Following the path of one assistant into full librarianship
A library can be used for many things. Recreational reading, internet access, book groups. But one of the activities that I am coming to use it for more and more (especially since I plan to do a masters come September) is Self Learning.
Maybe it’s because I work in a college library, and we advertise the main feature of the library as ‘come and work here between your lessons’. Students quite often come in their free time and don’t do work, but that’s a separate issue.
Self Learning, or Autodidactitism, is defined as the act of self directed learning about a subject or subjects in which one had had little to no formal education.
By that definition, the students that come into my library to do homework or projects aren’t self learning, because they are working on formally set work that they have a teacher for, but personally I love libraries because they are one of the biggest starting points for self learning out there.
Apart from my job, I haven’t had any formal training in how to be a librarian, and being an assistant, or paraprofessional, librarian means that I know how to use the system and can helps users navigate, but the skills such as finding good reference works to use, knowing how the library systems are built, library interactions on a national and global scale, those sorts of things that aren’t the day to day job aren’t things that I am familiar with.
So I have started to autodidactic in the realms of information science. My library has a small number of books on the subject (surprisingly the local public library has even less, but I guess it is a small interest field) which I now have in my possession and am reading my way through. So far I’ve read ‘An Introduction to Library and Information Work’ by Anne Totterdell, I’m reading ‘Building Library 3.0’ by Woody Evans and I have ordered a copy of ‘Librarianship: An Introduction’ by Chowdhury as it was on the reading list that the university had on the website but in neither of my libraries.
The only problem with books is that with the fast pace developing technology of today, they can sometimes be a tiny be outdated in some areas. For instance Totterdells book mentioned floppy discs a lot, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t used those since secondary school, a good decade ago now. But underlying principles don’t change that fast, thankfully.
However, having said that, I am learning new things. I’m learning principles and models that I don’t get to see when doing my day to day job. I get to look deeper into the craft that I am thinking of dedicating the rest of my working career towards. And I do like learning, and I feel very satisfied whenever I learn new things, especially if it’s something I’ve decided to learn. It’s to do with goal setting and achieving I suspect, even if the goal of “read this book and learn” is a little nebulous.
Still waiting to hear from the university as to when the applications for the Masters course open, but until then I have a lot of autodidacticism to be getting on with.