The First Class: Reflection, Teaching, Libraries in Flux…and a Podcast

The initial session of SI 643 was now almost two weeks ago. This seems a little crazy, but to be honest, I’m thankful for a bit of extra time and grace, thanks to the MLK holiday. The idea of grace is one that I’m reflecting a lot on these days.

The first class began with a to-do list that was very close to this classic:

icepops todo list

(Incidentally, this list is how my pal, bandmate and uber-talented artist Erin Norris got the name Icepops)

I had a hunch that I’d like this class, and was pleased to see some of the initial “operational assumptions” that Kristin reviewed with us, among which were the following:

  • Reflection has value: Now this is something that I’ve really come to appreciate and try to think about more deliberately over the last 1.5 years
  • Librarians are teachers, they just aren’t always trained to be: Ding ding! Coming from a family of teachers and thinking that was never my path, I was a little startled when this first dawned on me (or maybe I just started admitting it to myself) last year. We talked a little bit about why the idea of teaching (or educating or facilitating learning) is important, how librarians aren’t simply clerks (a no-duh for people in libraries, but not always for those outside Library-land), and how it’s a part of making and keeping librarians and libraries relevant. I’m eager to think, talk and blog more about this throughout the course.
  • Libraries are in flux — BIG TIME: Sure, it’s a little scary (if you let yourself be scared by it), but it’s also REALLY EXCITING. And it’s a big reason why I find the world of libraries, and potential future work in the world of libraries so dang interesting. Throughout my life, I’ve found the cracks in things and the questions to ask. I feel like I somehow was given this gift of some built-in-detector for change and opportunity, and often there is the most room for innovation both on the edges of disciplines and within disciplines that are in a state of flux. 

There were other valuable points that will help frame and inform the class, but I’ve realized I get so excited/feel like I have so many things to bring-up-and-figure-out that I get a bit long-winded when blogging, so I’m going to try to keep this focused! (I’ve decided that being long-winded because your excited is like the blog equivalent of forgetting to raise your hand in class.)

We went on to review quite a few concepts familiar from last semester’s SI 647 (Information Literacy) course — acquisition, meaning and transfer; the importance of linking to prior knowledge; ideas about synthesis, metacognition, learner-centered teaching.  Then we concluded with a quick-but-fun podcasting exercise.

For our sample podcasts, we simply turned to the person next to us and asked them a few questions to suss out just what it was that got them all fired-up about libraries. I felt lucky, because I was sitting next a friend, but this short exercise gave me a way better understanding of how her interests fit into the world of libraries and the people they serve.

So, take a quick listen as Whitney  explains what she finds interesting about the wonderful world of libraries:
Disclaimer: I realize that my voice lilts upward in a bit California-girl-like manner. I swear, it’s just ’cause I was excited. I don’t normally sound like a Valley Girl! 


3 thoughts on “The First Class: Reflection, Teaching, Libraries in Flux…and a Podcast

  1. I also took SI647 last semester but I just found that I had forgot most of the theories I learned from that class. Your last blog struck a good chord with me: we must “put the theory into practice” or it will be quickly buried in the dust.

  2. Yeah reflection has value–this just reminds of an article we read last week for our SI 500 class. This paper (“No time to think: Reflections on information technology,” by David M. Levy) argued that even though we have unprecedented access to valuable tools and information for great scholarship in this age, the accelerating pace of life is reducing our time for thoughtful reflection–and this has undesirable effect on our contemplative scholarship.

  3. I also had a bit of a shock upon realizing, while at SI, that I was really being trained to be a teacher. I started my graduate education with the intention of becoming a philosophy professor, but left that path when I realized (1) academic philosophy was not for me and (2) I didn’t want to “teach” in that way. So, as someone who had rejected teaching (at least this once, and probably other times), I was surprised to learn that, deep down, I really wanted to teach people. I just wanted a different environment, and I think that makes all the difference. Our status as “outsiders” and as “in flux” means we can learn about and try all sort of exciting things in the world of education, which means so much more to me than getting up in front of an undergraduate class and rehashing philosophy 101 with them. With any luck, we as librarians will be able to open up doors for people that their professors and other instructors cannot.

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