Halfway there and nowhere close. Mid-term is a strange time, because though at this point in the semester, I usually feel that I’ve got a solid grasp on where I’m headed for the second part of a class, in this case, I find myself all too aware that this is merely the first semester of grad school, and in many ways it’s a whole new ballgame.
Thus far, we’ve had a lot of theories about ideals and professionalism and ethics thrown our way, and I enjoy engaging in the debates about theoretical situations and ideology. However, rather than ruminating on the tenants of the profession—which I often feel are already part of who I am as an avid reader and advocate of free access to information— I find myself reflecting most often on real-world conundrums that librarians today are facing. Out of all the assigned activities, the ones I find most rewarding are the Think Tank posts. Whether it’s funding problems for public libraries or the tricky licensing issues surrounding e-books, they inspire me to think beyond the scope of school and employment; they force me to reflect on problems and look for practical solutions. While I realize that I am a small cog in the great machinery of things, the Think Tanks also reinforce the potential that just one person represents. Whether that means starting a Little Library or assisting an adult literacy campaign or simply educating community members about what their local library can offer them, one person can make a huge difference in the world of the library profession, and that matters to me.
I also enjoy the Think Tank posts because they are colleague-inspired discussions: these are articles that speak to the people I will be working alongside, and that gives me insight into what matters to them. It provides a more genuine atmosphere of give-and-take than assigned discussion topics, and I make more earnest contributions because I enjoy the sense of debate with my classmates. The subjects being covered vary greatly, which has also given me a broader indication of just what is going on in the field.
In contrast, the blog posts often feel a little flat. Though the blog posts sometimes force me outside of my comfort zone to engage in reflections I might not normally pursue, sometimes the lack of interaction makes me feel as though I’m simply writing and sending my observations out into the ether. In the second half of the semester, I hope to channel some of the enthusiasm of the Think Tank talks into this blog.