Hyperlinked Library Blog #6 Reflective Practice
This week’s module on reflective practice is serendipitous as I suddenly find myself at a crossroads. I am worried about the future, about making the right choices and moving forward without regret. Many baby steps toward change sometimes lead to a precipice. Clinging to the familiar leads nowhere but taking the plunge can feel overwhelming. In the description for this module on reflective practice, Dr. Stephens writes about finding balance and making the right decisions. He talks about reflecting on why we came to librarianship and how we can better serve our communities by being our best selves (2018). So, for just a few moments, instead of staring into an unknown future, I will reflect.
I came to librarianship as a means of using my skills as a music teacher to affect a broader community. I love to help people discover new skills, abilities, pathways, and knowledge. I like to teach people how to learn. I also love to make things, write things, and play with things. I like collaborating and I like being a learner.
In 2015, I enrolled in the MLIS program at San Jose, just to dabble and see what librarianship was all about. That first class nearly did me in but, for some reason, I kept going. I had two-year-old twins and a seven-year-old so I plodded along taking one class per semester, working as a musician, and volunteering in the library world. In 2017, I got my first paid (barely) library job as an assistant in a K-12 school library. In 2018, a week after the Hyperlinked Library class began, I found myself as interim librarian for that school, filling in for several months. In November, I began working in my first public library role as a reference librarian. By this time next year, I hope to have my degree.
So, in four years, there’s been a lot of change. And now there is a more monumental decision to be made. For many practical reasons, my family is considering moving from our beloved 20-year home in the Bay Area back to Chicago. We want to care for our ageing parents and there’s the hope of a much more affordable mortgage, which means our kids might go to college. We would even be able to travel (the only place we ever go right now is Chicago). As my husband pointed out, I’m transitioning anyway. Why not add Chicago libraries to my endless application process?
While I have put a great deal of energy into networking here in the Bay Area, I feel that the next step might be to find a way to connect with librarians in Chicago. In his lecture for this module, Dr. Stephens quoted Casey Ceb who noted, “some of our closest friends and most significant professional connections are people we’ve only ever met on the Internet” (as quoted by Stephens, 2018). In the spirit of the Hyperlinked Library, I have a feeling that forging new connections may shed light on my decision.
I have never participated in a profession that is as universally connected as librarianship. This course has introduced us to inspiring, participatory library practices all over the world. This gives me hope that, despite the weather in Chicago, I may find fulfillment in doing what I love. As for reflection: when the forward motion feels particularly overwhelming, reflection particularly through writing, helps ground the momentum. It can validate our experience and organize the chaos that accompanies possibility.
PS. If anyone has ideas about making library connections in Chicago, especially the North shore, I’d be most grateful.
PSS. I do love Lake Michigan.
Stephens, M. (2018). Reflective Practice. Retrieved from https://sjsu-ischool.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=2f5a47d1-47a8-400e-afa2-dca5a0416313