I started the MLIS program and my job in 2015. While I intended to graduate in December, life had other plans. I have slowed down my pace a bit, and will be taking two classes each semester. I will graduate in December 2018.
I have already posted a job description and blogged about the experience of being a public library director in a small town. Here are a few thoughts about what drives my passion as a community librarian.
Maine has the oldest population of the United States. Critically important to neurological health is the ability to build plasticity, and the best way to do that is to learn and master new things! Our library recognizes the importance of social gathering and community-building, and the power of socially-connected learning.
We live in an economically challenged, rural community. This is a beautiful place, where there is very little industry. Adults need help rebooting their skills while looking for new opportunities. Teens often drop out of school to work on a boat or in the woods, but then they struggle to make a living.
The library here MUST be more than a book repository. We need to be alert for opportunities to serve our community-at-large, and fill gaps that are not already being met by the school district, or state vocational training centers. With schools focused on Core Curriculum, the library is a great place to develop and practice skills required for 21st century success. The department of labor can provide a set training curriculum, but the library can provide a place for adult learners to practice those skills. Finally, the library in a rural area can be instrumental in jump-starting and encouraging entrepreneurial thinking for people of all ages. We are looking for ways to help new businesses incubate and hatch.
I am excited about this course because the possibilities of completely hyperlinked learning have fascinated me since 1980! At that time, I read Friday, by Robert A. Heinlein. In this book, the main character spends a period of her life learning and absorbing information via a computer console. She directed her own learning, was able to study social patterns, could dive as deeply as she liked into any topic, and access every library on the planet. Once the internet became widely available (I logged in for the first time in 1992), I have been so excited and happy to use the internet to pursue my own interests in just such a way!
I am always surprised at how much fear people have about using the internet. As a librarian, I look for ways to share my joy in searching and in learning with others. Gradually, a few people in our community are showing up to see and hear what is available when you look around in the virtual world instead of in a book.
I never want to ‘diss’ books. I love books. I have been reading since I was four years old. When I went into a university library for the first time, I sat on the floor in the 800s stacks and cried, because I could never in this lifetime read all those books. But, the ‘Hyperlinked Library’ is a university library to the nth degree. “To infinity and beyond.” I want to teach people how to joyfully search the internet and gather information that can transform their lives.
Here are a few photos of my world….
View from the library lawn.
Our house is in his backyard!
[Photos by twowildgeese.com]