Mid-Semester Analysis and Reflections

I have sat myself down with the intention of writing this post more times than I can count.  Each time I try to nail down some sort of amazing theme that would pull together all that I have learned thus far this semester. The writer’s block that then sets at that point prevents me from any such inspiration, so I am taking a new approach – let’s keep this simple.

1. Technology is a good thing!

I see a lot of talk in this class about whether or not expanding technology in libraries is a good thing or the thing that will be the undoing of the LIS world as we know it (!!!!!!).  There is a fear that with the onset of technology as a staple of what a library offers, librarians will be pushed aside in favor of IT professionals.  I couldn’t disagree more.  Technology is what will keep libraries relevant and looking to the future.  This does not mean that books will disappear, but that libraries will be able to provide more vehicles for people to access books, information, and the training they need to be prepared to enter the workforce.  I have spoken about this many times in my blog posts and discussion board answers, and if I had to pick a theme of my writing, this would be it.  I just hope that the current and future librarians out there can accept technology as both another way to reach out to their patrons and another avenue for librarians to prove their importance to a community, and make an effort to learn and adapt to what that means instead of fearing and fighting it. If the current state of LIS jobs is any indication, we are on a good path. According to a recent study, the top new job titles and responsibilities for 2013 included positions such as Emerging Technologies Specialist, Social Media Manager, User Experience Designer, Digital Content Manager and Digital Archives (Maatta, 2013).

 2. Forced reflection is helpful.

The most helpful aspect of writing these blog posts is that they force me to really think about what my ultimate career goals are, and where I currently stand in the path to get there.  So far in my career, I have mostly just gone with the flow, taking on different responsibilities and opportunities as they come without any real direction.  Being forced to actually look at the current state of the LIS profession and what positions are out there, what my career could actually look like instead of just some fuzzy vision in my mind, is constructive.

3. Managing and leading are two very different things.

Not that I didn’t necessarily know this before, but the chapter and readings on management in libraries was a good reminder that management is only as limiting as you make it.  I see myself as a manager still in a learning/transitional phase.  A lot of my week consists of situations that I have not experienced as a manager yet, and so I find myself reacting to them and getting bogged down with the tasks and processes that that all managers must deal with.  However, that is slowly changing.  I want to get to a good place where I am not focused purely on the rules and regulations of my workplace, and instead make opportunities for myself to be innovative and creative. I have been utilizing the website Manager Tools, specifically the podcasts, to help me better understand how to handle many of the situations that arise when you manage a large and diverse group of people. Their information on the importance of one-on-one meetings and giving feedback to employees is incredibly helpful (Manager Tools, 2005).

Maatta, S. L. (2013). The Emerging Databrarian. Library Journal, 138(17), 26.

Manager Tools Podcasts – Every Manager Effective. (n.d.). Manager Tools. Retrieved November 25, 2013, from http://www.manager-tools.com/podcast/manager-tools

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