Statement of Professional Philosophy

Statement of Professional Philosophy:

The Pathway to my MLIS:

Becoming a librarian was not a dream of mine; it was not even a conceived possibility because I was going to play soccer professionally and that was it. Growing up I loved the library but only in the summer. My local library offered a fantastic reading program that rewarded you, multiple times, throughout the program with tangible objects like tickets to professional sporting events. Essentially, I loved the library because of what it did for me. As I started my undergrad program, again I loved the library, usually only when I had major papers to do research on. Again, I loved the library because of what it did for me.

You see, when I started my undergrad and quite near the end I was set on going to law school and then all of the sudden I wasn’t. Well I can’t say ‘all of the sudden’ because it was a process of about 2 months. The last semester of my undergraduate career was a game changer for me, why? Well that semester I became a student assistant in the library. The library became my focus place, my hangout, my professional training, my niche and the staff became my family. Again, I loved the library for what it did for me but began to also love the library because what I could do with it for others. I didn’t go to law school when I graduated, I wasn’t preparing for the LSAT, instead I completed a digital archives internship and I researched library schools.

When I first decided to go to library school I was set on going into archives management. I enjoyed digitizing and preserving materials however after my internship I realized that I did not enjoy it as much as I first thought I would and did not want to pursue a career in it. What I did know was that I actually enjoyed the digitizing process of using technology and creating digital content for the library website and I missed creating research guides and working on cataloging projects in the ILS. I then decided to pursue the MLIS degree instead and focus on using technology to develop digital content for the web.

Passions and Focus:

What ultimately clenched my interest in working with libraries was the organization of information, the embracing of using technology to enhance the user experience and being “what can you do for me” for patrons. Those who study library and information science are given an opportunity to design, create, and serve for the benefit of many; I love being the person that solves the problem that seemed to them unsolvable. As I have worked in the library field and journeyed through my MLIS career these passions have not changed but have evolved towards a greater focus on digital content and web design & we development. I took courses that encouraged these passions including: Best Practices in Module Web Design using HTML and CSS, Web 2.0 and social networking tools in libraries, Special Studies: Virtual Worlds, Understanding Content Management Systems and using Drupal and my  Virtual Internship centered on Social Media use in Public Libraries.

When I started library school I was six months into a professional library position where I was head of the learning resource center (LRC) at a very new academic trade school; this meant I had complete control to shape the library from the archaic state it was in to what it now has become. I had two years of paraprofessional library training and experience under my belt so I was both enthralled with the responsibility and utterly terrified.  When I started working at this school the materials of the LRC were locked behind glass cabinets and students were terrified to ask me questions and often commented on how nice I was compared to the previous library worker. This made me sad for multiple reasons but primarily because it tainted their view of the library. My goal was to brand the library in a way that students saw it as a benefit for them to use it, that it was giving them something they did not have before. I wanted to teach the students that I was here for help, I wanted them to know that the LRC had something they wanted that they did not have before.

I spent a significant portion of these first six months organizing the collection and advertising to faculty, staff and students the materials that were available for them to use. When I started working the collection was organized by in-home developed call numbers, essentially the program they were used in and then an accession number, example: Anatomy-001. The complete listing of library materials was housed in an excel spreadsheet that was printed out and put into a binder for browsing, in house only. This is when I learned most about copy cataloging and became very grateful for World Cat and budget and user friendly OPAC resources such as LibraryThing. I spent many hours searching catalogs and completing the records for our material, after about three consistent months of this I finally had some sort of OPAC for students to view our material outside of the library.

I had accomplished this significant task prior to library school however, when I started the MLIS program an entire new world of opportunity opened up.  In the first year, I learned about database building, controlled vocabulary, library management, and web design and development. The first semester gave me the confidence I needed to feel like I could make an educated difference in the LRC, where I learned about library science, the basis of the profession and gained many resources for reference when needed.

Libr200 introduced me to the various roles and responsibilities of a library; this helped me see my role as the head of the LRC in a greater light and paved a way to improve the library.  My main focus was to get the LRC recognition to students, faculty and staff. I created an information literacy course that I took to the classrooms of the school I was working at. This course taught students about the resources we had, how they could access them and how they would benefit them during their time at the school. This course increased library usage ten-fold, it was amazing and affirming that what I was doing was on the right path, the students saw what the library could do for them.

With the increase of material circulation and the students’ desire to see the collection and search it and use it I knew my next step had to be upgrading the current format of circulating materials, filling out a form. I worked on automating the library; this allowed students to circulate material for longer periods of time and also use it off campus where prior to that they could only use material in the LRC. Another step towards the LRC being something the students saw benefit in.

My passion with technology, my experience in creating digital resources and my love for organization led to becoming the campus digital resources designer and I created over 300 graphic resources for advertisement for school programs, community events, career resources and health clinics. Taking Libr240: Information Technology Tools and Applications with a focus on designing for the web helped me hone the skills I had to really serve the community by giving my guidance to create a library website. The website opened a whole new world of access to students from contact information to catalog searching and project help and upcoming campus events. The creation of the website sparked my interest to study web programming further and to learn to work on multiple platforms.

The implementation of technology use in the LRC continued to grow as I took courses on social media use in libraries, web 2.0 tools and reference services. We implemented the use of Weebo chat (which has since been discontinued), Text-a-Librarian through Google Voice, a library blog through WordPress, and continued development of enhanced resource guides. All of this content was integrated into the library website so that students could access it conveniently and the page hits exploded from student use. The LRC was becoming the resource I aimed for it to be, it was serving students in a manner that it never had before.

I worked in the LRC for four semesters of my MLIS career, including a summer term, and was able to accomplish significant projects because of it. I knew I was in my dream career because not only was I successful in these implementations but I loved everything about it, I truly loved seeing the students actually using the LRC (physically and virtually). When I left this school to pursue a career as an integrated library system administrator I was truly sad as this place was my MLIS project, something I had built from scratch, I was proud of it.

When I ventured into library system administration, as the integrated library system (ILS) administrator, I learned an aspect of the library that I knew very little about, the back end of every ILS module pertinent to a library. This included learning how each department ran. I spent months going through training and learning the procedures in acquisitions, serials, access services, preservation, cataloging and reserves. I really learned what it took to run a library and the man power it required. It was here where I also moved from creating digital content to managing digital content and resources. When we automated the library at the previous school the collection and patron size were much smaller; at this library the collection was millions of items, with hundreds of staff members and thousands of students to serve. Handling a library of this caliber required significant attention to detail and the ability to see the bigger picture simultaneously.

My course work in online searching (Libr244) taught me how to build complex Boolean search strategies to find specific information. I was not aware of how I would apply this to my professional goals until working with ILS where I had the responsibility of creating reports that pulled various types of information for multiple departments. This course taught me how to break down complex topics to the basics and build up; this is a skill that expands beyond Boolean searches and into to general reference questions all together in all fields of study. I used this skill significantly and intuitively as the ILS administrator when troubleshooting issues with the system.

While I worked as the ILS administrator the immediate result of seeing the students benefit from the library wasn’t as apparent as it was in the LRC, sometimes it was not apparent except to myself and only because I knew what the system was providing the students. Although I missed this immediate reward and the interaction with the students I learned that my passion for working with technology and web programming overshadowed that.

As information professionals we are lifelong learners involved in a profession that moves rapidly. I have dedicated myself to this profession; “In a political system grounded in an informed citizenry, we are members of a profession explicitly committed to intellectual freedom and the freedom of access to information” (ALA, 2008). As digital resources continue to impact how we organize and deliver information to our patrons it is imperative that we continue to understand, learn and participate in this evolution of information dissemination.

I intend to keep up with the profession through my continued attendance and participation in professional conferences. I have been fortunate enough to attend ALA annual and midwinter as well as participate in CLA and local conferences such as the LA Archives Bazaar.  I have continued to build my technology skills by learning multiple library systems including: content management systems (CMS), learning management systems (LMS), web 2.0 tools such as Google Analytics, Facebook Insights and multiple communication platforms.  I have been expanding my programming skills by attending webinars, workshops (physical and virtual) and participating in programming projects through Treehouse and GitHub. There is so much to learn and so much potential for technology in libraries that it often becomes overwhelming on what to learn next. The ability to see where we stand in society, as professionals, and understand our impact on the greater society allows us to take important steps to shaping the libraries potential.

References:

American Library Association, (2008). Code of Ethics of the American Library Association. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/proethics/codeofethics/codeethics.cfm

Conclusion & Affirmation

Conclusion:

We talk fondly now of the reactions we get when we say we are going to school for library science but at one point I was the one stating, “You have to have a master’s degree to be a librarian?!” Now I am on the other side of the conversation justifying and teaching others about the profession and why I have chosen to pursue it as a career. When I decided to go to library school, specifically online library school, I was concerned about what my experience would be because I thrive off of the personal interaction with my professors and was fearful that the virtual environment would impede on the opportunity to create these personal relationships. I think because of my concern of not being able to create personal relationships in an online environment that I took extra effort to create a personal connection with classmates and my professors and I have created connections that I will carry with me the rest of my professional career and even lifetime.

When I first started the MLIS program at SJSU in the Fall of 2011 I had no idea how it would change my life and the relationships I would create. As I spent hours going through course work and reading past discussion posts I realized that the amount of information I have taken from this program is much more than I ever anticipated receiving. This is not to say I thought I would not get much from the program but that I heavily underestimated how incredible this profession is and those who teach it.

It is with endearment that I complete this program, endearment towards my professors who had passion and desire for the profession. What first captured me in libraries was the staff I worked with was so helpful. At first I thought that was just because of the environment and school I was working at but throughout my journey towards my MLIS degree, I can assuredly state that those who work in the library profession are passionate about their field and love to help and share this passion with others. I too have evolved into this and every opportunity I get to teach someone about what it is to be a librarian I take it.

During my stretch in this program I have: served as a peer mentor, completed a virtual internship, worked as a lead assistant on the transition of the LMS, presented workshops and participated as a guest lecture in student orientations. I have also the opportunity to work on multiple group projects, led team projects and complete high caliber projects that I am proud of and have used in job applications. I have enhanced my online presence without losing the personal human touch. I have written papers and proposals that have been used within my professional career to enhance library spaces. I have learned what it is to write professionally for the web, have a steady professional blog, designed multiple websites and published several web-pages. I have honed the process of tutorial creation for a diverse population and been introduced to amazing technology projects and programs. Most importantly I have created relationships with some of the most amazing peers that I otherwise would not have had the opportunity to.

I come out of this program with the ability to create strategic plans complete with literature reviews, SWOT analysis, environmental scans and missions and value statements. I am capable of designing a full-fledged website from scratch incorporating general programming and integrating web 2.0 and 3.0 tools. I have experience working with multiple major library management systems (Desire 2 Learn and Canvas) and content management systems (Drupal, Joomla and WordPress). Along with these skills I have a greater understanding of library management including addressing sensitive situations with care and understanding while still holding true to professional ethics and necessities. My reference services have increased exponentially and I have been introduced to more resources then I will ever know what to do with.

My time at SJSU has been focused on web development and creating a better digital user experience, my plans for further professional growth are focused on the same concepts. Just as my concern that the online environment would hinder the development of personal interaction with professors, I have focused on helping libraries create an experience for the user that would cultivate the personal interaction and cultivate further collaboration with others over information.

It is amazing that this journey has gone by so quickly. It has been the best decision I have made for my professional career and has been highly satisfying. I find myself getting excited thinking about the next step in my professional career and this confirms to me that I am where I need to and want to be, as an information professional.

Affirmation:

I, Whitni Watkins, hereby affirm that:

  1. All introductory, reflective, and evidentiary work submitted is mine alone (except where indicated as a group or team project), and has been prepared solely by me.
  2. I am protecting the privacy of the contents of my e-Portfolio by password protecting it or by sharing the URL only with my e-portfolio advisor.
  3. Before making my e-portfolio public I will respect the privacy of others by removing mention in this e-Portfolio of information that could lead to the identity of individuals (team members in group projects, internship supervisors, interviewees, etc.) and institutions

Introduction to my ePortfolio

Contained in this area of my blog includes my final project for my Masters in Library and Information Science from the School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) at San José State University. This project is referred to as an ePortfolio.  The ePortfolio is an electronic presentation of my course work and professional work as they relate to demonstrating understanding and mastery of the core competencies of the program.

The compilation of work showcases the discussion and collection of evidence I have selected to demonstrate and display my knowledge, skills and abilities over the course of my educational career at SLIS. This ePortfolio serves as evidence of what I have learned, accomplished and can accomplish.

I began working on the organization of my course work in the Fall of 2011 where I created folders for each competency and would save copies of course work that was applicable to the corresponding competency folder. This was an instrumental task when it came to my final preparation for creating the ePortfolio. I then spent some time before the start of the Fall 2013 semester rehashing through the course work where I went through each piece of work that was in the competency folders and removed any work that I felt was a “just in case” piece of evidence. Taking this extra step turned out to be a huge relief because I was able to go through each folder and see which competencies I was strong in and which ones I was not. It also allowed me to start writing immediately because I had the evidence selected and organized already.

Having my evidence broken down into competencies allowed me time to trial the multiple options of building my ePortfolio well before I had to start the official process. I built sample ePortfolios in Google Sites, D2L, Weebly and WordPress. In the end I chose to showcase my ePortfolio on my WordPress blog for the following reasons:

  1. Ability to password protect each post
  2. The blog was also used to compile my professional work from:
    1. Virtual Internship
    2. Web Design courses
    3. Peer Mentoring course
    4. Easily exported and imported to other areas and servers
    5. Well known platform that has stability in its existence

This ePortfolio is structured in the following manner and showed be showcased as such: Introduction, Statement of Philosophy, Core Competencies, Conclusion and Affirmation Statement. Each section is organized in the general format including an introduction paragraph, body & evidence, concluding paragraph and references (if any).

The core competencies are presented in a format that was requested by my advisor as well as the manner in which I feel best showcases my understanding and mastery of the competency. Each competency post begins with a verbatim correlating statement from the SLIS webpage of Core Competencies (http://slisweb.sjsu.edu/current-students/courses/core-competencies) of what the competency is about, followed then by a statement produced by me of my understanding of the competency and supported by published material if needed, followed then by the presentation of my evidence and how each piece applies to the competency and ending with a concluding paragraph and references.

The process of creating this project has been an invaluable reflection of what I have accomplished over the past two years through both my educational work as well as my related professional work. It has been a review of my abilities and what I am capable of doing in this field.

Recognize and describe cultural and economic diversity in the clientele of libraries or information organizations

Component 1: Statement of Competency

Libraries are successful because they are dedicate to creating equal access to information to their patrons. This means they spent time focused on understanding and studying how people use information based on cultural and economic demographics. We, information professionals, evaluate how patrons of different ages use our resources. For example are 16 year olds checking out physical books more often than an 85 year old or do they use digital resources and technology more and why? Looking at this data shapes the way libraries market their material and more so how funds are allocated for resources.

Due to the nature and mission of libraries they are accessible by and attract a diverse population. The population ranges in education level, age, cultural background, learning ability and physical abilities. All of these factors play a part in how a patron uses information. It is our responsibility to determine how to attract this population and how to meet and serve their information needs.

I want to point out that social status and economic status are directly related. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has published data on the correlation between education level and income and typically those with a higher educational level have a higher income than those with a lower educational level. This suggests, that those with a higher education have a higher socio-economic status and in relation are able to use library resources at a more independent and intricate level than those with a lower socio-economic status. This however, does not mean that libraries that serve lower socio-economic communities should deprive these communities of access to these resources and information.

As the world continues to progress in the digital world, we see that what is commonly referred to as the digital divide, is largely affected by socio-economic status. Rubin explains, “as income rises so does Internet use… Only 25 percent of those with incomes of less than $15,000 use the Internet, compared to 67 percent of those with incomes exceeding $75,000” (Rubin, 2010, p178). One of the primary reasons for not using the internet is complexity of technology. The shows that use of the internet, or lack thereof, is not just restricted access due to income but also due to the skill set and knowledge. Libraries have focused on providing greater public access to the internet through installing public computers and even offering digital literacy programs to teach how to use the available technology.

It is important to acknowledge that cultural backgrounds also largely affect how patrons access information. On a study conducted by Liu and Redfern (1997) on students at San Jose State University, “Statistical analyses indicated that the student’s level of success in using the library was related to English-language proficiency, frequency of library use, and the frequency of reference desk inquiries” (Evans & Ward, 2007, p72). The inability to understand the dominant language of the collection of resources is a huge barrier on how the user with access and use the information that is available.

It is important that libraries understand the demographic makeup of the community they serve and adjust to serve their information needs. One significant adjustment that has been made is the incorporation of multilingual OPACS. This allows users the option of searching for resources in the language which they are most comfortable with. This will allow users to increase their skill set in searching because they now have the ability to use the resource.

Component 2: Justification of Evidence and Evidence:

My first piece of evidence I have included for this competency is a blog post I wrote for Libr240 on [Usability versus Accessibility]. This post discusses the importance of creating a website that is accessible to a diverse population and factors that impact how the user may be accessing the information. With digital content one of the most important factors in accessibility is making the webpage accessible to those who are visually impaired. This is done by adding alternative text for images and links within your code. This piece of evidence shows my understanding and ability to acknowledge and adjust to cultural and economic barriers my users may encounter.

My second piece of evidence I have included for this competency is a blog post I wrote for Lib240 [Designed for Mobility]. This post discusses designing your digital content for mobile use. Today, data shows that users are accessing more and more content on mobile devices like tablets and smart phones. This can drastically change how users use the available information, especially due to screen size differences and connection speed. The post discusses how to address some of the barriers that mobile users will deal with when accessing content through a mobile device.

My final piece of evidence is a [Final Proposal] I wrote for Libr285 for implementing a SMS reference service in an academic environment. This proposal discusses the purpose of implementing the reference service; “Studies have shown that 89% of college students have a cellphone and two-thirds of them use it for text messaging (Farkas, 2007)” (Watkins, 2013). The proposal shows my ability to recognize and adapt to how users are accessing and using information, specifically in an academic setting.

Conclusion:

As an information professional it is important that I am aware, able and understand the need to adapt and create resources that will serve a diverse population that deal with cultural barriers and socio-economic barriers. Our goal in the profession is to provide equal access to information, this can only be achieved if we acknowledge and understand the needs of our communities. We are doing great work to minimize the effect of the digital divide through multilingual OPACs, web design accessibility standards and access to technology that is often limited to communities with a lower socio-economic status.

References:

Evans, G. E. and Ward, P. L. (2007). Management Basics for Information Professionals. Second edition. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc.

Rubin, R. E. (2010). The Values and Ethics of Library and Information Science. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc.

Watkins, W. (2013). Research Proposal written for graduate studies course Libr285. San Jose State University, School of Library and Information Science.

Evidence:

Usability versus Accessibility blog post for Libr240: https://nimblelibrarian.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/usability-vs-accessibility/

Designed for Mobility blog post for Libr240: https://nimblelibrarian.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/designed-for-mobility/

Final Proposal for Libr285: [Final Proposal]

Describe and compare the organizational settings in which library and information professionals practice

Component 1: Statement of Competency

At the general level, goal and purpose of librarianship is to understand how to access resources of information and to disseminate that information as needed. Underlining this general statement of librarianship is the diversity of the types of organizations librarians will serve in. There are four main types of library organizations public, academic, school and special. These organizations are tailored to fulfill specific missions and serving specific communities. We can distinguish these organizations from each other by looking at their resources and collection focus, the community they serve, their mission and where their funding comes from.

Public Libraries

There are roughly 17,000 public libraries just within the United States that serve our communities. Rubin states the mission of a public library is, “to meet the education, recreational, informational, and cultural needs of its community” (Rubin, 2010, p173). This mission is very broad and is taxing on the staff and administration of public libraries to fulfill it. Funding for public libraries comes from tax payers or public funds, because of this when there is economic distress public libraries suffer at a greater extent than privately funded libraries because budgets get cut and funding sources decrease.

A public library’s collection serves the largest and most diverse population of the library organizations. Their collection is built to serve patrons from infant to adult ages, multiple cognitive abilities and education levels, cultural interests and depending on the community language preferences. It is often understood that public librarians are the saints of the library world as the stresses they undergo working in public libraries is greater than those in academic or special libraries.

Academic Libraries

Academic libraries are libraries found at any institution providing postsecondary education including universities, four-year colleges, community and junior colleges. The academic library function and purpose is directly related to the institution with which the library is embedded, this means their mission is directly proportional to the mission of the parent institution. The primary purpose of an academic library is to serve students and faculty. Academic libraries may provide limited service to local community, however it is not uncommon for academic libraries to not offer the community circulation privileges.

An academic library’s collection is built primarily of research resources based upon the programs the institution it serves offers and is more focused than that of a public library. “The type and sophistication of materials in the collection reflect the mission of the particular institution, generally either teaching or research” (Rubin, 2010, p200). If the institution offers courses in computer programming the library is expected to provide resources to help these students succeed in the respected program.

School Libraries/ Multi-Media Centers

School libraries, often referred to as multi-media centers, are usually located within a school system that serves students from kindergarten thru twelfth grade. Similar to academic libraries, because school libraries are embedded within a school system the school board’s policies ultimately govern their activities. The Association of School Librarians (AASL) describes the mission of school libraries as:

To ensure that the students and staff are effective users of ideas and information. The school library media specialist (SLMS) empowers students to be critical thinkers, enthusiastic readers, skillful researchers, and ethical users of information. (AASL 2009a)

School libraries face many challenges including: achieving the mission of the school, keeping up with new technology as budgets shrink, increased vocal awareness of censorship, and a diminishing workforce. School libraries are likely children’s first interaction with a library independently, meaning without mom or dad providing personal one-on-one guidance.

Special Libraries

Special libraries encompass the libraries that do not fit into the academic or public realm including medial libraries, law libraries, media centers and any information organization “sponsored by private companies, governmental agencies, not-for-profit organizations or professional associations” (Mount 1995 cited within Rubin, 2010, p211). Special libraries exist for librarians to serve a client. In academic and public libraries librarians assist patrons in finding information however in special libraries it is expected that the librarian find the information and resources for the patron or client. The collections in special libraries are usually highly specialized and relatively small in size. Access to these collections are often restricted to a small set of users and are not open to the general public.

Component 2: Justification of Evidence and Evidence:

My first piece of evidence I have chosen to include for this competency is my [Resume]. I selected this piece to show my understanding and experience working in multiple library organizations. I selected my resume as evidence showing that I worked in multiple library settings but I will discuss in my justification here how I understand these organizations and what I have learned from them.

All organization work I discuss here takes place in the library setting only. I have worked for three academic organizations (Von Canon Library at Southern Virginia University, Learning Resource Center at West Coast Ultrasound Institute and University Libraries at the University of California, Riverside) and one public organization (Santa Clara County public library district). Each organization gave me different insight and perspective on how the priorities of these organizations differ.

My experience with a public library focused primarily on social media use where I gained a greater understanding of the general makeup of the patrons they served. One thing I found that was very different from the academic libraries was the stress that was put on handling sensitive posts on social media. The public library district I worked for had a strict policy with handling censorship issues, even if vulgar language was used. Under no circumstance was the post/comment to be hidden or removed. If it contained sensitive content it was to be reported to the Virtual Library manager who then would take it to the district library board to decide on how to handle the situation. Also, how the social media tools were used to connect with patrons and the focus that was engaged varied from the academic setting. In the public library, the library focused on patron leisure interests and advertising new programs and services. In my experience, the academic libraries focused also on programs and services but published more scholarly and research information for patrons.

While working at the University of California, Riverside (UCR), one thing that I noticed was the patron count was not as important. All current and registered students were automatically patrons so out reach to the community for upping the patron count was not a major priority like it is in public libraries. Public libraries used patron usage as backing to show their merit to the community. Instead the priority was collection usage and resource selection since this is primary to show backing for academic libraries. UCR however is a public institution so their resources were available to the public but certain privileges were denied them unless they became “friends of the library” and paid a fee.

One of the academic libraries I worked in was for a medical school that focused on digital imaging (ultrasounds, echocardiograms, and MRI) although this was an academic setting it mirrored many of the aspects of a special library such as specialized and small collection size and limited access to only faculty and students attending the school, it was not open to public access at all. Also, the development of this collection was primarily built on the requests of the faculty and less from budget allocations which meant any requests from faculty were fulfilled.

My second piece of evidence I have chosen to include for this competency is an [Interview with a Librarian] that I completed for Libr210. I interviewed a reference librarian in an academic institution. This interview provides information on collection development and maintenance in an academic library. I chose this piece to show the knowledge I gained about academic librarians and the types of tasks, issues and concerns they deal with in that environment. For example, specific to budgets and collection development, in an academic library they need to decide on the allotted budget for each department and specialty subjects based on university curriculum. This can be allocated equally across the board, but often core subjects will receive more funds than elective subjects.

My final piece of evidence I have chosen to include is a [SMS Reference_Final Proposal] I worked with my team on in Libr246. The proposal is to implement using Google Voice as a SMS reference service in a public library. I chose to include this because in our research for this project we studied other libraries and what they used for SMS reference, the community they served, what worked for them and why it worked, and roadblocks they encountered in the process. This research gave us insight on public libraries and the focus these types of organizations take when reaching out to their communities. I also learned how roadblocks were addressed or how the library decided on keeping or discontinuing a service similar to the one we were proposing on implementing.

Conclusion:

Through my experience and evidence I have shown my understanding of the varying environments that I can work in as an information professional. It is important to know the patrons you are serving, the issues at large with the organization including funding concerns, the mission and focus of the library and collection development. Although there are some issues that affect all libraries such as funding, the tactics in addressing these issues will vary due to the type of library. The same goes with public access and community outreach. A special library will not put forth the same amount of effort and funds for community outreach as a public library because their mission and the patrons they serve often do not include public access. Understanding these environments will help prepare me should I work in any one of them.

References:

American Association of School Librarians. Empowering Learners: Guidelines for School Library Media Programs. Chicago: American Association of School Librarians, 2009.

Rubin, R. E. (2010). The Values and Ethics of Library and Information Science. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc.

Evidence:

Resume

Interview with a Librarian

SMS Reference_Final Proposal

Describe the fundamental concepts of information-seeking behaviors.

Component 1: Statement of Competency

Information seeking behavior studies how users come to needing or wanting information. This process looks at how users desire to seek or gather information to satisfy their needs and wants. “The more we understand the person, the better we can determine what to provide for that individual” (Rubin, 2010, p276). A reference interview is, conducted effectively, will provide this to us through asking the right questions. However, we, information professionals, must understand the concepts of these information-seeking behaviors so that we can ask the right questions. Information seeking behaviors can be understood by asking how, what, where, and why questions.

“Seeking and gathering information is a highly complex process that requires considerable explanation and refinement” (Rubin, 2010, p275). Fundamental concepts to information seeking is the knowledge of how our users are looking for information. What is the drive for the information? Are they looking for information to satisfy an immediate need or are they looking for information to satisfy a deferred need? Rubin explains that the distinction between the two forms of searching “might profoundly affect how a library is used” (Rubin, 2010, p276). If a patron is seeking information they may go directly to the reference desk or circulation desk. If a patron is gathering information, they may browse the stacks noting of books they may want to read or topics they find interesting and not utilize the librarians at all.

I want to discuss now a couple of information seeking theories. First is Kuhlthau’s information search process (ISP). This theory claims that the search process for information takes place in six stages: initiation, selection, exploration, formulation, collection and presentation. In the first three stages (initiation, selection, exploration) the user is developing the purpose for needing information and focusing on what the topic of that purpose is. In these stages the user is in the gathering field where they are gathering information for a deferred need. In stage four, formulation, the user begins the transformation from gatherer to seeker; they have a clear focus and “the seeker begins to evaluate critically the information obtained…discarding what appears to be irrelevant” (Rubin, 2010, p278). In stage five, collection, the user is now seeking information to satisfy an immediate need. The use of a librarian is highest in this stage as the seeker can now clearly articulate the type of information they need. This is a dramatic help for the librarian as most of the guess work is eliminated. The final stage of Kuhlthau’s ISP is stage six, presentation. This is where the user then takes all of the information from stages 1-5 and reports on the information gathered.

The second theory I want to discuss is one I have seen most often working as a reference librarian in the academic field, the principle of least effort. “People seek the most convenient source to meet their needs, even when they know that this source might produce information of lower quality than other sources” (Rubin, 2010, p279). This theory is also one that I believe causes much fret and frustration to librarians, especially since we spend significant amounts of time developing collections of quality information. Search engines have become a go-to source for quick, easy and not always reliable source of information; we see this as the noun became a verb, just “google” it.

One thing to note is how users are searching digital resource repositories like search engines and databases. Acknowledging and understanding the complexity or simplicity of the search process the patrons are using will help us know how they seek or gather information. Search engines have impacted how user think of finding information. Search engines utilize natural language searching, the behavior of the user would be typing in a question, as they would ask a librarian, rather than breaking down the topic through controlled vocabulary. This is important to remember because when patrons come to us for help and say they cannot find any information on their topic, we need to ask where they searched, how they phrased their search and what they are looking for.

Component 2: Justification of Evidence and Evidence:

My first piece of evidence I have included to show my understanding of the competency is an [Exercise2finalwriteup] from Libr244. This piece breaks down my search process for a specific problem, the summary of my behavior in seeking the information I needed to solve the problem. It shows the complexity of my information seeking behavior. It also shows the process of what information seeking (versus information gathering) looks like. This piece of evidence is 51 pages long, however you only need to focus on pages 1-2 for the evidence.

My second piece of evidence I have included is [LIBR202 Project #4 & LIBR202 Project #4 Table] this project addresses a specific topic and analyzes the difference of searching in two different manners, searching the library catalog and searching a database. I included this piece to show how the searching strategy and behavior changes based on the resource used. I have included with this the excel table which shows all of the search terms I used when searching for my topic. The search terms show how even in two controlled vocabulary environments terms the searching behavior evolves very differently based on search results.

My third piece of evidence I have included is a discussion post from Libr210, [when have you provide sufficient information]. This post answers the question, how would you determine *when* you have provided sufficient information in answer to a given reference question. I chose to include this piece of evidence to show my understanding of how the information seeking behavior varies from user to user. Sometime a user only wants one answer, like who won the World Series in 1999.

Conclusion:

Information seeking behavior varies, and with the growth of digital resources and web accessibility they will continue to vary widely. It is up to us to ask the questions to determine what the user is needing and wanting. “We are not supposed to be able to read their minds, we can watch and understand body language but we need to ask questions” (Watkins, Discussion post Libr210).

References:

Rubin, R. E. (2010). The Values and Ethics of Library and Information Science. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc.

Watkins, W. (2012) When have you provided sufficient information? [Discussion Post]. SJSU-SLIS.

Evidence:

LIBR202 Project #4

LIBR202 Project #4 Table

Exercise2finalwriteup

when have you provide sufficient information

Use the basic concepts and principles related to the selection, evaluation, organization, and preservation of physical and digital items and collections.

Component 1: Statement of Competency

At the heart of a library is its collection. The purpose of this collection is based surely on the library’s mission. “As budgets remain tight, the allocation of scarce resources requires that libraries answer important questions about their primary functions so that they might make these allocations wisely” (Rubin, 2007, p185).

Upon entering the profession many information professionals are presented with an existing collection with in which they must help maintain, build and perfect. The key to maintaining a collection is to remember that the growth of the collection does not mean acquiring only but also shaping it towards the needs/desires of the patrons, weeding the collection of unnecessary items, adding quality material over quantity of material and securing it in the event of a disaster. “They [librarians] maintain the collections by reviewing titles for preservation, replacement, off-site storage, or removal” (Haycock & Sheldon, 2008, p51).

The hardest of these is shaping the collection to fit the needs of the patrons. Over recent years many libraries have adopted what has been referred to as PDAs or Patron Driven Acquisitions. While I worked at an academic library, the library budget has a set amount set aside specifically for PDA requests. I helped process these requests and while occasionally some of the selectors would submit requests through our PDA system, predominantly it was patron centered.

How PDA requests work is the library develops a set of standards for the types of material they want to receive PDA records from vendors. These standards can include publication date, exclusion or inclusion of certain subject material, inclusion/exclusion of material types, classification ranges and format (electronic, physical, serial, hard bound, etcetera). These records then get loaded into the library’s catalog so they are searchable by users and then when a patron clicks on the record of interest, if it is a PDA record they are usually prompted to click on a link (this is presented in the 856 field) that will send the request to the acquisitions department where they will then order the item. This form of collection building helps secure that the purchases (physical or electronic) for the collection are direct requests of the patrons.

Libraries spend a great deal of time and money on building their collections however it is vital that they also spend money on insuring the safety of their collections. They can do this by investing time in ensuring safety of the collection is also related to managing the facility, preservation of material, security of items against theft or crime, and having a disaster plan in place.

Libraries can ensure the safety of the collection by implementing RFID tags in items, security systems in entrance gates, locking down computer towers and securing the system. This will help minimize the possibility of acts of theft to the collection.

The agreement on the preservation of material will prove itself to be difficult as departments may have different ideas of what should and shouldn’t be a priority. Another instance that took place while I was working in an academic library was developing and implementing a new policy on serial subscriptions and binding policies. With electronic resources becoming ever more prevalent and accessible through database subscriptions libraries looking to be e-preferred libraries will look to eliminate print subscriptions, primarily dealing with serials. During this implementation policy there was discussion on which serials in the collection we would for sure continue the subscription to in both print and electronic format; it took several meetings before the decision was made. “A further challenge for managers is the changing nature of collections and service patterns and the accelerating rate of change” (Rubin, 2007, p493).

One of the most important aspects and often last on the list in collection maintenance is what to do in the event of a disaster, natural or not; “Developing such a plan requires time and effort, but is essential” (ibid, p489). Very few libraries have in their budget to maintain a perfect facility; disaster planning and facility management go hand in hand. Keeping the facility in good working order will help avoid unnecessary disasters such as water leaks during hard rain storms because corners were cut in repairing the roof.

When it comes to collection maintenance, development of the collection is priority. It is important to keep in mind the focus of the collection, the purpose of the collection and the quality of the collection. Having a collection of 1.2 million items where 60,000 or more items have not circulated in over 10 years does not maintain the aspect of quality. Weeding, sometimes viewed as a bad word in the library world, is essential is collection maintenance. Having policies in place specifically for the collection development will help make this process less painful and more rewarding for the library.

Component 2: Justification of Evidence and Evidence:

My first piece of evidence I chose to include is a discussion post on the [Disaster_Plan_Cornell]. I briefly reviewed and linked to Cornell University Library’s disaster plan. This piece of evidence shows my understanding of the importance of a disaster plan and having a policy in place as well as my ability to evaluate this policy in strengths and weaknesses.

My second piece of evidence I chose to include is a [Millennium Record Updating Procedures for Serials sent to stacks] I worked on when implementing a new policy into the collection dealing with serials management. This policy work was a collaborative effort with colleagues. I chose this piece of evidence to show my understanding of implementing new policies for collection maintenance. This policy required significant changes in how staff and student workers handled incoming serials as well as processing serials that were being sent to the stacks or removed from the collection based on a retention policy. This also shows my understanding and ability to work with other staff members to coming to an agreement on a policy for maintain the collection.

My final piece of evidence I included is a set of work from my Libr298 special studies course. This evidence includes: metaverse-library-sci-fi-exhibit-may-2013, a list of completed books that I created in the InWorldz Community Library science fiction collection and a list of authors and notations on their published works [ Science Fiction Books]. The magazine highlights the science fiction collection that was created for this particular exhibit. In the magazine on page 50 includes an excerpt about my work with InWorldz and the library collection I helped build. The excel worksheet shows my knowledge of adhering to specific collection standards: science fiction, open access, and if the book was digitized or had audio with it. This project required me and one other student to develop the collection for the library. We researched popular science fiction authors and listed works that either satisfied the criteria for the collection or were main contributors to science fiction and thus should be included in the collection. The word document is a listing of the authors I submitted for approval and the works I recommended we included in the collection.

Conclusion:

Understanding the basics to maintaining a library’s collection is knowledge every library professional should have. The collection is the heart of the library; it is what brings in funding, what brings in patrons, and why the library exists at all. Collection maintenance, development, weeding, preservation, and protection, is an ongoing process that takes precious resources however as the library’s heart, just as our bodies, without it we will cease to exist.

References:

Haycock, K. and Sheldon, B. (2008). The portable MLIS: insights from the experts. Westport: Libraries Unlimited.

Rubin, R. E. (2010). The Values and Ethics of Library and Information Science. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc.

Evidence:

Disaster_Plan_Cornell

Millennium Record Updating Procedures for Serials sent to stacks

metaverse-library-sci-fi-exhibit-may-2013

Science Fiction Books

completed books