I’m getting less inventive with my subject headings, I admit. I’m just counting the days until this term is over. Not because I’m glad to be finished with my studies, really, just because I’m excited to start working in the libraries. I honestly have really enjoyed doing this work, especially the work with the Children’s books. I hem and haw about what library career I want but I think I do want to work with the kids.
Information Resources and Sources discussion
This week I had to discuss the March 2005 ALA newsletter about Enabling Learning: Proposing a Collaborative Framework for Library Staff Development. Our question was, “Is this a good staff development plan? Why? or Why not? Would it work in your library? If you are not currently working in a library, would it work in any library with which you are familiar?” I responded with:
“1) The need for achievement, 2) the need for affiliation, and 3) the need for power, or in this case, more specifically, the need to affect change.” I can understand how many jobs give people a need for power though it can be abused. I’m glad to know that in a librarians’ case it means that they have a say so in the changes made at their library. I think that would be pertinent at any library too.
“ While individuals can work to develop skills to assess and adapt their professional outlook…Advocacy can become aligned with that sense of purpose we often long for in our lives, and with that sense of service that draws many of us to the profession.” This almost makes it seem that librarians will only be fulfilled and have a sense of purpose by having to take matters into their own hands. “Some staff resist taking on the Protean role of todayʼs librarian and others are motivated but susceptible to negative ‘group think.’” Again, it seems as if this article wants the librarians to learn coping skills and know how to work well with others.
“Self-guided Assessment Tools for staff to assess and align their own needs in relation to those of the organization.” I see a red flag right there. I’ve volunteered at a library but worked at schools for years. If they wanted me to self-assess, that would cause me to think there was some kind of managerial spy tactic going on to make me have to take the blame for something that wasn’t getting done. However, “Online discussion groups or blogs for staff at all levels to share stories and resources” always are nice to have at any job. Again, thought, “’Menu for Mentoring’: a means of matching willing ‘experts’ of identified competencies and skills with eager ‘learners’” is another one that looks like it can cause problems and resentment really easily among the staff.
All in all, I just don’t think a librarian would look at this and feel like it’s something to help them. It seems like it’s something to make them take on more responsibility. They have to learn more, teach more, develop more skills, etc. While training is fine, this seems as if the whole answer to the issues within the library is to give librarians something else to do. Again, it makes it seem like they’re being called incompetent (though I know the intent isn’t as such.) Granted, as a teacher, I know we had to learn a lot and it helped our job immensely, so maybe a librarian in the field wouldn’t feel as put off my this article.
I don’t think my opinions were very well received. Granted, yes, we are all lifelong learners and patrons come to use daily for our expertise. However, it just seemed like the way to have librarians all get along and feel less stressed was to have them self-assess and learn new skills. I don’t think that’s the librarians’ main complaint. I think it’s budget, long hours, not enough hours, patron complaints, overloaded work week… That was all I was thinking; just in the mindset of a librarian already working her tail off just to be told, “now, assess yourself and we’ll have you make sure you do a better job.” Not something that would come by easily to some, I don’t think.
Children’s and YA Literature
I found YA Historical Novels on Goodreads to share for the class. This week I’m reading Chains, Catherine Called Birdy, and The Wednesday Wars. I’ll update my Unfinished Book Reviews for those books next week.