Friday, July 14, 2006

Article Note: On a Library Instruction and Information Literacy Bibliography

Article citation:

Johnson, Anna Marie and Sarah Jent. "Library Instruction and Information Literacy--2004" Reference Services Review 33.4 (2005): 487-530.

Read via Emerald.

Rather than a formal note, this is more like a meandering reflection. If you want the quick, the answer is: yes, if you work in Instruction and Information Literacy, you probably should look this over. By the way, for library students and some new people, this article is an example of something a librarian can publish. Find a good topic and create a good bibliography of it. These types of articles are plentiful in the library literature, and depending on the topic, they can be great lifesavers. There, now you can go about your business.

What? You are still here? OK, read on then.

It is mid-afternoon on a Friday, and I am sitting at the Information Desk, where things are fairly quiet. I can't quite do any complex tasks, but I can do enough to read over this. Now, readers may be thinking only a librarian would be caught reading a bibliography. Well, for me, this is a list of works in my field of work, so I am sort of double-checking how my "keeping up" is doing. If I strictly go by this bibliography, maybe not so good. I was feeling all proud that I had read the book they mentioned at the opening, and I have read some pieces. However, reading this has shown me all the other stuff that I would have wanted to read, and now I feel a bit bad I have not. I am not sure why, maybe I am beating on myself. A quick glance at my blog's cue and a small search shows I have been doing some reading and reflection on what I read. Yet a part of me wonders how the heck did I miss some of these. At any rate, I am now marking on the list some items that I want to read and some that I may want to read but not sure they are urgent. Maybe this illustrates the old adage about so many books (or articles) and so little time.

What I also found out as I was looking over the list was items that I would think our library has, but it turns out we do not have them. Some I can request from our larger sister campus, which has some of them. Then I realize that when it comes to Instruction, I am the Instruction Librarian. If I want them, I have to get them. They may be for me, or for another instruction librarian (there has been talk of hiring a second one), or for a successor if I ever decide to move up the ladder. We have never been terribly systematic about buying LIS materials. The subject specialists may get things related to their areas, but the basics get done when someone actually remembers to do it. It's haphazard, and while I am not a believer in talking much about my place of work, this is one of those little things that make me go "hmm." Maybe the fact that I am still fairly fresh out of library school makes me aware of this, since back then I was surrounded by the stuff I needed and wanted. What worries me now that I am out here, do some librarians lose their desire or ability to keep up as time goes on? I do a good share of work to make sure I keep up in and out of my areas, and it is work. Interesting at times, but it does take some effort. Is this what some of the younger, or should I say, newly minted librarians worry about when it comes to their older, or should I say, more seasoned colleagues? I hope not. I think I have been trained well enough to value keeping up and finding ways to do it. I have faith I am not the only one who was well trained in that regard. By the way, isn't rss wonderful, for instance?

That question leads me to realize, well, I have been reading quite a bit via blogs and other online items that have rss. Those don't get listed in annual bibliographies, unless it is places like the work Walt Crawford does with Cites and Insights. Somebody should declare that man a "National Treasure" when it comes to library science. I guess the point is one will never read everything, but one can be selective in what one reads. And this takes me back to where I started. I am marking items that I want to look at later. Hopefully not too much later. In this line of work, waiting for free time may mean you will never get the reading done.

And while we are talking reading, my trip back to basics starts tonight with a social function. I will be immersed for a few days. I hope to make notes of what I learn in the blog, but don't expect live blogging. That's for "them folk who need their umbilical cord to the computer." OK, I admit, that was snarky (it did give me a smile there for a moment), but I am not the type of guy who freaks out if he does not have a laptop and access to WiFi or other wireless options. Part of being a gypsy in spirit is being free. Point is I will write my reports in time. After all, I will need something to keep the director happy and reassured I am doing something, haha. More importantly, I will blog because I learn when I write, because it is another way in which I make meaning, and I will remember what I learned by making a record of it.

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