Exploring Libraries

Today I got to explore a library from the next council area over. I’ve been to this library before but I had never gotten to explore it properly before. 

Today I went to the first floor for the first time and I love the floor to ceiling windows, with views of the sky, street-side trees and (of course) other buildings. I love the amount of natural light there is here, which is lacking in the dark “corner” that houses the adults fiction and non-fiction titles. 

I’m also excited that this library has more titles on Librarianship than my local library. So much to explore and enjoy! 


Photo, my own. Foreground includes the backrest of a soft chair and a large round footrest. Main scene is looking through louvered windows on a scene of trees, pavement and a multi-storey building. 

ALIA Futures Reports

After emailing with someone from the ALIA and the course coordinator of the Librarianship courses at CSU, I’ve been reading some of the Futures of the LIS Profession Reports on the ALIA website. This has given me some insight into the challenges the profession is facing, particularly in schools (as those are the reports I’ve read so far). On the whole, it seems that LIS professionals need advocacy in “high places” to ensure that Governments and governing bodies continue to value school libraries and librarians. Parents are also a valuable force to have on the side of libraries as the amount of funding each school library has is often dependent on the school principal, whom parents can have an enormous influence over. 

These emails have also helped me to feel more settled about my planned course of study of a Masters of Education (Teacher Librarianship). And if all else fails, once I have the M. Ed, if I want to get a Masters of Information Science it’s only another twelve months or so of part time study to obtain that. 

I love libraries

I love to visit libraries – both familiar, local libraries and unfamiliar libraries. In my local library I have my favourite places to sit – one for studying and one for just reading. Both have a view of an inner garden courtyard. Being in and aware of nature, the weather, is really important to me. Sure, for short periods of time I can be inside, I’ve spent many hours in windowless rooms at conferences and the like, but for anything regular or long term I need at least some connection with the outdoors. 

The chair I’ve chosen to sit in and read today is soft and comfortable, and bathed in sunlight.  It’s in a small arrangement of four soft chairs, with a central low table and could feel like someone’s lounge room. Until a moment ago there was a gentleman reading a newspaper sitting opposite me but he’s left. I hope my presence didn’t make him uncomfortable. 

The library is filled with the low hum of use. People walking past, clothes swishing together as the move. A pen clicking. A small child singing quietly as his mother pushes him past me in a pram. Questions asked and answered at the circulation desk. A DVD dropped. Books being reshelved. Photocopiers beeping and copying. And behind it all the gentle drone of the air conditioning. 

The library is at once the same as always and never the same. No matter what time of day I come in, I’ve never seen it empty or even close to. 

The library, for me, is a safe, quiet place that I come to, to rest, read and relax. 

Photo taken inside my local library. The left shows low sunlit windows and a glimpse of some green shrubs. On the right there is a red lounge chair, with the sun shining on it, behind that is a cabinet with small sculptures and a dividing wall. 

Perspectives on Information

Further reading from Organised Knowledge. 

There are five main definitions of information that go with different schools of thought or perspectives. 

Information as subjective knowledge is the main definition discussed in the library sciences. This subjective knowledge, held in the mind of the individual can be made objective knowledge once it is expressed. The library profession is primarily concerned with recorded knowledge, especially textual. 

Information as useful data – that is, data on its own is not useful, but when it is organised into a type of system it can be accessed and understood. 

Information and knowledge  as a resource sees information as something that can be attained and used, much like raw materials. Knowledge gives business a competitive advantage in the marketplace, however knowledge is not “consumable” in the same ways as raw materials because it is not diminished by sharing, its value is not easily quantified and information in itself is not necessarily valuable unless it is used. 

Information as a commodity views information from the perspective of copyright and intellectual property and not only views information from the perspective of the “owner” but also how it is exchanged between people and how it is used. 

Information as a constitutive force in society sees that information is embedded in social structure but also creates the structure itself and is linked with culture and values. 

Already I’m finding that I’m not absorbing the information well, although that could also be due to the fact that I have a four year old standing next to me holding up fingers and asking me simple maths questions. 

Photo is my own. It shows a four year old girl wearing glasses and a white Demi jacket, holding up all ten fingers near her face. She is smiling. 

Conflicted

For years I have been planning to start study in 2018 in a Masters of Education (Teacher Librarianship), building on my Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood). 

Today I started questioning that plan, that maybe I should study a more general library qualification rather than teacher librarianship. I don’t want to be limited to only working in schools, especially since I cannot afford to move to take up a job (since we have family and friends here, hubby has a job and kids access a bunch of services here, not to mention the expense of moving). 

The more general degree adds another year of part time study, or four subjects, although all twelve subjects could technically be completed in two years, at two subjects a trimester. 

Or I could do the teacher librarianship course and then do another six subjects and get both masters degrees. 

I’m tempted to enroll for Session 3 this year (Nov to Feb) and get a head start on my study plan but hubby says to wait until 2018 when my youngest will be at school. 

Too many decisions. 

Image is a collage of two screen shots from the CSU website – headings Masters of Education (Teacher Librarianship) and Masters of Information Studies. 

Why I want to be a librarian

I’ve been an avid reader all my life and I guess some people assume that I want to become a librarian because I love books. 

But they are wrong. 

Well, sure, it helps to like books and read books, especially if you work in a public library. But that’s not why I want to be a librarian. 


The main reason I want to be a librarian is because one of the things I am really good at is connecting people with the information they need. If someone needs some information I know the answer or (more importantly) I know where to look for it. I have good Google-fu as my husband would describe a talent for choosing the right search terms to land on the result you are looking for. 

Another key reason is my background. I’m a trained early childhood teacher and the two areas of my training as an early childhood teacher I was most passionate about were literacy and special education. 

Literacy has an obvious tie-in with librarianship. Librarians want people to read books and you need to be literate to be able to read. Literacy is essential for getting by in our “Information Age” and those who are illiterate face significant disadvantages in all areas of life. 

Special education doesn’t generally spring to mind when someone thinks of libraries and librarians, however, I believe that there are strong connections. People with disabilities are among the most marginalised people in our communities. Libraries can and should be a major part of reducing as much disadvantage these people face as possible. A library can be a safe place for all people, it can provide specialised services to patrons who are disabled or disadvantaged and it can be a massive tool for creating awareness and acceptance of people with disabilities through careful, conscious collection development. 

These reasons, far and above enjoying reading, are why I want to become a librarian. 
Images my own, photograph is a collage of photographs taken of the Macquarie Dictionary (5th Edition) entries on “librarian, librarianship, library, library binding, library book and library edition”. 

Organising Knowledge 

Today, I began reading Organising Knowledge

It’s an “old” book, in as far as textbooks are quickly outdated these days. It’s a 3rd Ed, that came out in 2000, the original in 1987. However, it’s designed as an introductory textbook for undergrad and postgrad students and it’s what I have right now that I can start with. I’ve only just begun reading the book (I’ve read the introduction and the first few pages of chapter one) but here are my reflections so far. 

Firstly, information is only useful and valuable if it is organised and accessible. 

Secondly, this book (which quotes another book that quotes the Oxford English Dictionary – seriously, was it too hard to find your own dictionary?) has a really poor definition of information and knowledge, chiefly because the wording of the definition of information involves the word “informing” and the definition of knowledge involves the word “knowing”. You can’t do that! 

So I looked up the Macquarie Dictionary (5th Ed) that provided the definitions above. 

My final observation from my short reading is that society would cease to function if we could no longer communicate information and knowledge. 

As an aside, I did find it amusing how the authors referred to “the Internet and World Wide Web (WWW)” (page xiv). While it is technically correct that the internet and World Wide Web are not synonymous, it’s not something a modern writer would do, only a writer from when the internet was fairly new. 
Image is my own and is a collage of four photos – the cover of Organising Knowledge, and Dictionary definitions of information and knowledge (two images) taken from Macquarie Dictionary (5th Ed)