Thing 12 of 23 – Putting the social into social media

August 15, 2011 Leave a comment

In the 12th of the 23 Things for Professional Development online course, we’re asked to discuss “putting the social into social media.”  Some of the suggested topics to consider are:

  • are there any other advantages to social networking in the context of professional development than those already outlined below?
  1. social networking can lead to better communication between individuals who may or may not have the chance to meet otherwise
  2. it creates a more collaborative working space as people are encouraged to share ideas
  3. it aids in building online communities, which can then turn into real-life communities. This was highlighted by Things 6 and 7 of CPD23. During week five of the program many real-life and virtual meet ups were organized by participants, taking an online community into the real world
  4. social networking can provide easy access to other fields of the profession.
  • can you think of any disadvantages?
  • has CPD23 helped you to make contact with others that you would not have had contact with normally?
  • did you already use social media for your career development before starting CPD23? Will you keep using it after the programme has finished?
  • in your opinion does social networking really help to foster a sense of community?

Another advantage not listed above is fostering communication among committees created off-line, who may meet face-to-face once in a while, which have been created for a specific purpose, and a social networking space continues the work of the committee without the cost and time of travel.  In my specific case, our state library and district offices state-wide are undergoing a reorganization, and I’ve resuscitated two advisory councils, one for children’s librarians and one for young adult (teen) librarians.   These groups will serve in advisory capacities, helping to determine continuing education needs, engaging in advocacy, and fostering relationships and encouraging professional development among the youth services librarians  in the geographic areas which they represent.  This is essentially the reverse of point three, with a specific purpose for point two.

CPD23 has given me the impetus to connect–and in some cases reconnect–with colleagues around the U.S.–and in a couple of instances, internationally.  This is particularly true within LinkedIn, a tool I haven’t used much, as much of my connecting, even among friends I’ve come to know through my profession, is through Facebook.  I’m enjoying the conversations in LinkedIn on the discussion groups I’ve joined, although I have little time to engage in the conversations.  It’s also helped me to reconsider the use of Twitter, although I’m still looking for specific ways of using Twitter for professional communication.  I also have begun looking at Library 2.0 in a new light as well, although again–time limitations are the problem here.

Yes–social networking definitely helps to foster community–as well as a sense of community.  The more time I spend in social media settings, the more my identity changes and expands to include my online personae, as I have several of them, depending on the network in which I’m operating.  This is not to say that I falsely present myself–just that I present different aspects of self and develop or expand relationships in different ways.  I belong to a “secret” group on Facebook that is great fun and is very important to me in terms of my relationships with people in the group, most of whom I have known for more than 20 years, but are people I don’t see regularly.  We keep in touch through this group and are getting together face-to-face in the near future.  The face-to-face get-together wouldn’t have happened without the Facebook group.

Thing 11 of 23–Mentorship

August 10, 2011 Leave a comment

Throughout my career as a librarian, I have had mentors along the way.  The first formal mentoring relationship I experienced was during my time in library school.  The Illinois Library Association offered a mentoring program, and Jack Hurwitz, who was then the director of the Hinsdale Public Library, became my mentor.  He taught me a great deal about public library directorship, and although I have yet to experience that particular position, I have been a director in a large high school library, and in an academic library.  Those points that Jack shared with me translated into other types of libraries.

As my career has progressed, I have had the opportunity to work with outstanding people in the profession and have learned a great deal from them as our paths have crossed.  I currently have the privilege of working with some outstanding professionals at the State Library of Iowa, and they are both colleagues and role models.

I am now able to mentor other librarians and to develop programs for them that help them to expand and grow professionally.  It’s an extremely rewarding component of my work.

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Thing 10 of 23–My path into librarianship

August 2, 2011 Leave a comment

As a citizen of the United States, I attended the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois.  I worked full-time at the American Library Association while I took my library courses in the evening; I also got a certificate qualifying me as a school librarian.  This path took 3.5 years, but I was able to complete my MLIS completely debt-free.  I came into the program with a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Chicago; while I initially intended to pursue a career as a special librarian, I’ve been a school librarian, an academic librarian, and a museum librarian–and have worked a total of five years as a regional and state-wide consultant in youth services.  I’ve been in the profession for 20 years, and I love my work.

Libraries and the services and resources they provide are integral to American culture, and my work is now primarily with public libraries–although some of my work is with school libraries.  While I believe digital resources are  important offerings libraries can provide to the various communities they serve, libraries as place–with their programs, print resources, computers, and other media remain important.  As someone who serves both urban and rural communities, I believe libraries remain as important as ever in maintaining at least an opportunity for an evening playing field to both children and adults who don’t have access to computers in their homes, early literacy programs, summer reading programs, and being a source of information and recreation to all citizens.

I decided to become a librarian after working in several other fields, and it’s a decision I’ve never regretted.  It’s a profession that allows me to be of service to others in a meaningful way, throughout the entire human life span, and for that privilege, I’m very appreciate and grateful.

Thing 9 of 23–Evernote

August 2, 2011 Leave a comment

I’ve had an Evernote account for several years–have it on two computers and my iPhone, and I use it occasionally.  When I attend conferences, I put the conference schedule in Evernote, referring to it on my iPhone during the day, and planning for my schedule for the following day from my laptop in my hotel room.  I generally use Delicious for saving websites, which also has a note-taking capability, but I’m going to practice using Evernote, especially as a possible tool for planning my continuing education sessions–I am beginning to see uses for it for assembling webpages, etc. from which I can make slides for webinars.

Thing 8 of 23–Google Calendar

August 2, 2011 Leave a comment

I have a Google calendar but haven’t used it because my organization uses Microsoft Outlook, and I have my calendar on my iPhone, which incorporates both home and work.  However, I took another look at Google Calendar, and have some upcoming projects with librarians around the State of Iowa, and I can see how we can use Google Calendar to collectively track projects and schedule task forces, etc.  I’ve practiced adding an event and have added my Google Calendar to my iPhone (done in Settings).  It’s an additional tool to track various projects, and I’m looking forward to using it more frequently.

Thing 6 of 23–Online networks

July 20, 2011 Leave a comment

Online networks are something I use every day.  Facebook is becoming more of a mixture of friends and professional contacts, although I’m careful who I “friend.” I also belong to a couple of “secret” groups on Facebook, supposedly invisible to those who are not members.  I actually don’t even remember when I joined–2006 or 2007, and I use it to keep up with friends in a central place.  I have a friend who has set up a professional network on Facebook, but I prefer to keep it for personal contacts and have not responded to her invitation to join that group.

I use LinkedIn less but lessons in this course have given me some ideas on using it in more and better ways professionally.  I enhanced my profile (although still have to add an updated resume) and have enlarged my circles of contacts on LinkedIn recently.  I’ve joined some of the groups on LinkedIn but have less time than I’d like to participate in those discussions, since my work-related professional responsibilities must take priority.  However, it’s occurred to me that LinkedIn could be a good place for communities of practice/discussion groups with some of the groups of librarians with whom I work.

I’ve recently joined Google+, and while there aren’t enough people whom I know yet who have joined (with invitations from me, since they don’t seem to understand that they need to set up a Google account in order to participate), but it has some interesting features–and should give Facebook some competition down the line to improve its product.

I’m still making my way through Jaron Lanier’s book, You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto, which has gotten me to think in different ways about software lock-down and the limiting effects these networks can have on us cognitively.  As a result of my slow reading of this book (it’s a challenging read), I’m beginning to use these tools somewhat differently–to see them as tools with which I can extend my identity, not as part of my identity itself.

Thing 7 of 23–Professional Organizations

July 20, 2011 Leave a comment

My experiences with professional organizations have been uniformly positive.  I began my career in the library field by seeking out a position at the American Library Association.  I started in an administrative assistant’s position with the Association of College and Research Libraries, while I worked on my MLS part-time at Dominican University’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science in River Forest, Illinois (USA).  I completed the degree 3.5 years later, along with the certification to be a school library media specialist.  During that time, I also was promoted to managing the publications programs of two of ALA’s youth services divisions, the American Association of School Librarians, and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA).  While in library school, I joined ALA and also joined the Illinois Library Association, which at the time had an excellent mentoring program.  Jack Hurwitz, who was then the director of the Hinsdale, Illinois Public Library, was my mentor and taught me a great deal about public library directorship.  I wanted to try school librarianship for a while, though, and worked for two years as a high school librarian in the Chicago Public Schools.  I then moved to California and for a year worked at Stanford University, organizing a department library for the Biochemistry Department.  For the four years following that, I worked in educational software companies and did not maintain my ALA membership.

However, when I returned to Illinois and accepted a position as youth services consultant with one of the regional library systems, I rejoined ALA and ILA.  I’m now the youth services consultant for the State Library of Iowa and am a member of ALA and two of its youth services divisions, YALSA and the Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC), as well as the Iowa Library Association.

These organizations’ conferences, regular communications, and other continuing education opportunities (both face-to-face and online) have been and continue to be invaluable.  They have enabled me to advance professionally, to continue to be a lifelong learner, and to better serve youth services and school librarians with whom I’ve worked in both Illinois and Iowa.  Additionally, they have given me networks of friends with whom I share professional and personal interests.

I’ve recently begun serving on two committees, one in YALSA and one in ALSC, and I work with the Youth Services Section of the Iowa Library Association.  I hope to give something back to the organizations that give so much to me.