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I get by with a little help from my friends…

The Greenwalt article brings up the idea of using prompts “for examining your creative process from a new perspective.”  I’ve never thought of this before in the context of work, but I think it could be a great idea and a fantastic way to foster collaboration and teamwork in an organization.

When I was an undergraduate, I completed a joint major in Spanish and Linguistics.  The Spanish department was phenomenal, and I was fortunate enough to take poetry writing in Spanish one semester. We met twice a week, and for each meeting we were required to bring a poem we had written with us.  The prompts varied, sometimes being inspired by a topic, a specific poem, or a type of figurative language, like a metaphor or personification. I loved it so much that the next semester I took a creative writing course in Spanish.  Each week we would have two prompts: one for fiction and one for non-fiction.  Again, some were more specific than others; one week I think we were given a first sentence, while another week we might be asked to write a fantasy work.  Each one of us produced vastly different results, but we all worked from the very same prompt.  It was thrilling to see what others would come up with, ideas I never would have been able to connect to the prompt in a million years!

Smiling minion

My point here is that I have never had experience with prompts in a professional setting, or in the workplace, but I think it would be a great way to not only find fun, new ways to work together, but also to inspire each other to think outside the box.  I also think it would be an excellent way to get to know some of the coworkers we don’t have a lot of interactions with.  At the library where I work, the Circulation Department is relatively separate from Youth and Adult services; while I have gotten to know some of the Circulation Assistants because they are on the Circ desk while I am over at the Info Desk, I don’t get to know many of the Aides and Pages very well.  If we had weekly prompts that we all responded to, it would be a cool way to see their personalities shine through and give a little insight into what they’re like, especially outside of work.

The two ideas Greenwalt mentioned, like choosing the most relaxing place in the building or designing a new checkout desk sounded like fun.  The next section after Create Prompts also inspired me: Think Visually. Wouldn’t it be even more inspiring to have prompts based off of a picture? Whether each employee was in charge of bringing in a photograph on different weeks to spark ideas, or the manager sent out a picture of a space in the library, like the Teen Zone, and asked for ways to improve or change it, using a picture to push toward innovation would be great.

Excited minions

Personally, when I am working on a project and I have a vague idea of what I’m looking for, I go through pictures or pins on Pinterest until something clicks and I can move forward with my project. I am a very visual thinker and learner, so pictorial prompts are always a great way to kickstart new ideas when I need them.  I think this would be something worth trying, though I know it probably wouldn’t work for everyone.  Maybe if there was a way to combine different types of prompts, rotating the style and what type it is, that would be a way to include everyone’s learning and processing style, and to encourage collaboration and innovation in a workplace.  I work best when I can talk my ideas through with someone, bounce them around until something sticks, so if we had a way to have either an email thread where everyone discussed and contributed ideas, or a message board on our Intranet, I think we could accomplish a lot more than if we all tried to individually work out ideas or innovations to bring to the table.

Reference

Greenwalt, R. T.  (2014, February 24).  It’s all around you: Creating a culture of innovation.  Public Libraries Online.  Retrieved from http://publiclibrariesonline.org/2014/02/its-all-around-you-creating-a-culture-of-innovation/

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Who are you? Who who? Who who?

While reading The Ten Faces of Innovation this week, I found myself fascinated by the first three personas because I could see many aspects of my coworkers (and myself) in their various traits.  Even in the introductory chapter, with the brief overview of all ten personas, I was able to recognize various staff members, which made this reading extremely engaging.

One such staff member is the Youth Services Librarian I work with.  She is easily a Cross-Pollinator.  She will find some exciting project on Pinterest that is either too complicated or too expensive for the library, and she will find a way to tweak it into something feasible within our limitations, thus taking an idea and “translating it successfully to another” (Kelley & Littman, 2005, p. 68).  When I find something I want to do, or start to form an idea, I usually go track her down and bounce ideas off of her until we come up with something awesome.  I can’t count the number of times she has pulled up several different pins she saved on her Pinterest board, and then detailed ways to combine them to make something else altogether.  If that’s not a Cross-Pollinator in action, I don’t know what is.

Another staff member I work with reminds me of the Experimenter.  He is an Adult Services Librarian, but he and I form the bridge team between Youth and Adult Services that takes care of all of the teen programming at the library.  We spend a ton of time brainstorming, and when we come up with something we aren’t sure will work, he is the first to say “Let’s try it!”  Sure, sometimes it fails, but we always know what went wrong and how to make it better.  Sometimes it’s a fixable issue, and sometimes we have to reinvent our idea because it’s not something manageable. For example, next week we will be staying after hours to experiment with a program idea we want to do over the summer.  Before I get into it, a little background:

In December we ordered an Xbox 360 for our monthly gaming program. We had a really old Playstation before, but it was slowly dying an excruciating death, and every time we would try to play a game, it would pretty much freeze.  So we decided it was time for a new one, and we went with the Xbox 360.  Now the most popular game at our program was Rock Band, so we knew we would need new instruments, but they are so expensive that we had to wait until we got the budget approved to buy our own.  Just last week we were able to order everything we needed – two guitars, a drum kit, a keyboard, a second microphone, Green Day Rock Band and Rock Band 3.  All of these items are expected to be delivered by next Wednesday.  On Friday we are going to attempt to hook everything up to the PA system in the library.  When we did an after hours teen event (Life-Size Clue) in January, after a period of trial and error we were able to find the right way to hook my iPod into the system and have music playing throughout the library but still be able to make announcements over it when necessary.  We are going to have a video game tournament over the summer, and while that is going in the meeting room, we want to have another setup out in the library for kids to play while waiting their turn. And what better game than Rock Band to not only play, but to hook up through the system.  We are pulling out all the stops, and we are going to try to project it onto the giant white wall near the PA system, hook up the speakers and sound, and have a giant Rock Band broadcast in the library.  Do we know if it will work? No. Is he willing to give it everything and experiment with the different tools, cords, and equipment we have available? For sure.  I’m just along for the ride. (And I may get to sing “Say It Ain’t So” over the loud speakers… Definitely an added bonus for me).

Dean Eye of the Tiger Dean Eye of the Tiger 2 Dean Eye of the Tiger 3

I could go on for pages about the different personas I see embodied in my coworkers at the library, but I won’t. We have 21 staff members, and I don’t want to bore everyone with all the little connections my brain is making.  However I do want to talk about one more person. Me! (Not to sound too full of myself).  As I was reading the first chapter, I found myself strongly identifying with the Anthropologist.  I love to observe.  I love to insert myself with people, get to know them, find out what makes them tick.  And above all, I love love LOVE to talk to people.  I want to know what they’re interested in, what they watch/read/listen to, and what they wish they had opportunities to do.  I think this is a large part of why I like teens so much: I know we have the capacity to do things they’re interested in, we just haven’t figured out what that is yet.  And I am on a mission. During my monthly book discussion group, once we have spent the obligatory time talking about books, I try to steer the conversation to music and movies and video games, and then I like to sit back and just take notes.  I often “offer something about myself” (p. 30) to help put them at ease and make myself relatable, and I always, ALWAYS want to “make them laugh” (p. 31).  These are some of the best ways to observe kids, according to Kelley and Littman (2005), and it’s exactly the same with teens.  They want someone to hang out with and who at least tries to relate.  Once they get talking, it’s like they almost forget there is an adult in the room (I suppose it also helps most of them are taller than me), and they’ll talk about most anything.  By helping them feel free to express themselves, I am able to learn more about their interests and hobbies, and I can use that to create better programming that is more suited to their needs.  I learned that they wanted programs after the library was closed.  When we offered the Clue program I mentioned earlier, we got 18 teens to come.  The average number of teens at a program is 7-9, so we felt really good about that.  That being said, I also have a little bit of an Experimenter in me.  If I see something online that I want to try, I am not afraid to grab the materials and make it.  I found two tutorials on origami butterflies, so I bookmarked them, grabbed a bunch of different sizes and varying thicknesses of square pieces of paper, and spent an hour on desk making butterflies between helping patrons with various needs, until I decided which process seemed easier and until I found the paper I thought worked best.  Now it’s something I have down, and will use at a future program. At first when I read the introduction with the descriptions of the different personas, I was worried that I would have to pick just one. So naturally I found it extremely gratifying that Kelley and Littman pointed out that these personas are not set in stone, because I saw a little bit of myself in each of these chapters.

References

Kelley, T., & Littman, J. (2005).  The ten faces of innovation: IDEO’s strategies for beating the devil’s advocate & driving creativity throughout your organization.  New York, NY: Doubleday.

Time to say goodbye…

Wow.  This week we listened to the 99% Invisible podcast about the end of EA Land, Game Over.  I was blown away by the emotions that poured out of the users over this game drawing to a close.  Blown away, but not surprised. Yes, this is an online community, and some people may argue it was “just a game,” but since it was such a hugely social space, losing it must have felt like losing all of your friends.  Watching the farewell video and listening to the very emotional response of the DJ made me really feel for them.  I personally do not have an online experience like that which I can compare to this group of people, but I can certainly try to imagine what it must feel like. It must be heartbreaking.  After years of socializing in this space, growing attached and making connections, to have it taken away must be awful.  (I don’t know if any of you have read the Esther Earl biography, This Star Won’t Go Out, but this online community sort of reminded me of the group she was involved with, Catitude, which was entirely online but also extremely close.)

Crying Llama                Go softly

When I was listening to the DJ talking about his experience and playing “Time to Say Goodbye” by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman, I’m not going to lie, I was definitely tearing up. I can’t help it!!! Hah, I’m definitely too empathetic for my own good.

Gus Crying

Also, I remember when the whole Sims Online thing started. At the time I loved the games but was not allowed to play the online version because my parents were worried about online predators and whatnot (I believe it started in 2002… I would have still been in middle school). I have always wanted to be a part of something big like this online, because I think being able to share a space, make connections, and build lasting friendships would be amazing. I’ve just never actually done it…

Honestly, when something like this happens, I think the game makers are responsible for explaining why this is happening and making the announcement early enough for users to feel like they have adequate time to say goodbye and make peace with their time drawing to a close.  Especially in a situation where a game is predominately social: it’s not something they should be allowed to just rip away from users.  If they let them know early enough, the users are able to swap contact information and look for somewhere else online to hang out.  At the same time, if it’s not making the money it needs to sustain itself, I can understand why they would close it down.

As I was listening to the podcast, I realized that this reminded me of when television shows with major fandoms get cancelled or end.  It’s a little different, because it’s not a game, and it’s not something you are using each night to talk to others, but at the same time, it kind of is, in a different way. Hardcore fandom-ers are the ones who are logging on to forums and fanfiction sites and truly immersing themselves into the world of the fandom. And they’re the ones anxiously awaiting the next episode so they can call their friends or log onto online discussion forums as soon as it ends and debate and socialize with all the others who are out there fangirling (or fanboying) over the show.

Potter Puppet Pals

When something ends (I’m looking at you Joss), the fan response is outrageous in how wholeheartedly people stand behind something.  So while this podcast focused on the Sims, and the game, I don’t think it is a unique reaction. Yes, the Sims is a game, and what I am talking about are television shows or book series, but it has the same open-ended concept (to an extent).  I think in its own way, this group of people became their own little fandom: they were completely immersed in a world outside of their own, they were connecting with others with the same shared interest, and they were taking part in a larger story. If that doesn’t sound like a fandom, I don’t know what does.

Samwise Gamgee

I have written you down, now you will live forever

According to the Clive Thompson article, “we compose some 3.6 trillion words every day on email and social media – the equivalent of 36 million books.”  This blew me away.  36 million books a day?! That’s insane! Then I started thinking about who we write for, and if that can influence what we write.

Book Gif

After thinking for a while, I realized that I feel audience absolutely influences content creation… most of the time.  For example, if I am writing an email to my supervisor, it will have a completely different tone than if I am shooting off an email to one of my friends.  If I am updating my Facebook status, I will use a completely different style and attitude than if I am writing a research paper for school.  And the main thing that differs in each case is the audience: if I am writing something to a person in some form of authority (professor, supervisor), I am going to use professional language and double (maybe even triple) check my grammar, spelling, and punctuation.  If I am writing something for fun (a personal email, a status my friends will see), I may be less inclined to recheck carefully how it sounds, and I am more likely to use slang, emojis, or excessive punctuation (yes, I sometimes tend to over-emphasize with question marks and exclamation points, I just can’t help myself). So I suppose I do bow to “the audience effect” (Thompson, 2013).

However, this is not always going to be the case.  There will always be exceptions.  There are some things I prepare for the same way no matter what I expect from the audience.  For example, a live presentation.  The first two things that come to mind are my weekly toddler story times, and the booktalks I prepare for my teen program, Pizza and Paperbacks (bribe them with pizza, make them talk about books, you get the gist).  For story time, I always prep a general outline beforehand, with a list of songs, books, fingerplays, and stretches I want to incorporate.  I put them in a rough order, but it’s not something I’m married to, I will change things and add them as I go, depending on the audience… So I guess I’m still letting audience dictate how I create my story time: it usually tends to go something like the more people there are, the less book reading there is (more songs though, definitely more songs).  My story times range from 30-70 people (parents and toddlers included), so I have to let the audience decide how my time is best spent. So maybe that is not the best example…  On the other hand, the booktalks.  I think this is a solid example of not letting my audience affect my creation (the booktalk). Each month I host my book club, and I know I need to present two booktalks to get it started.  So, a couple of days before the event, I think about what I’ve read recently, and I pick my two favorite books, and write booktalks.  Since it’s for teens, I do try to pick YA books. So I suppose audience is limiting my book selection a little. Hmm. Aside from that though, I don’t try to tailor it too much to the group.  I get up to 15 teens, both genders (lately twice as many boys as girls), but my only goal is to try to cover various genres throughout the year.  When I prepped a booktalk for the summer reading workshop, I used the exact same process as I do for my teens, even though I was presenting to adults, and I am currently developing a one-hour workshop session where I will be booktalking a variety of books, and I am preparing the same way I would for any booktalks with any audience.

So I think the point I am trying to make in this rambling post is this: for the most part, I do believe audience influences content creation, but there will always be an exception to the rule.  Whether it is something you’re writing, performing, or presenting, you want to know your audience so you can create something that will hold their interest.  You don’t want to go through all of this work, and have no one interested in what you have to share.

Book glasses

 

Reference

Thompson, C.  (2013, September).  Thinking out loud: How successful networks nurture good ideas. Wired.  Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/2013/09/how-successful-networks-nurture-good-ideas-2/all/

Watching Harry Potter, feeling fly like it’s Quidditch…

I am no stranger to the wonderful world of fandoms.  I follow many, many fandom pages on various social media sites, and I am very involved in more fandoms than I should admit.  So you can imagine my excitement when I saw the article we were going to be reading about fandoms by Katie Behrens.  And when deciding what to write about and include in this week’s post, I had some serious fangirl moments.

Lois_PassLois_Christmas Here I am as Lois Lane. Being a fangirl, and all that jazz, for Halloween my junior year of college.  I made that press pass myself by taking the ones they used on Smallville and editing it and changing things until it was perfect for my costume.

Let me start off by talking about fandoms in the library.  I have now been working in the Youth Services department at my library for 10 months. And for 10 months, I have basically been given free reign with the teen programming.  I love working with teens.  I do.  I love talking to them, I love hanging out with them, and I love learning about their interests; I know they are an often under-represented group, and I want them to feel at home at the library.  One way to do that is to bring in the fandoms.

Katie Behrens made a very important statement when talking about how teens are a large percentage of fandom participants:

“Teens make up a huge portion of fandom creators and consumers, and the teenage years are when a person is most likely to find the world of fandom. A fandom is a community – a group of people who all love the same thing(s).  Online fandoms are often safe spaces for teenagers to explore identity and sexuality without the fear of ridicule from peers.”

This really hits the nail on the head.  The teenage years are a very difficult time, especially socially.  You want to fit in, but you also want to be yourself.  Fandoms are a place to connect with like-minded people.  You can be a crazy fangirl and not be judged by others or worry that people will think you’re too extreme or obsessive; they are just as insane as you are.  Honestly, I wish I had been more involved in the world of fandoms as a teen, I think I would have been much happier.  I will just have to be content in the knowledge that I am a super-fangirl now, and I will make up for lost time.  Using fandoms in a library setting lets teens know it’s okay to be passionate about something, and it also lets them know that there are others out there like them. I think fandom programming has been some of the most successful in drawing out the shy teens and helping them to let loose, be themselves, and connect with people they never thought they had anything in common with.

The library system I work for does a phenomenal job of implementing various fandom cultures into our programming.  Last summer the biggest hit was the Doctor Who party; Whovians of different communities came together and partied it up, making Tardis cookies and Weeping Angel masks and more! I personally did not have the pleasure of attending one of the parties, but I know they were talked about for weeks after.  In the past, there have been fandom clubs, Percy Jackson events, and Harry Potter parties as well, and I know those have often been for all ages, because people of all ages are fans.  One of the staff members from another library was telling me about how at her Harry Potter party everyone is sorted into houses and throughout the program she does trivia and you can get house points by answering correctly; the harder the question, the more points.  She also said the teams that gets the moms on them often win because they crush the hard trivia questions.  This goes to show that fandoms include everyone, not just teens.

Sam fangirling Deadn fangirling

One of the biggest events, which I have both volunteered at (before I was hired), worked at (after I was hired), and am now planning (I was added to the committee), is something we called LibrAnimeCon.  As the name implies, this was a Con aimed at the anime/manga community.  And it has been a huge, HUGE hit.  Last year we got more than 100 teens.  The Cosplay contest had over 40 participants.  Many of them made their own costumes.  We had everything from Sailor Moon to The Joker, and it was amazing.  I have never seen so many teens in one place, having fun, bonding over their shared love of all things anime.  Teens who didn’t even know each other were smiling and laughing together by the end of the evening, because they got to just be themselves.

Libranime I, too, got into the Cosplaying spirit.  This is from the year I volunteered.

This summer we are expanding it to hit all the popular fandoms, comics, etc., and I couldn’t be more thrilled.  I just co-wrote the manual on how to run a comic con with another staff member, and have already begun fielding questions from people at other branches who also want to do this.  Fandoms are catching!  We, as library staff, have a responsibility to provide our patrons with opportunities to share and explore the things they love.

“Fans are different from the average reader/watcher/gamer, though; they are not satisfied to just passively consume media.  A fan of Harry Potter doesn’t just read the books penned by Rowling herself – oh no, she climbs right into the world and plays there.” (Behrens, 2012)

By bringing these fandoms to life, we open the door for creativity and connection among our patrons.  For them, we make the library a little brighter, a little more welcoming, and a lot more fun.

Bellatrix And here is the Bellatrix version of me.  Did I mention I get all fangirly?

If you’re wondering about the title of my post, it is actually from a Youtube parody of the song “Like a G6,” called “Like It’s Quidditch” <– You should check out that link.  I find it very catchy. And yes, I know all of the lyrics.

Photo 139 Midnight release! Woo!!

Reference

Behrens, K.  (2012,  November 16).  Why you should pay attention to fandoms [blog].  The Library as Incubator Project.  Retrieved from http://www.libraryasincubatorproject.org/?p=7618

Sam and Dean Blooper

Ch-ch-ch-changes

There is no denying that libraries are changing with the times.  While people were once (and some still are) content to sit and listen to a lecture, the more hands-on activities always get much greater attendance and generate a lot more interest.  The 4th Floor at the Chattanooga Public Library, the Labrary in Cambridge, and the Idea Box are just a few examples of changes libraries are making to be much more participatory-oriented and user-focused, as opposed to the traditional lecture-style spectating experiences.

While I personally have never had the opportunity to go to any of these amazing makerspaces, I have had the great pleasure to go to EMP, or Experience Music Project, in Seattle.  EMP has experience in the name, and it does not disappoint.  Every exhibit you go into has some element of participation, whether it’s the interactive touchscreen quiz in the Fantasy: Worlds of Myths and Legends exhibit to discover which fantasy archetype you are (I can’t remember now, but I was either The Fool or The Unlikely Hero…), the sound booth in the We Are 12 exhibit for the Seahawks, which gives you and a partner an opportunity to try to run a play while simulating how loud the stadium is when all the Seahawks fans are cheering (hint: it’s so loud it feels like your eardrums might shatter), or recording tunes with your friends in the Jam Studio, which provides the instruments and recording equipment which you can use to make (and later share) your very own song.  EMP has no lack of opportunities for creativity; the Sound Lab, which includes the Jam Studio, is one of the coolest and most participatory experiences you can have – it has everything from electric guitars and drums to samplers and mixing consoles, and the users get to play with it all!!

The point that I’m trying to make, is that participatory learning, for me at least, is a far more meaningful and engaging way to learn.  The more hands-on I can be with something, the more I learn from it.  I will never forget what it was like to try to run a play shouting over the Seahawks fans (my friend and I only successfully did it one of the two times we tried).  When I have taken various trainings through my library system, I have retained more of what I learned when we were given time to practice than when I sat and took notes while the presenters were speaking.  I’m not opposed to this, by any means.  There is a time and a place for lectures and listening, but for something like reference (a training I took a few months ago), I found the mock reference interviews we did were much more helpful and more valuable than reading through the steps that are recommended.  By being able to have a hand in my learning, I retained more because the more you practice, the more ingrained it becomes in your routine!

Here are a couple of pictures I have from my visit to EMP.  With the Superbowl just around the corner, these seemed like relevant photos:

This is my foot compared to Russell Okung’s shoe… He apparently wears a size 17! I, obviously, do not:

Russell Okung's shoe comparison

And this is my hand compared to Russell Wilson’s… It looks so small!!

Russell WIlson's hand comparison

Can we do it? Yes we can!

“Alone we can do so little;  together we can do so much.”

– Helen Keller

Teamwork.  Both Ken Haycock and Enid Irwin recognize how much we, as students, dread it.  Haycock goes so far as to say that “working in teams seems to be the bane of every student’s existence.”  We’ve all been there.  A group project where we had to pull the weight of someone else who just can’t be bothered to contribute.  After that, I think the idea of group projects is ruined.  When I found out that there were group projects in both 202 and 204, I was horrified.  How would that be possible in an online learning environment?

I scored above a 45 on the San Diego Community College survey, so in theory I am ready for online learning.  But just because I am computer literate and comfortable online, does that really mean I’m ready?  I know I have the computer skills.  That was never a concern for me.  I knew when I was looking I wanted to do an online program because there is more flexibility in scheduling.  My only concerns with an online program (aside from group work) were self motivation and time management.  However, I have found that when I am working toward something I love, I am extremely self motivated.  I found during my undergraduate years that the classes I was most motivated to complete early were the classes that I was excited about.  I know the end results of this program are to get my MLIS degree and work toward becoming a librarian.  So motivation isn’t really an issue.  But time management was a concern.  I am not always the best at sticking to a certain time frame, but one of the first things I did once I started was create folders for school information and for each class.  Then I bought a planner, and on the first day of classes I went through and added all of my reading assignments and homework due dates, and that has been one of the most helpful things I have to manage my time.  I feel pretty successful at time management, I have the motivation to do the work, and I am extremely comfortable in an online environment. So while I know I can handle the setup of taking online classes, how does that translate to working in groups?

As Enid Irwin recognized, the lack of control is one of the biggest problems with group projects.  Not having a way to meet physically perpetuates this lack of control we feel.  Luckily, there are a lot of ways we can try to take back some control and learn to function as a successful online team.  I think it all starts with communication.  Both Haycock and Irwin discuss clear communication.  As SJSU students we are lucky – we have quite a few resources at our disposal to communicate with other students.  First, we have Blackboard IM.  The group chat function is great because not only can we all be online talking, but we can save the transcripts.  Next, we have Collaborate.  We have the ability to have, and record, a group conference, we can use the whiteboard to get points across, and it is as close as we can get to physically meeting.  Another thing we all have are gmail accounts.  In 203 we all needed to set them up in order to use Google Docs, so that’s another easy way to communicate and easily share the work we are all doing together.  In my group for 202, two of the members were editing our document at the same time, and found they were able to use Google Chat and discuss what they were doing, so we have decided we might use that for communication in the future – that way we can all make changes and talk while we’re doing it.  Last, we have the discussion boards each teacher has set up for our specific groups, which is a great way to get the process going and get to know each other.  Of course there are many web services that are available, like Skype, among others, that can be used for communication, but within our program, there are already 4 great ways to communicate.

I think one of the most important points Haycock made is that “effective teams start with self awareness.”  How can you be a successful team member without knowing your limitations?  Irwin also talked about the importance of learning the skills of the members in your group.  One of the first things my 202 group did was list what our strongest skills were and where we felt we were lacking.  It was helpful to get it all out there.  I think Margaret Carty summed up group work nicely when she said “the nice thing about teamwork is that you always have the others on your side.”  We need to remember that we are not enemies, and that we are all working toward a common goal.  Teamwork doesn’t have to be scary or stressful.

There are many ways to prepare for online learning, and more specifically, working in teams.  Both Ken Haycock and Enid Irwin gave us many great tips to get started, and I have found myself referring back to their lectures a few times since the semester has started.  I believe I will be a successful online student, and hope to be a contributing member of some great teams throughout the course of this program!

On my way!

“Google can bring you back 100,000 answers.  A librarian can bring you back the right one.”

– Neil Gaiman

I think Neil Gaiman has accurately summed up one of the most exciting aspects of librarianship – helping people to get what they need.  I believe it is the best feeling in the world to help people, and in this day and age with the overwhelming amount of information that is out there, there needs to be someone who can sift through everything and show others the way to what they’re looking for.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to wade through pages upon pages of Google’s results to my inquiry, only to get frustrated when I can’t find what I’ve been looking for.  Being a librarian of course is about books, and I have so much love for books, but it’s also about information.  It says it in our degree title – Library and Information Sciences.  I think the information part is often overlooked when people first think about librarians – many people just think of them as the rule enforcers in the library telling people to shh.  But that’s not all there is. Not by a long-shot.  And I can’t wait to be able to bring back answers for people who need my help.

Magic

“A well-composed book is a magic carpet on which we are wafted to a world that we cannot enter in any other way.”

– Caroline Gordon

Simply put, books are the magic in our reality.  They can transport you to another time, another place, another universe.  They can make you anyone or anything you want to be.  They can make you feel anything and everything.

I have loved books for as long as I can remember, and probably longer than that.  I think they are the greatest thing man has ever done.  This love has lead me to so many times and places; I’ve gone into battle, I’ve flown among the clouds, I’ve fallen in love, I’ve experienced great loss.  Nothing can make me feel better than picking up a book and getting lost in that world.  I know that what I read may not be real, but for a time it is my reality. And I can say I’ve lived.

All of these feelings about books have lead me here, to embarking down the road to becoming a librarian.  I love to share my thoughts about books, and nothing makes me happier than successfully recommending a book to someone who is in need of a little help.  I don’t know exactly where this blog will take me, but I hope to include quotes, share ideas, and post reviews of books I have read.

Books are my paradise.  I look forward to letting you all in.