the color of their skin, or which god or gods they believe in or don’t believe in. And everything they look at and check out is private – no one, not even the government or law officials, can come in and ask to see circulation records. Librarians are humanists, in general, and they exist to help people answer questions and find information so that they can grow intellectually. It is not the librarian’s place to judge anyone for what they read, watch, or search. I had observed these standards all my life in visiting libraries but didn’t realize it is an integral part of the profession. Privacy is at the top of the librarian responsibilities.
I also learned a lot about formal research. We spent many hours digging up journal articles about different aspects of librarianship, from public libraries to academic libraries and special collections to archiving. We reviewed various research methods and technics and assisted classmates with our “big” assignment, a 7-page paper synthesizing 7-10 articles on the topic of our choice. I dug into data on the effects of digital archives on historical research. None of us came out of the class as experts, but we weren’t expected to. We all came out with a morsel of knowledge and experience we didn’t have previously.
The summer semester will begin in just a couple of weeks, and I’ll continue to absorb all that is possible. I’ll be diving into an introduction to archives and reference services. And somehow I’ll find time to read and write and finish my WIPs. While Book III of the Bona Dea novels has been simmering for quite some time now, more of the details are falling into place. And on another front, two paranormal novellas are solidifying (they’ll be released together as one book). Thanks to the public library, I’ve been reading about witching gardens and magical plants to guide me.
And here is my plug to go and visit your local library. Libraries are community universities and social centers. Without them, the search for knowledge would be more difficult for everyone (even with the internet at most people’s fingertips). Libraries serve our communities with access to vast amounts of knowledge and programs that both inform and entertain. Don’t let our libraries go to waste and don’t let anyone take them away. And while you are there, request that books by your favorite indie authors be added to their shelves. Donate copies of books. Donate time. Join your local Friends of the Library groups.