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Professional Learning Network

This week we did not have class because we will be spending a lot of time outside of class watching webinars hosted by my classmates. Instead, we met with our groups to prepare for out webinars and were asked to join twitter and start following librarians and information professionals that share our interests. I started by following the bloggers on twitter that I wrote about in week 5. After that we were asked to follow 25 more people who share our same professional interests. It took me a lot longer than I expected to find 25 more users to follow and was a little harder than I expected. This also increased the number of people that I followed pretty dramatically. However, once I did that, I was pleasantly surprised to find a lot of interesting tweets that were related to things we’ve been discussing in class all semester, in addition to some delightfully humorous tweets.

I started following public librarians and school and media librarians. I was a little surprised at how quickly I saw my twitter feed transform from random posts by friends, celebrities, or recent news updates into a much more intriguing discussion regarding literacy, open access, undeserved populations, etc. I was also a little surprised by the response I received from those I recently started following. A few individuals followed me back after I re tweeted something they posted and one twitter user thanked me for following her. Though I am happy that I have begun to transform my social media presence into something a little more professional, it will give me reason to be a little more thoughtful of my posts and use of hash tags.

This weeks twitter assignment has also given me the opportunity to reflect on what I’ve learned this semester and how it has changed my perception of the profession. Though this class hasn’t caused me to have a major change in what kind of library I want to work in or what kind of librarian I want to be, it has given me a bigger and more detailed picture of what it means to be a librarian or information professional. It has also given me an online network and community to follow to help me process my thoughts and ideas into something tangible and productive.

The Unquiet Librarian

The Unquiet Librarian is a blog written by Buffy Hamilton, school/teacher-librarian turned public/teacher librarian. I say “public/teacher” because Buffy recently became the learning specialist at the Cleveland public library where she is still very much engaged with teaching and learning. She was named a 2011 Mover and Shaker by Library Journal. Much of The Unquiet Librarian focuses on  innovative and meaningful learning opportunities for students of all ages. I am personally drawn to The Unquiet Librarian’s musings on community change through collaboration and learning, clearly expressed in a post on how Geographic Information Systems (GIS) can be used and promoted in a public library to improve a community. I also find this blog inspiring in how to help learners develop connections between their passions and their formal learning experiences.

The Librarian Is In

The Librarian Is In is a blog by Justine Schaffner, a public reference librarian for over ten years, that explores, photographs, and shares eclectic public libraries in the U.S. and around the world. The Librarian Is In offers its readers virtual tours of the libraries it profiles providing inspiration through comparison. I was drawn to this blog from my interests in the idea of maker spaces and how they are (or are not) permanently shaping the future of library services through architectural design decisions. I also find it interesting to see the differences in the layout of different libraries in relation to the communities that they serve and the needs that the library is fulfilling.

 Barrow Media Center

Barrow Media Center follows the happenings of the library and classrooms of an elementary school’s media center. Many of the posts emphasize developing well grounded and in-depth learning experiences for the students of the media center and David C. Barrow elementary school. The theme that I like the most about the Barrow Media Center blog is it’s continuous emphasis of student involvement in practical learning opportunities. For example, Real Life Angry Birds is a post about a research based project for a third grade class to learn more about the behavioral habits of the birds living around the school. Though I am not directly interested in school libraries, I find many of the posts at this blog inspiring in how to create relationships between in class learning, the outside world, and developing activities, resources and information systems in the library/media center.

Attempting Elegance

Attempting Elegance is a blog by Jenica Rogers, an administrative academic librarian. I find Attempting Elegance a humorous, yet insightful description of the day-to-day happenings of a library career in an academic library. Jenica often goes into details of her daily tasks and routines, which I find invaluable. Though I have known for a long time that I want to go into librarianship, I sometimes fear that once I begin my first job I might be surprised what the work is actually like. Though I have been able to observe and participate in the work cultures of many libraries through part time jobs, I have a hard time figuring out what my future job could actually look and feel like. Attempting Elegeance Is able to offer a great perspective of what one might look like in the future for me.

Trends and Patters

A  trend I noticed in the blogs I detailed above is the emphasis on innovative collaboration and learning to help build a better community. Though those communities might look different from each other, the blogs that I read are all extremely passionate about the libraries and communities that they work in. Two of the blogs in particular seemed devoted to creating meaningful learning experiences for children or young adults that go beyond the walls of the school or the library; experiences that resonate with them and fuel their passions and dreams. Those are the blogs that I was drawn to the most. Though this was a class requirement, and everyone knows its great to follow fellow librarian bloggers, the thoughts and trends I have been reading show me that no library, librarian, or community will look the same, act the same, or need the same things. These bloggers will offer me signposts as I begin down my own career path and navigate my own passions and skills.