I have worked in a library for a number of years now, so my perceptions of the LIS profession were already pretty developed when I decided to pursue my MLIS. However, over the course of this semester, many new facets of LIS were demonstrated to me through the various activities and assignments we took part in.
The ALA Code of Ethics is something that I was already very familiar with when this class began. A copy of the code hangs in our break room at work, and it is often the random piece of paper that catches my attention during quiet moments. However, having the opportunity to truly study it and apply it to situations that actually occur in libraries was rewarding and enlightening. It’s great to read over a code of ethics and think, “Yes, of course these should be followed”, but it’s quite another to put them into practice in your daily work. Having the opportunity to discuss the ethical situations with my classmates made me a better-prepared employee as a whole. I now approach the decisions I make with less second-guessing and more confidence.
In my Assumptions and Assertions, I stated that:
LIS 6010 will provide me with a well-rounded look at the LIS professions that I won’t necessarily get by working in a public library. As a result, I will be able to use aspects of many information science professions to become better at what I do.
True, we really only just scratched the surface of the LIS profession in 6010, but I found that the most eye-opening parts of this semester occurred during the Think Tank exercises. For example, my library takes part in prison outreach. We have a small library at the prison that provides reading material to inmates. I hadn’t given this next to no thought until I stumbled upon the Library Journal article “Prison and Public Libraries” by Lilienthal and realized public libraries can make huge impacts on their communities through programs in prisons that focus on real-world skills. Now I can’t help but wonder what else my library could be doing to help the inmates we serve. The act of searching for articles to post and reading through the articles my classmates selected was the best way for me to expose myself to new areas of LIS.
When reviewing librarians’ blogs and professional associations I noticed a truly wonderful trend: librarians helping other librarians. A large portion of (what I would consider to be) the best perks of joining ALA and PLA were the networking and mentoring opportunities offered to members. ALA’s Emerging Leaders and Mentor Connect are in place to create an environment for the fostering of the advancement of young and new members of the LIS community. Similarly, Sarah Houghton and Andy Woodworth’s blogs are filled with encouraging statements and personal anecdotes that are meant to help the reader avoid and learn from the authors’ mistakes and experiences. Throughout the journal entries, assignments, and discussion boards we completed in 6010, I was frequently faced with librarians who were doing everything they could to help and encourage other librarians at all staged in their careers. In short, we are a profession of individuals who have each other’s backs, because we know that success for the library institution as a whole is dependent upon each other.
I know that this is just the start of the many great things I will come to learn over the course of pursuing my MLIS and look forward to the many new discoveries to come. Cheers to a great first semester!