Reflections on “Librarians” thread in Atlas

I really found the figures on pp.144 – 152 of the Atlas (Figures 60-71) to be illuminating in terms of showing the evolution of the creation of the knowledge management system (Lankes, 2011).  In general, I am liking the graphics in the textbook a lot better for this thread, probably because I am understanding them better than in previous threads.  This graphic illustration gives me some insight into what the creators of the first online learning management systems for colleges must have went through in terms of planning or mapping it out – in particular I find the figure of the learning management system presented in Figure 65 for IST 613 to be a lot like Blackboard (Lankes, 2011, p.149) – I imagine it might have been what the original learning management system for the iSchool looked like until we switched over to Blackboard this summer.

I also loved the innovative ideas of what libraries could potentially lend out, under the “Circulation” subsection – in particular the idea of lending out e-book readers, laptops, and experts in a particular field (Lankes, 2011, p. 166).  I would love the ability to check out a e-book reader to share with my preschoolers at the community center  – it might be hard convincing my board that we had the funds to invest in one now, so checking it out from the library would be ideal.  I also liked how public librarian Meg Backus explained in our class (511: Introduction to the Library and Information Profession) today how she came up with the innovative idea of members in her library checking out her dog – something that sounded was a really successful program and that members of all ages enjoyed.  At my current public library, Fletcher Free Library, I know people can check out gardening tools, such as rakes or hoes, which seems to be popular as organic and “do-it-yourself” gardening is trendy in Burlington, and we also have several community gardening programs in the area.  When I was growing up, at the library I went to, the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum (also in Vermont), I used to check out bags of toys, like a board game or a Fisher Price play set (those things are durable – I own two that are older than I am that my preschoolers still love playing with).  I think this a great idea for a children’s section of a public library – I remember that when I volunteered as a teenager at that library kids checked out the toys all the time.

I strongly agree with Lankes’ opinion that paraprofessionals in the library field are undervalued and go largely unappreciated for their work (Lankes, 2011, p. 177).  This is something that happens frequently in the educational world – paraprofessionals are not trained enough nor paid enough considering that they sometimes spend all their day with students that have the most challenging behaviors and can sometimes be quite physically and verbally abusive to them.

Finally, I would like to say that the overall mission/theme that Lankes presented throughout his book, “The mission of librarians is to improve society through facilitating knowledge in their communities” (Lankes, 2011, p. 15) is a worldview I can closely relate to.  As an educator, I already hold facilitating knowledge of the utmost importance.  As someone who works at a community center for the community they also live in, I strive towards improving society everyday by serving my community as a member of that community.  I look forward to continuing this mission and the values I hold so dear as a librarian.

References

Lankes, R.D. (2011).  The Atlas of new librarianship.  Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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