End of the Year Reflections

Like many of us this week I’m deeply saddened by what happened in Connecticut. I’ve been devoting some of my free time this week reading about the myriad issues surrounding the tragedy. One of the best articles I read on gun violence came from the New York Times, called “Do We Have the Courage to Stop This?” by Nicholas D. Kristof. I’d recommend it to anyone else reading about the issue of gun violence. As someone working in a public educational setting who is the daughter of a high school library media specialist, I’ve thought about what I would do if something similar happened here. It’s an unfortunate reality of the culture we live in, but I think it’s better to be prepared than caught unaware.

I wanted to get in one more blog post before vacation, but I must admit I’m not feeling as inspired as I have been in the previous entries. I think part of my brain is already in the Caribbean! I started working diligently on my instruction plan last Friday and quickly realized that it’s not realistic to get it completed and executed before Spring classes begin. I’m going to work on it throughout the semester and hopefully be able to prepare new instructional materials over the summer. I’m definitely going to start pursuing more faculty relationships and will try to explain my vision of shorter, targeted instruction that will lead students through a logical progression of information literacy skills throughout their time with us. I think it will be easier to get buy in from faculty if I can ask for 30 minutes of class time once or twice a semester than to ask for a whole class period.

I read a good article in ACRL’s College & Research Libraries News titled “The Inner Librarian” by Pete McDonnell. He discusses the need to disconnect in order to heed your inner voice and move forward in your professional development as a librarian. Academic and school librarians have an advantage here in that we get breaks from the majority of our patrons at several times during the year. I hope my time in the Caribbean away from my phone and omnipresent Internet access will give me time to reflect on my inner voice and grow as a person and a librarian. My goal when I started this blog was to track my journey as a librarian, but now I realize that having a space for reflection is the true value of this endeavor.

My professional goal this month was to build up my personal learning environment and to engage in some type of self-directed learning each day (ex. Read an article, attend a webinar, watch a library video, etc.). I’m happy to report that I’ve been generally successful. There have certainly been days where I haven’t been able to squeeze in reading but I’ve definitely made progress. I used Google Sites to make myself a personal learning environment. I have a section for library links and I’ve been going through my bookmarks with a fresh perspective and adding the ones that are still live and relevant to my site. I also have spaces to upload documents related to my career such as my CV and instructional materials I’ve developed. I like having all of this in one place that’s accessible from any computer or device with an Internet connection. Going through old links has been very useful, and I’ve revisited some material that will be useful in the future.

I think in the New Year my professional goal will be to improve our outreach efforts to students, faculty, and staff. Our film series is starting and I had our student worker put up posters yesterday. It’s nice to walk around campus and see a library related sign! I’ve been neglecting our library’s Facebook page so I made a list of things I can post about and set a reminder in my calendar to post once a week. We have 55 likes at this point, and we usually get at least one or two new likes a month. I’m hoping that an increase in posts will bring in more patrons and that students will feel more connected to the library. And with that, I’m off until the New Year. I hope everyone who reads this has a safe, happy, and peaceful holiday season.

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