Thing 22: Reflective Practice

I’ve loved podcasts for years: Adam Buxton, 99pi, Planet Money, WTF, Alec Baldwin’s Here’s The Thing, Jeff Garlin’s BTW (listen to the Conan O’Brien and Zach Galiafinakis podcasts and embarrass yourself on public transport like I did). Podcasts are like yummy treats, waiting for them to download is like being a kid and waiting for the cookies to  emerge from the oven. I have to confess I was aware that there were libcast versions but I had avoided them as they seemed a little too wholesome, with nutritious work-related centres full of fibre, grey, so-good-for-you good, good, fibre. So it was with trepidation that I approached Library Bytesize via Molly Schwartz of the Metro NYC Library Council interviewed Ilona Kish of Public Libraries 2020, an EU initiative advocating for public libraries with legal policy makers. Kish describes encountering the still all too familiar attitudes: ‘Why do we need libraries when we have Google?’ and ‘Aren’t libraries all closing?’ (I would have liked to have heard her opinion on how Brexit might impact her work as a British citizen and passionately committed European library advocate.) The take-away is that it was good to be pushed towards libcasts, it didn’t feel like doing work during my hometime, I actually enjoyed it and went back for more. Thank you Thing 19!

Thing 20 segued nicely from the content of the podcast in Thing 19, focusing as it did on practical and proactive Library advocacy. Reading this thing and completing the exercises, accessing Maynooth University’s strategy, viewing the My Library, By Right Campaign, got the blood pumping. The direct challenge to government in the CILIP campaign document to preserve libraries as  instruments of social inclusion, democratic participation and public space led directly from the podcast, compounding the content of the previous Things.

I felt emboldened by the Library Vision of Maynooth University p.4 :

“Advance the Library’s unique position as the hub of learning, culture, enquiry and discovery…Enrich the cultural, social and economic life of our community.”

Libraries are always at the centre, occupying a unique position in an institution, and by extension, the community and culture.

Thing 21 was such an enjoyable Thing! I reached out to LIANZA, @lianzaoffice having first checked out their website, blog and youtube channel. I was so impressed by the uniform tone and social media presence of the organisation: humorous, vibrant, engaged. The site welcomed new members, pointing out the benefits of joining and included a fantastic infographic presenting libraries’ direct benefits to the community and demonstrating the symbiotic relationship with the community. The blog’s focus on foregrounding emerging leaders and the average day of library workers is inspiring and really emphasises the importance of their work at every level. I reached out and tweeted them as part of the exercise and they liked my tweet!

These Things really joined up my thinking about being an information worker. They made me venture out and dip my toes into apps and the cloud which I wouldn’t have voluntarily done otherwise. They made me listen to libcasts, made me aware of the My Library, By Right campaign and made me think proactively and practically about advocacy and professional networking. I definitely feel a preference for Borton’s model of Reflective Practice with its gauntlet of What, So What, What Next. These Things and writing this blog have made me confront and interrogate my own attitudes and why it is exactly that I’ve been drawn to this profession but the big surprise is how much I’ve actually really enjoyed these Things. I will miss you @rudai23!


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