I am focusing on Professional Learning Experiences for the Infinite Learning adventure because it speaks to my heart in so many ways. I’m a firm believer of lifelong learning because I think that’s the only way to stay connected in this ever changing world. I started this MLIS program because I care so much about professional development and it seems to be the most effective way to get me through a career plateau. However, I also went through a hard time figuring out if it’s worthwhile joining this self-funded program. Now I’d like to share the process of my transition from an “excluded cynic” to a “curious introvert” and then a “self-driven go-getter”.

Lecture of Infinite Learning: Professional Learning Experiences, 00:19:38

In his book Wholehearted Librarianship (2019), Michael Stephens puts forward the Formula for Success:

Essential Skills + Mindset² × Support = Success

There’s no doubt that success can be defined in many ways, but this formula really brings out some very interesting points which resonate with my own professional learning experience. Having been a service staffer for more than five years at an academic library, I see myself grow tremendously when it comes to essential skills that are needed to do my job well. But the problem is, when I reached a certain period in my career, instead of feeling content and comfortable, I started to feel unsettled and anxious because I realized that there was nothing more I could learn from my work. I understood that not all organizations could afford expensive learning programs or conferences for frontline staffers, but still, the “excluded cynic” persona started to shape in me. I secretly complained about the lack of learning opportunities and let those negative emotions get the better of me. As described by Michael Stephens, my mindset during that time was “just give me the paycheck” (2019) but did not take any actions. Clearly, I was wasting my own time and it blocked me from so many possibilities that could have happened for me if I were more rational and proactive. Luckily, I picked myself up from there and started to find learning opportunities on my own. I observed how other people work and learned from our collaborative projects; I reached out to my manager and asked for feedback and suggestions; I was curious about areas that were out of my own expertise and let that curiosity guide me to explore the things I didn’t know… I had become a “curious introvert” by that time and that was also when I felt the power of a positive mindset.

Thanks to my manager and colleague’s support, I was then introduced to online MLIS programs like this one. They helped me compare different programs and offered constructive advice when it came to work-study-life balance. After more than one year’s consideration, I finally applied to SJSU and got accepted. Learning new things and connecting with new people in the information profession has inspired me so much and it also helps me build confidence at work. I learn from this program, share the things I learn with my colleagues, and I even come up with new ideas and create learning opportunities for other team members. There’s still a long way to go for me to reach the “success” I expected, but I have surely become a “self-driven go-getter” by now.

Professional learning can happen in many different forms. The transition of my own learning persona has taught me that no matter how the outside world looks like, we must find the ultimate driving force in ourselves and treat it as a lifelong process.


Stephens, M. (2020). Infinite learning: Professional learning experiences . INFO 287 – The Hyperlinked Library. https://sjsu-ischool.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=6aee1751-fe1a-4d46-bff9-aaef0136212c

Stephens, M. (2019). Wholehearted librarianship: Finding hope, inspiration, and balance. ALA Editions.

7 Comments on Reflection on Infinite Learning: Professional Learning Experiences

  1. Hi Ye,

    I really enjoyed learning about your professional development experience and how that led you to apply for the SJSU iSchool program. I applaud you for taking matters into your own hands and asking for feedback from your supervisor and seeing what other paths you can take to further your professional learning experiences. Reading this module really instilled in me the fact that in order to feel satisfied, we must continue to seek out learning opportunities.


    • Thank you Ciera! Totally agree with you on “in order to feel satisfied, we must continue to seek out learning opportunities”. Although we long for attention and new opportunities in our career and hope that our boss will see the value in investing in us someday, we should also take the initiative to seek out those opportunities.

  2. Ye – I am so happy you traced your evolution with LIS learning via our personas. we are working on the final draft of the article right now. I’m dipping back into the data for more quotes from each of the types.

  3. Hi Ye,

    Your last paragraph really brought your Professional Development blog home. It is true, we all strive for PD in many ways, but what we have to realize is that there isn’t one path you can only follow. Look at all your options and then you should be able to pick the one that suits you best!

    • Thanks Stratos for your comment. I am grateful that my supervisor is so supportive of my PD. Thanks to my colleagues, I enrolled in this program! After a year’s study, I begin to enjoy the learning process and I’m more clear on what I’m interested to learn in this program. I hope you enjoy the rest of your study too!

  4. Hi, Ye,

    Your post really resonates with me as I am a life-long learner, too. I have gone through the three stages of excluded cynic, curious introvert, and self-driven go-getter as well. I spent a lot of time researching online MLIS programs and then narrowed it down to five. Then I waited a year to save some money, move, and gain additional experience within the library before applying to SJSU. I really like how most of our classes in the program include projects that are practical in nature and reflect things that we might, at some point in our careers, engage in. Wishing you the best in your library school and career path!


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