The Casual Librarian

My thoughts and opinions


Library Advocacy #1

Topic: Values & Community

As I begin my second MOOC which is a very different setting from the first MOOC,  I settle into finding my way around the site I am initially disappointed, finding it difficult to locate the resources is very frustrating and the discussions are grouped in 4 different sections which I am not pleased with as I hope to learn from all in the library profession and have the opportunity to look at different perspectives and contexts within the profession.

However as time seems to running away from my plans I realise I need to get on with week 1 and assignments.

Assignments consist of multiple choice quizzes which you have 10 chances of taking again, very easy to do if you have not read the material. In addition they ask you partake in a discussion within the 4 groups you find your job title closest to.

My present two part time jobs reflect a small part of the “other” sector that has been listed and I am very keen to get an insight into where my new skills lie within librarianship. However, I am very interested in public libraries and how they operate and view library advocacy from a worldwide perspective.

As I find my resources I am inspired as I read the overview and this motivates me through the site,

“Libraries are bonded with their communities aspirations” (Library Advocacy Unshushed, 2014) which is very true in many regional libraries in Ireland. I see many public libraries adapting to the new communities that have entered into Irish society. Libraries are changing their outlook into becoming a open & engaging space which is a fabulous opportunity for students who wish to learn, and libraries have done this by becoming a learning space adding in bright colored seats and incorporating engaging facilities for learning.

As our world is changing, adding to this changing landscape is how people are learning, how teaching is changing and how information is being ingested. In order for libraries to keep abreast of this rapid switch they need to turn their focus to each individual that uses their particular library and view how they learn, look through their eyes for a moment and if they cannot understand or visualize this then they need to ask!

The second point I really felt summed up the above point is how “libraries are linked to ageless values” (Library Advocacy Unshushed, 2014) as librarians these are our core skills, however now our own skills are adapting and changing with this new movement. I like to call it the movement of information! These core values come in many shapes for example equality – everyone is welcome, and everyone is treated the same within our libraries.

Public libraries have a challenge as they do need to meet a wide range of people’s needs and with limited resources it is a interesting time within how local communities can help develop this amenity.

Community has been rather forgotten when it comes to libraries even though these individuals are the reason for our existence, to which some may add is declining, which I argue is not the case.

In order to make this known libraries should adapt and should promote their facilities, however all this is good and great with social media tools and I learned a lot of how this can be done by Micheal Stephens, however here I get the flip side of “promoting our services” WHY?

According to some this does not build relationships, I can see an element of this but my answer to this is then the community is not engaging with these social media tools if they are not working tweak them!

It is proving difficult to get my focus or head space into this new concept of Advocacy, a type of marketing tool but speaks to a specific pool of people who have a hand in library making decisions? A quote from the MOOC illustrates the following “In library advocacy, we are positioning libraries as assets in our society’s agenda or parent organisations agenda or priorities” (Library Advocacy Unshushed, 2014)

Okay instead of talking to our users talk to the people who keep our doors open and our staff strong and innovative! Interesting!

These new concepts and ideas are difficult at the moment to put into perspective, as they seem to be relating to people who do or may speak to this pool of people within each community, maybe by looking at their discussion feeds I might be able to get a better perspective.

Keep Learning!



Positive Direction

So, here I am again.

After taking a well deserved break from my academic and professional interests I have returned with alot of information.

Librarian-The-Original-Search-EngineThis is because I have decided to enrol myself into 3 MOOC’s, 2 of which begin next week. So excited. I have begun reading up on the first MOOC called “The Hyperlinked Library”.

This new forward looking vision of libraries has stirred  something in me that I can’t really explain. So here I will try, firstly it sums up everything I have learned during my MLIS and from this I developed my own opinions and ideas of what I feel libraries can do, with my main focus on Public libraries within Ireland.

Michael Stephen’s (the main man) has grounded his vision in David Weinberger’s “The Hyperlinked Organisation” which details in general how the internet has changed the face of society through communication, business, networks etc.

Stephen’s (2013) has taken how the internet changed the face of society, here he looked at these changes through the lens of libraries to see how librarians can adapt and use these ideas to evolve. To begin the process in adapting the traditional face of libraries into a modern network of learning and creating he created “The Hyperlinked Library”.

As part of the MOOC Michael produced a introductory module with his fellow colleague Michael Casey and if this is the starting point for the MOOC I am thrilled!!!

Here they speak of Participatory Leadership within libraries, how to engage a library & community into various elements of how the library is maintained, this can be done at a minimum level or full scale, however what Stephen’s & Casey (2013) are hoping to promote is how new tools that have been created by the internet can allow libraries and communities to come together and create a forum that will be creative, knowledgeable and progressive.

This idea really excites me as it has been a topic that I have been privy to when developing my thesis for the MLIS and the many thoughts that were provided by public librarians around Ireland have been slightly worrying to me. In addition just recently I listened to a documentary on a national radio station and was very disheartened when I heard one librarian say that because of the advancement in technology that libraries will not be in existence in 20 years to come!

So here is where I start talking and I hope everyone else will engage in this conversation, it is only us LIBRARIANS that can keep libraries open and progressive and in order to do this ALL LIBRARIANS need to be on the same page even if they cannot see the light or the hope at least participate in some forward thinking!