At a time when our government wants to constrict and restrict, we librarians know that the only way to innovate and grow is to expand our thinking and our perspective. The 2013 IFLA report proposed five different areas of growth in libraries, touching on every aspect of the direction of our work. The 2016 update provides additional detailed information and guidance as it relates to the global vision for library systems. This new information combined with the 2013 trends, and the Chicago Utopian Resource Library’s (CURL) current focus on maintaining our role as a community hub for the Uptown neighborhood, provides us with a roadmap of continued innovation. A large component of our work will be attributed to three significant undertakings, for little to no cost, aligned to IFLA trends, to be fully implemented over the next two years.
I used to be a Constructivist educator. Now I’m just a Constructivist!
When I came into education I was way far to the left of the spectrum, always experimenting to get the desired effect, which, in my eyes, was real democratic education. I was at my most effective, exciting, and innovative when the students were leading their own learning, and creating the environment for investigation and discovery along with me. I learned from what they were learning, which all emanated from the tiny seeds I had planted. Learning has to be real and authentic, with useful and productive outcomes as the result of any learning experience. Even if it is a small thing, we of course always learn when we are curious, but the reason we sought out that that small piece of information was so we could apply it to something we were initially interested in.
There is no reason why I shouldn’t take this similar approach to my library career, however, I am now more focused on the learning of adults, be it a staff or group of colleagues, or young adult or adult clients who come into the library space. It’s refreshing to see that in making this mid-life (honestly, truly) career switch, that my skills and experience from the last twenty years will not be for naught. There are an infinite number of ways that we can expand on the learning and growth of groups and individuals who come into the library space. As Kenney states:
So what do people want from us? They want help doing things, rather than finding things. You could argue that users have always wanted this, and you’d be right. But the extent of this shift in recent years is unprecedented in the history of library services.
A lot of what people want help with involves technology. Sometimes it is assistance with the technology we offer at the library—downloading e-books for example. But often it’s more involved: creating and improving resumes, conducting job searches, uploading files, seeking insurance information. E-government has landed squarely in the library’s lap, and we’re finding that citizens regularly need help utilizing government sites.
From this starting point of learning how to use the technology, we can move our client-learners to expand their use of technology into creation using technology, if they so desire. The by-product of our work in these learning situations is to create, “surprise and delight” and to help our patrons discover concretely, or intangibly what it is they are wanting to learn.
Learning can happen anywhere, and it does. It is only a matter of time before the walls of our ancient boxes dissolve, and our spaces for learning more diffuse and diverse. Libraries, as Doctorow writes, are “community hubs, places where the curious, the scholarly, and the intellectually excitable [can] gather in the company of one another, surrounded by untold information-wealth, presided over by skilled information professionals who [can] lend technical assistance where needed.” There is no need for people to go to a separate building to learn something, or to “go” anywhere, for that matter. Learning automatically happens through existing or reading, or through our own investigations – we always learn something, no matter how small – with supportive, structured and unstructured learning, librarians can increase people’s knowledge exponentially.
Likewise, progress and growth will come from companies and organizations realizing that working from anywhere and learning in any place are part of a formula for greater innovation and growth. Organizations that do not allow for remote work are missing out on valuable candidates. Simple as that. If you want the best, you have to be willing to trust, and open your mind to thinking beyond the local talent pool, or attracting only those people who are willing to move away from families or communities to contribute to your project. For work that does not require face-to-face interaction with clients in a specific space, remote workers combined with flexible and creative thinking are going to yield a much larger pool of potential employable superstars. I can’t wait until folks figure this out.
There is also the issue of disparate organizations working to achieve the same or similar goals. Collaborating creatively, and combining efforts to solve a problem (or non-problem) is an effective way to achieve change. There were several times working in education where I saw this being successfully implemented. The first reminded me a lot of the YOUmedia centers. The school programs I managed were a group of small alternative schools under one organization. The director of this organization collaborated with local Boys and Girls Clubs, and through this work decided to put our classrooms inside their clubs. The centers were closed during the day because their usual clients were in school, which left all of the available resources, (computer labs, gym, qualified staff that liked kids, recording studio (!), and a lot of usable space) available for our students. As 18-year-old Dimress Dunnigan, an intern and mentor at YOUmedia stated, “It’s like a space for us, the creative people, to come here and be creative together.” In this instance, it’s the creativity of the two staffs that engaged the creativity of the students, to everyone’s benefit. I saw amazing growth in students come from this partnership between educators and the B&G club staff and leadership.
I also worked for a district that had school program available for pregnant and parenting students, which was housed in the same building as a public childcare center. Girls (and boys if they wanted, but it happened to be all girls) could elect to attend school with other pregnant and parenting students before giving birth, go on independent study during the birthing and recovery time, and then return to school with their babies who would be in nursery across the hall from their classrooms. Moms could breastfeed, and be with their kids during the school day, which allowed them to continue their education, through to graduation and into college. The school also provided an available feeder program into a local state college. Through creative, combined efforts, social progress is made.
What do these examples have in common? Creativity. Libraries are not only the center of knowledge, they can also be places for incubation of ideas and innovation. With partnerships with other organizations, and with the knowledge and passions of the existing library staff, learning can begin with individuals in the library learning themselves, who in turn continue to learn as they teach others – cross-pollination of ideas, and creative thinking. Looking beyond what has always been into what can be, even if it seems outrageous is the starting point for progress. As our professor has stated, “We discovered that it was a personal change for participants more than a sweeping organizational change. Words such as ‘confidence,’ ‘comfort,’ and ‘ongoing exploration’” are what we can foster not only in our clients but in each other through deliberate attention on learning and knowledge growth in library systems. What societal problems will our librarians, and therefore, our libraries help to solve?
Doctorow, Cory (25 Feb. 2013.). Libraries and Makerspaces: a match made in heaven. Boing Boing. Retrieved from https://boingboing.net/2013/02/25/libraries-and-makerspaces-a-m.html
Kenney, Brian (n.d.). Where Reference Fits in the Modern Library. PublishersWeekly.com. Retrieved from https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/libraries/article/68019-for-future-reference.html
Mathews, Brian (5 Sept. 2013.). Curating Learning Experiences: A Future Role For Librarians? – The Ubiquitous Librarian – The Chronicle of Higher Education. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://www.chronicle.com/blognetwork/theubiquitouslibrarian/2013/09/05/curating-learning-experiences-a-future-role-for-librarians/
Stephens, Michael (29 Nov. 2012.). Learning Everywhere: A Roadmap (Article from ACCESS, Australian School Library Association, 2012). Tame The Web. Retrieved from http://tametheweb.com/2012/11/29/learning-everywhere-a-roadmap-article-from-access-australian-school-library-association-2012/
Stephens, Michael (20 May 2014.). Library as Classroom | Office Hours. Library Journal. Retrieved from http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2014/05/opinion/michael-stephens/library-as-classroom-office-hours/
When I began a draft of this blog post, it was going to be about the five trends found in the IFLA Trend Report, which I thought would be interesting to tackle because they are interesting trends. However, in reading the rest of Module 9, I got side-tracked thinking about the ideas produced from the 2015 article, “What Technology Will Look Like In Five Years,” by Diomedes Kastanis. I want to add to Kastinas’ thoughts about how the ownership of things will change as we move to more of a shared economy, expanding from our current state of apartment, car, bike sharing, to the sharing of those items and others differently than we are now. My first thoughts are that yes, sharing will change, but I also believe we will eventually arrive at a place where we don’t need to own many things at all. To get to this level of minimalism, and to make even greater progress as a people, we must begin to look past the thing, idea, widget, or service being innovated, and look at the larger picture of what it is we are trying to achieve by creating it. I agree with Kastanis, things will change, but more than just tech itself – the way we process information and consume will change.
When innovation is approached myopically, as the creation of a singular thing, the focus is on the object and not on people. The effect will be greater and have more impact if the innovation focuses on the feeling that is trying to be achieved through the creation of the object. If the innovation seeks to answer the question, “What does it mean holistically to have ‘work life balance,’ a ‘fulfilling career,’ a ‘happy home life’ or to ‘live life authentically?’” then we are meeting a need for those things people have expressed that they want. A time saving app offers the promise of ease, but offers only convenience; it doesn’t get to the heart of the desire – it’s an immediate and a temporary fix. To wit, a thermostat isn’t going to make anyone happy as a singular entity, but a Powerwall that simultaneously helps the environment, saves money, improves energy efficiency, and opens up opportunities and space to think about helping other people get along too can fulfill the purpose of providing power, and also touches on a deeper need for authentic living. Once the essence of the underlying goals is defined, building the supports and technology needed to achieve them can happen in a more deliberate way. Tasks like “improving the human condition” require that we break things down into manageable pieces, but the end must first be clearly defined before we can move toward it. Having larger, more humanist or altruistic goals in mind during the creation process is what will help us move forward, moving us toward a focus on people.
As an example, we can apply this holistic view to further innovations in the realm of Virtual Reality (VR). The goal of VR is to have an specific experience when that experience would just not be possible. (Aside: How will we come to refer to our current reality as opposed to a virtual one? Analog reality? Natural reality? Born reality?) As Kastanis states, for VR to be effective, our experience with the environment needs to be as unimpeded as possible. Our movement between the two states (this reality and virtual) will need to be fluid so that “reality-natives” can adjust to this new way of being, or it will always feel separate. VR-natives won’t need these supports. However at the foundation, it is not solely the VR technology, or having a VR experience for the sake of having an experience that we want (though that might be cool for entertainment purposes), what we want from the experience, again, is something much larger. Developers must aim for the desired feeling to drive this revolution – the VR we want is holodeck VR. For example, if I live across the country from my parents, and I want to be with them at the holidays, then what I want is that feeling of connection – the feeling of Thanksgiving Day, the comfort of the couch, the smell of the food, the laughter of children, good conversation – all the things that make home “home.” Since it’s the feeling we really want, talking on Skype won’t cut it. Virtual versions can work for some things, like having a virtual Barack Obama show up at your community fundraiser for impeachment funds, but a virtual mom can’t hug you, and virtual food cannot be eaten, not yet anyway. And it’s not the individual items we’re looking for, so we shouldn’t try to just replicate them in another way. We want the integrated feeling of home. We need to actually believe we are home, and that is a much harder task to accomplish.
Applying this concept to library spaces, we can already see that libraries have changed to accommodate clients’ needs. What do patrons really need? We have asked our communities, and they have told us. Libraries have had to adjust their way of thinking to appeal more broadly to the patron, and have done this to varying degrees of success. As an example, Anythink Libraries have considered what it means to provide a space of community – what community is and what it feels like – a true participatory space. I am almost positive that their success is due to the fact that they did not think, “Let’s [insert example of cool service they provide]” but that they examined their ideals, which manifested as core values, and built something that supported those values. The feeling was what drove the creation. Other non-profit organizations, if they stay true to their mission, have the opportunity to change the world in this way, as their entire focus is to provide a service to those who need it, and not for monetary gain. It’s not enough to build a participatory space for the sake of doing it, we must first know why we are doing it, and what we hope to achieve by doing so. If we succeed in doing this across all aspects of our community, it’s quite possible that technology could bring us back full circle to what it means to be human.
Museums are where this adventure begins.
Not everyone wants to participate.
I super-appreciate the awareness of this sentiment. Sometimes people want to show up, and just absorb. Sometimes it’s that people don’t know how to participate – the space is too large and the possibilities too great. They need some guidance, some way to focus their ideas and help them identify what it is that they want to express. Scaffolding spaces and interactions to break down the barrier that prevents people from wanting to participate requires some knowledge of instructional design in that it is necessary to help the participant along, but not so much that the outcome is decided for them. The participation event should be open-ended so that the patrons get to come to their own conclusions, and create their own original experiences.
Some simple easy-entry examples follow. The Tate Museum in London provides a frame based on the works of featured artists for you to stand behind, along with the suggested hashtag #modernistme, so you can take a friend’s picture within the frame and post it to social media. The Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam provides visitors with the opportunity at the end of the visit, to write in a digital guest book, sharing their thoughts about the exhibition, and how the visit affected them. These letters are posted on the museum website and can encourage others to participate, to come to the museum, and provides a way for patrons to share their experience with the exhibit. The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao has an annex gallery where people can line up to use a VR headset to explore a Francis Bacon’s studio in whichever way they like. These situations all occur outside of the gallery spaces and are just some of the participatory options available for visitors.
Turn right – Here comes Nina Simon
Nina Simon is a powerhouse. A self-described shy powerhouse, but one I had never heard of before I began reading Participatory Museum, which in turn lead me to Museum 2.0, the 11-year-old blog she created after being inspired by a conference. Reading her personal timeline of events from motivated conference-goer, all synergy and serendipity, and space with others, to finding her way to leading sessions, hosting parties, meeting with colleagues and friends, to eventually building her own mini-conference of her own tribe. Now, 10 years later, she has evolved to discover new and interesting ways to learn with groups. For Nina it’s trainings: “These training experiences are leading me to more breakthroughs than I’ve experienced in other learning formats. The content is highly targeted, the facilitation strong. I’m excited about pursuing other opportunities to learn, in groups, from experts with relevant content and methodologies” (Simon, Museum 2.0).
I used to love conferences too. Perhaps it was because I had direction, and the things I was learning at those conferences helped move me forward, gave me ideas which built on my own ideas, and helped me get things done. What I needed at those conferences, and what Nina hits on in her discussion of these trainings, is that I needed time at those conferences to participate and work with my team to develop those ideas, strategize and plan. There’s so much good information, that I reach a period of overwhelm, and while I’m stoked with what I’m learning, it is difficult to process that energy without engaging with content directly.
Right now the spaces where I learn the most, are places where I show up with no expectations, but that I am initially drawn to for either their subject matter or for the experience, such as this group of online classes that I’m taking, or going to a museum. Sometimes I learn something just through the process of project work and/or writing, and sometimes I learn and find brilliance through exploration that heads off into some new discovery, like finding Nina and her blog, for example. I like being surprised but, the learning space has to be authentic.
Turn Left – Look Out! It’s the NMC Report – 2016 Museum Edition
NMC report from 2016 which was a collaboration between Balboa Park Online Collaborative (BPOC) and New Medium Consortium Horizon (NMCH) is organized into three sections: 1) Key trends, 2) Significant Challenges, and 3) Important Developments, as each relate to technology in museum environments. Each of these sections is organized into timelines, or in range of difficulty of implementation. The two ideas that are four to five years out (now three to four) are Information Visualization and Networked Objects. Information visualization “is the visual representation of technical, often complex data, designed to be quickly and easily understood” (NMCH 44). This is interesting because the context book I covered for this class was “Dear Data” and one of the authors, Giorgia Lupi currently has a showing at the MOMA, which does exactly that. She has measured specific areas of her life, and illustrated this data in colorful, and sometimes whimsical, drawings. Her approach addresses the major challenge museums faced with displaying data, in that many people don’t have the background or experience to interpret the data. With Lupi, the data is her own, and the “visualizations [are] personal, fostering opportunities for deeper connections between the patron and the content” (NMCH 44). The second emerging technology is Networked Objects, which is the process of linking objects to information about them on the web – a physical hyperlink. This networking provides information not only to the museum’s patrons but also to the conservators and curators, recording and transmitting data about things like room humidity, exhibit movement, attendance, and potential damage. The most exciting idea mentioned is being able to create a “museum without walls” where cultural information about items out in the world is available and can be accessed 24/7 (NMCH 46).
These hyperlinked museum spaces allow the patron to choose and participate in their own adventure. Learning and participation is available to everyone, and at whatever level of interaction they are most comfortable. Providing patrons with authentic, self-directed, and meaningful participatory experiences helps museums meet the goal of increasing the focus on personalization. Using technology to this end has already begun, and as evidenced by both Simon and NMC, will continue to expand its influence.
Come! Use the library. Find your people here.
The entwined themes of this module, connection, community, and trust, are what it’s all about, and when I say “it” I mean everything. From posting a photo on Instagram, to reading a book, to creating anonymous poetry on the wall of a glass box, these and every other self-motivated action in our lives is done to connect in some way with other human beings. Libraries, recognizing this, have innovated to foster these connections.
The Darian Library’s Minecraft experiment has “turned into a sanctuary and a core service for a group of young users,” providing connections between like-minded kids. Young people may not have found this community anywhere else but online, but here is another option, provided by a forward-thinking library, seeking to create an inclusive and welcoming environment. It’s simultaneous use of technology and analog space, coupled with their flexibility to adapt when they saw how the space was being augmented, helped to “further the common objectives of their members” (Havens, 4). The Darian connected and grew this Minecraft-user community in “new and constructive ways” (Havens, 4). Similar to Blyberg’s library, I have a long (and beautiful) story short: A friend has a son with Asperger Syndrome. He spent hours of his youth playing Minecraft, and his mom (who should win mother of the year for eternity) encouraged his online connections, took him to Minecraft conferences, and allowed him unlimited Minecraft community time. He’s an older young man now – well-adjusted, happy, smart, with a job in a field he loves, and because she encouraged his interests, and it was available to him, he found camaraderie, connection, and friendship in this online space.
People have their own reasons for wanting to come into the library. To encourage users to join us on this communal journey, to participate in new and different ways, they must trust us. The library’s long, and stable history aids in this trust, because libraries have provided non-judgemental, spaces of quiet, refuge, and growth. Libraries are inherently trustworthy and dependable. Bhaskar sums this need for trust up nicely when he says, “We want to be surprised. We want expertise, distinctive aesthetic judgments, clear expenditure of time and effort. We relish the messy reality of another’s taste and a trusted personal connection. We don’t just want correlations – we want a why, a narrative…the cultural sphere will always value human choice, the unique perspective.” His article would have meant something different to me in September 2016 than it does now. I’m a more cynical person. I question more. I don’t trust what I read online. I listen critically to my favorites (NPR, NYTimes) for any hint of malodorous content. I’m not sure what is real. I wasn’t aware that online reviews were created by algorithms last year, but now I do, and I also know that I don’t trust that these recommenders have my best interests in mind when suggesting products that “might be of interest to me,” because their entire purpose is to get me to buy additional items, to spend more money and time on their site. Even now, I can’t trust that a person being paid to write a review about something really feels the way s/he does, or if s/he’s be incentivized to lean one way or another by a publisher or distributor. Conversely, I can appreciate the analog personal recommendations librarians and bookstores make. I trust the people I know and the people and places I respect. I use Amazon, but I don’t trust or respect it. I see we are coming back full circle, where people, time, and personal interaction reign supreme, and time-saving isn’t of the utmost importance. I take solace in knowing that the “principal currency today is no longer information, products or services; it is human attention” (Pewrainangi, 7).
I used to think that schools were the great equalizer. The place where social justice could flourish and kids could discover who they were, be nourished and become self-actualized. I see libraries as those spaces because there’s no underlying agenda other than their use. Libraries want only to provide space to nurture, educate, inform, connect, and they want to bring everyone along.
When I have the time to examine my motivations, beyond immediate satisfaction or a basic needs situation, I find that, really, I’m always trying to relate to others, to understand other people, to been seen and heard and to see and hear others. I’ve not got a whole lot of time left on this planet, but I hope that I get to spend some of it working in a place like one of those found in this module’s readings and videos, where thoughtful connections can be made, and trust is inherent in the community’s policies, publications, and programs.
NB: The Danah Boyd article blew my mind – 2B.
In one of my explorations into the wonderful world of the Internet I wrote the words “Giorgia Lupi” down on a slip of paper, the origins of which I have since forgotten, and put it in a stack with a bunch of other slips of paper. A couple of weeks later I came across the slip of paper again and remembered that it had something to do with art, but I couldn’t remember exactly what. I googled her name and found it connected with the book Dear Data. Knowing my dangerous habit of buying books and not reading them, I figured it would show up in my life sometime later and I recycled the paper. Low and behold, the book was on the reading list for this class, so there was not only an excuse for me to buy the book, but the impetus to read it.
Premise: Two young women, one, an Italian living in Brooklyn, the other, an American living in London, who were not friends when their project started, sent an illustrated, data-based postcard to each other every week for a year. Each week they selected, recorded, and then visually represented some aspect of their lives as creatively drawn data. Their project is documented both in this book and online.
Layout: The large-format book is laid out with Giorgia’s postcards on the left and Stefanie’s on the right. You can see the visual representation of the data on the front of the card and the back is a key that explains how to read the data. Underneath the photos of the postcards is a short, one-sentence, third-person commentary about the data or the experience.
The opening of the book, all of three pages, provides a summary of its insights. Among them are:
- Noticing behavior influences behavior.
- Data is a snapshot that captures a moment in time.
- Data describes patterns.
- Everything in life can be mapped, measured, and counted.
- We create data just by living – we leave a data trail (formally and informally).
- Documentation is different than “Quantified-self.”
Observations: Data is friendly, especially when couched in colorful drawings. There are an infinite number of ways to represent data, but how one does it is important. While in some cases the data might be beautiful to look at, if presented too complexly it’s difficult to gain any meaning from it, or it can be difficult to identify which parts of the data are important. Conversely, having a lot of information allows the data to serve a variety of purposes. We can use the same data to examine a number of different aspects of a situation, but too much information can complicate the message and make it labor intensive to decipher. Too much data is overwhelming.
Data can tell you something, but mostly it confirms. It creates questions in both the person collecting, and the person viewing. As one might imagine, the women collected data on different aspects of each of the shared subjects throughout the year. Very rarely did they collect the same thing, and it was never presented in exactly the same way. I wanted to know what they had learned, why they had selected the aspects they did, and after discovering this information and, knowing their own selves intimately, I wanted to know how they used or analyzed or applied or understood this new information about themselves. They did not share this with the readers.
There are a few ways to look at how this book can relate to our class content, in both a literal and symbolic sense. Libraries, in the past, have been primarily transactional places with each person playing a specific role in the transaction – Librarian as helper and patron as receiver of the help. Data has always been otherized, and also has a role: Data as the provider of information, person as receiver of information. Dear Data shows us that we can participate actively in the creation of our own data instead of being a passive creator of it for someone else’s benefit. We can learn more about ourselves when we organize our own data in a way that is understandable and meaningful to us, and in a way that reflects the parts of the data that we see as important or relevant. Likewise, if patrons have the option to use and construct their knowledge in libraries in the way that makes sense to them, they can become more aware of themselves as learners, and consumers of information. We all see things differently and it can be useful to look at an old situation with new eyes.
By focusing our attention on what is important, we can better understand it and the role that it plays in our lives. This project has certainly made data seem less scary, and more accessible. If we look at it as just one way that someone has decided to represent a snapshot in time, we can then begin to open up to see the data in a useful way. In the way that ownership makes data accessible, is the same way that allowing “ownership” of the libraries by the patrons makes them more accessible.
As Librarians, we can appreciate the detail – order, organizing, cataloging, collecting involved with the creation of this project. As humans, we can appreciate how these two women went about creating their own data, owned it, and came away with not only an experience but a greater understanding of themselves.
Lupi, G., & Posavec, S. (2016). Dear data. UK: Particular Books.
I think about old people – folks in their 70s like my own parents, and people in their 80s and 90s, who have relied on the library to serve a specific role for them their entire, lengthy, lives – the borrowing of books. When Kindles came out, my parents, both voracious readers, made the shift from paper books to digital, and now exclusively read newspapers, magazines, and books (fiction and non) on their iPads. Me, at the end of my 40s, still can’t bring myself to do it. I bring this up because while my parents have easily made this shift, I don’t know that many of their peers have, nor people in their age group who don’t have the same access to technology as they do. People older than my parents who want to remain connected to their communities rely on the library, its librarians, and its other patrons to provide that connection. We must remember to bring them along with us into the future.
There are elderly people who are interested in growing, learning, and actively participating in the library. They may not know how to use a digital catalog, check out their own books, know how to access a computer, or to use or manage an email account so they can receive notification of hold arrivals. To encourage the use of the library and maintain the patronage of the elderly, we must employ our personal qualities of empathy, understanding, and patience. We must understand how difficult it might be for someone to conceptualize the internet, and to understand how the digitization and/or sharing of collections can benefit them personally. We must be patient, deliberate, and respectful when explaining how a mouse works, and how one can access the information needed on the computer. A vibrant collection of analog of books must be maintained so that they can be checked out and taken home to be read, or read leisurely there in the library. We don’t know what efforts it may have taken for the patron to arrive, or if/when they will next be back. We don’t know the courage it might have taken someone to ask to be shown how to do something, so that they can access new features or services that are available.
Offering small group classes, orienting the elderly to the library and/or its changes, and providing small group guided tours, can help maintain the patronage of these important clients.
I too have been looking forward to taking a class with Dr. Stephens. From viewing his lectures in other classes, and hearing about him from other students, he obviously knows and loves his subject and approaches it with enthusiasm and realness. As I’ve mentioned in other intros, I am considering a switch to MARA, a decision which I will make after this semester comes to a close. I don’t have enough information, really, about either side of the Information Science coin yet to really know, but I will know which is more aligned with my career goals once I have a few more classes under my belt.
My BA from 20 years ago was in English Literature because I knew going in that I wanted to be an English teacher, which I did do for three years. After that, I moved to alternative education, where I played many roles supporting juvenile court and community school students throughout California. For a variety of reasons, I decided to take a leave for a year, to travel and consider what my next career path would be. The field of court schools can be all-encompassing and intense, so I knew I couldn’t see the next path clearly while I was entrenched in my work.
Fast-forward to now, this is my second semester in the program. Going into the MLIS, I knew that I wanted to work with the arts, artists, and/or a cultural organization in some way. My dream job would be to work for UNESCO. I’m interested in working internationally and would like to try for either Paris (where UNESCO is), Berlin (where Tactical Tech is), or in Amsterdam (which is museum-central). I don’t think I even considered a public library, but I am open to anything. Where I live now they have “Mediatheques” which are very cool multi-use spaces. My favorite one nearby has regular library sections, and they also offer workshops, a large art gallery, and just across the path, a mid-sized performing arts center, which has a cafe/restaurant attached to it. There is also outside green space and a park for the littles.
Looking forward to meeting and learning from each of you!