Library School: Sucked Down the Hole

books-20167_640It’s only been two weeks since my graduate program started at the University of Pittsburgh, but I already feel completely immersed and totally sucked in. That is the nature of fast-paced graduate programs, and mine is only a year so we really are moving at warp speed. Since I’m incredibly busy and don’t have quite as much time to devote to writing or watching Hitchcock films or reading books for the Shameful Book Club (still trying though), I really want to try to at least write about my LIS experience.

I’m taking classes in academic libraries, digital technology services, information technology, children’s resources, and understanding information. Some of these classes are easier in order to help us all get on the same level, and some of them are pretty intense. Regardless, I have a full plate. What’s really pleasantly surprising to me is how quickly I’m absorbing and embracing some of the topics I thought I would hate, such as coding and digital libraries.

I went into this thinking I would come out on the other end and jump into a public library (which I might still do and am still interested in doing), but now I find myself growing interested in digital libraries and services much more than I expected. Perhaps the Digital Public Library of America might be a place worth looking at for me? And through projects working with a Raspberry PI, I’m determined to become a strong coder and web developer in addition to a bad ass librarian. Coding and a familiarity with digital technology is pretty vital if you want to be successful as a librarian, but I also think it’s necessary to know as a human in 21st century. And if I want to contribute to the world and my profession, I think there is no excuse for me not to be able to build a website from scratch.

1I’m almost embarrassed at how much my world is expanding, because it means I had such little knowledge about this stuff going into it. We recently had to write a discussion response to a video about Google Books and the legal battle that was fought for years (here’s an ALA page about it if you want to learn more) by authors and publishers against the project, and it kind of blew my mind. The things I had never considered, and the opinions I found myself forming, were all surprising to me. Just to be clear, there are a lot of controversial issues with Google Books, and what upsets me the most about it is the monopoly of information it could create. If you want to talk about it, I’d be more than happy to get into it with you.

I’ve always been someone who kind of wants to jump into a fight. Not that I engage in bar fights on the reg. If I did, however, this would be a handy guide:

But I do believe in the whole “be the change you want to see in the world” thing. If there is a cause that I’m passionate about, I want to get involved in it and advocate for it. I thought my cause in libraries was helping close the digital divide and fighting information illiteracy, but now I’m being exposed to so many other causes and issues surrounding the bigger picture: keeping information free and easily accessible in a non-biased context for everyone to be able to consume and enrich their lives with. There is a serious fight there. Multiple fights, actually, and I’m in a great position to decide how I want to engage in those fights by deciding which classes to take and which experiences to go after.

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Obviously my world view is changing every day. I’ve learned more in the first two weeks of grad school than I did in a full year of undergrad. I’m pretty interested to see what a year in this program does to me. I’ll try to blog about my experiences and emerging thoughts as I go, and hopefully this will generate some interesting discussion!

 

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