Hack the Lib?
February 22, 2011 § 3 Comments
I have followed the HackLibSchool project since the beginning. You may ask why, since I have not been an LIS student for nearly two years. There are two reasons.
First and foremost, I find the project particularly engaging and inspiring. I love the conversations that have come out of it. I love the inclusiveness of the community. I therefore embraced the idea wholeheartedly, and never gave the particulars any thought.
Second, I believe that learning is never finished. I didn’t go to library school to learn all there is to know about being a librarian, and then go out into the world with my newly acquired degree, ignoring new developments or new viewpoints on old arguments. I readily admit that I often still don’t know which end is up; I am still in the business of making sense of the world and the issues in my chosen profession, and I hope I always will be. We are all still students.
Communities such as HLS are important to all dedicated professionals, but I think it is particularly important to engage in them if, like me, you find yourself employed outside of the profession, or unemployed for a time. Considering the most recent information about graduate employment, finding yourself in this situation is likely. In my life as an administrative assistant (who happens to be the sole staff member of a library), I appreciate reading fellow librarians’ blog and Twitter posts immensely because they keep the issues of the profession in the forefront of my mind. I learn everyday from the people who share what they are learning, reading and thinking. I participate in other fantastic communities, such as this one on EdWeb.net (where, by the way, they have also welcomed me, though I really don’t fit that demographic either). The beauty of HLS is it’s commitment to connecting across the profession.
I hope that everyone who is involved in this project will continue to engage other librarians on a similar level after leaving their respective programs. Being a new librarian is difficult at times. It can be frustrating. We don’t fit smoothly into scenes like HLS, and ALA can still seem too ginormous to contemplate engaging (although a few intrepid souls dive right in). We don’t have years of experience on the job, and are often encountering issues or ideas for the first time as a professional. Sometimes established librarians don’t engage with us readily. It is important to continue conversations like those that take place at HLS as we enter the field. If such participation cannot be in the form of HLS, perhaps a further effort on a similar vein is in order? Is the world ready for HackTheLib? Does such a thing already exist in all but name?