I’m not sure quite how to blog this week because this was a large and rambling topic. Normally, I would just skip the blog entry, but it’s due today, so I’ll power through and try to write something of substance.
This week’s concepts focused on the pressures in play between a library and its community. Much of the chapter was about how Librarians find out what the needs of the community are and suggests that a librarian needs to be proactive in insinuating his or herself into the essential conversations happening in their communities.
I am in a very specific track at the iSchool here at Syracuse. My degree focus is on School Media, which will put me in line to end up in a school library. One of the things that attracted me most about school librarianship (media specialism? I don’t know. SO many words.) is the structure of the community with which I will be working. School media specialists get to work with everyone–students, teachers, principals, administrators, parents and probably more people I don’t even know about yet. We can have value in many different conversations, and one big difference between a school library position and a public library position, is that the community makeup has some relative stability. I will be working with more or less the same group of people, 180 days in a row. That is something you just can’t guarantee in a public library.
I feel like this kind of stability (please don’t think I am saying that I think school libraries are stable in any other sense. I realize that they have their own set of challenges too and that even in this sense, there are exceptions to the perceived stability) will help me in the quest to figure out what my school community needs. I might actually be able to work with some of the same students for four years straight and some of the teachers for decades! I see possibility here.
Powerful innovators like Steve Jobs and Henry Ford have been quoted stating unequivocally that people simply don’t know what they want until you show them. In the Atlas it is stated that people also don’t know what they need. It is a librarian’s challenge to solve that puzzle, performing the balancing act of listening to all the stakeholders involved and coming up with a satisfactory answer/plan/system/structure/magic solution. As a school librarian, with a solid community, I hope I have a shot.