The subject pretty much tells it all. I didn’t come here to learn much about technology–the accident of my career up to my point leaves me well-positioned with respect to most new technologies. Instead, I came here to understand the practice which will help us as librarians to harness these technologies, leading to enabling our members and communities to improve their lives and situations. The pieces of this course which were most attractive to me are the transparency and reflective practice pieces. These pieces aren’t necessarily evident to our members, but they are (in my estimation) vitally important. Collectively they ensure that we (as librarians) provide the best possible value to our members.
Transparency, of course, isn’t necessarily visible to our members on first glance. They have, to a point, to already have information literacy skills to truly see the value here. Perhaps the most telling part of transparency (as discussed in our readings) is that the value of transparency is getting through to Big Business. Several of these readings touch on various ways that really big business (like Microsoft) is working to become more transparent. If Microsoft can work this way there should be no reason libraries can’t learn from their effort toward transparency.
Reflective practice makes us more powerful by providing us with the power and the space with which to better understand our members and their desires and needs. This turns out to be something very relevant to me this semester: outside my library school experience it’s been a very difficult semester for many personal reasons. Reflective practice (on the part of some professors) helped them be responsive to my current situation in a time of need, and I can only hope to be at least that helpful to someone else in the future.
Since all the kids are doing it, I’ve attached my director’s brief to this message. You can see the PDF here: Henry Mensch Directors Brief. I talked about Twitter–it’s easy to see people have great success with Twitter, but it can be difficult to discern why and how that happened. I attempt to get at some of the elements of successful Twitter interactions, as well as why Twitter might be better for engaging library members than some other social media that is available today.
I’ve already made one change to my own practice as a result of this class: I’ve revived my own personal blog. There is still, clearly, room to grow (as of right now, for instance, there’s no page that tells you who’s writing this stuff!) but that will be fixed before long.
It has been a pleasure reading all your work this semester, and I hope I run into you some of you this summer at ALA Annual or SLA (I plan to attend both). If you like you may follow me on Twitter as @henare.