A Week in the Life

Another week has flown past and you would think getting more work done would lessen the load however it’s not the case. The more I chip away the more leaks that spring out and more work piles up.
I am doing my MSc in information systems which closely liaises with the MLIS course in UCD with many of the classes overlapping. My week is centred around three long gruelling days of lectures on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday with Wednesday and Fridays off. I generally look at this and think I will use my days off to get assignments and other work done. Now that I am in week 7 of my second semester I find the week’s just dissipating before me. I am getting less work done on my days off and the other three days seem to be tiring me out. It is becoming more and more difficult just to keep up.
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I tend to ear mark time slots to get started on one thing and before I know it something more urgent pops up and in turn takes my focus. I am taking 6 classes and as well have my capstone project which is effectively my thesis. Although the capstone is earmarked for the summer months the work has well and truly started so it feels more like 7 classes. I do a wide range of classes from current trend in social media; human computer interaction to research practices and this blog is for contempory issues in professional practice. It being an MSc I am expected to go above and beyond what is asked of me but I am severely lagging behind on this front.

This week I have been transcribing interviews, working on a project which involves analysing online user communities as well as working on the UCD SILS website doing usability testing. Amongst other things I have the monotonous work of doing readings and following blogs for other assignments, not to mention the endless meetings with groups and individuals. I have much more I need to press on with but there are simply not enough hours in the week let alone a day. The question of how will I get through this is constantly floating around in my head.
Just keeping up with what is going on and checking emails and other sources is a chore in itself. Its a constant struggle to cement in my head what exactly I need to do. No matter what the weeks keep rolling on and I don’t feel any closer to finishing my work but I see deadlines starting to pile up.

It’s just a week in my life and they keep getting tougher as they go. There is still a strong belief on my behalf that I will somehow pull it of the bag and get it all done because I have to. I will have an unbelievable sense of accomplishment when I do. Its a long way off yet however.

Advocates & Change Agents

I didn’t enjoy my first reading of the week. Even though it was short it left a taste of desperation. The most provoking message I picked up in the readings was Librarians don’t know who they are. The Bernard-Barrett short article to me sounded like someone complaining they should be treated as equal just because what they do is a professional vocation. With any line of work it’s what you do and how you do it that gets respect and in this article it sounded like a dead horse was being flogged. If librarians want to get rid of the stigma that hangs over them, they need to be the first to drop it. The second reading got to the bones of a real issue. I am not denying the fact there is a stigma that follows librarians and it will be hard to shift. Until they deal with health care cuts services like health libraries, unfortunately they will be some of the first to go. Librarians will have to fight for every inch just to survive in an economy like the one we are stuck in at the moment.

In the HSLG SHeLLI Report it was touched upon how in America there had been some success stories and in their words it was not all doom and gloom. While this was obviously focused on the health sector libraries it is clear all sectors are suffering due to cut backs. I wonder how many Irish agencies are going outside their front door and abroad to look for possible solutions. I know from my study into South Dublin County Libraries last year they have adopted their strategic plan form Australia and in fact it has been a great success. I would be interested in seeing what is actually being done or is it a case like the first reading of moan, moan, and moan.
advocates
While the Bernard-Barrett reading obviously got under my skin because of how it portrayed the message, it isn’t completely lost on me. They have to show their skills and what they can do. I think last week’ “Helping people to manage and share their digital information” is a perfect example of that. I don’t think people know what it is exactly librarians do. I think a great way to get that message across is through the children that inevitable go to libraries either with school or parents encouraging children to read. I know from last year SDCL offer father/son activities. Once you have the attention of people whether it’s through their kids or whatever avenue, it is important to grab it. Another important point is librarians are no longer working as librarians. They have branched out in to a wealth of different fields such as C.I.O’ or Knowledge managers etc and this is a side I would like to explore more.

I think what has been emphasised is the message from the readings done back at the start of term on growing your PLN. Quite often it is a case of who you know and not what you know which might be extremely relevant to librarians. It’s important for them to weave their ways into the foundation of organisations and to become tangled within it. I do wonder if some librarians themselves know where they want to go or they want to do. While ideas can be big and wonderful, they will still remain on paper unless there is a definitive plan

Resources:
HSLG SHeLLI Report

Bernard Barrett- Brief Talk Description and Article

Developing My PLN

The overriding theme that stood out to me was how to improve on the skill sets you already have through collaboration with others via web 2.0. The world has been opened up for people to mine information from all sectors and areas of the world for their own growth. The first reading Professional Development 2.0: Take Control of Your Own Learning. Focused on the blog aspect side of the things and how that can be used to improve yourself as individual. By writing about what you are doing it gives you an opportunity to reflect and reassess what you have done. It also is a way of expressing your thoughts for others to see and in return get their viewpoints on specific issues and build your PLN which was eluded to heavily in the first reading as something that can be hugely beneficial. The idea was to never to settle for what you think you know but to always try and learn more and improve yourself and to never stop trying to improve.

This is something I can definitely agree with having done blogs before and taking the time to rethink what I’ve just learned and giving it time to swirl around in my head. Some times what you think in your head comes out quite differently when you write, spurring on other thoughts and ideas. I think this idea was carried through to the second reading putting together professional portfolios. You want to express what you have learned and show how you have done so. I believe in creating a portfolio as was outlined would stir up many of the same thought processes that goes into a blog. It gives you time to look at things differently and learn even more.
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In terms of competencies at this moment in time I am still learning what exactly I am good at and where exactly my strengths lie at. So in saying that I still think its important I understood who I am when learning to work with others. Something I have been accredited with, rightly or wrongly is seeing things differently. I’m not sure this is always a positive but it definitely throws up some interesting thoughts and processes when going about my academic work. Something I have to improve rapidly is time management. It isn’t so much I waste time on one thing and leave none for another. I tend to have a hard time focusing on more than one thing. I have to complete one task before I can contemplate another. This can lead to some stressful situations. Even if I was able to designate specific time for specific tasks I know I would be much more productive. The idea of having a PLN is something not new to me but something I havnt really thought about. The benefits are clear and it is something I should be looking to develop.

Ethically it is a bit harder to define for me. I like to think I take other people’s ideas on board but I know I can also be quickly dismissive which was pointed out in the readings as a negative about blog input. Concerning ethics and values I have learned it is vitally important to let everyone speak but come up with a constructive way of making sure everyone is on the same wavelength. In the SILS course I find people can be too nice especially when it came to the business end of last term. I can be very quiet in groups and laid back but once it’s time to get things done and I think people are hindering progression I was very happy to take the role of the villain for the benefit of the group. I am not saying I was mean or purposefully stepped on peoples toes but I was happy to say “No” we have to do x,y and z. I am sure I annoyed people but I know it was essential and it was an interesting side of myself to see.

At this stage of my life I haven’t decided what exactly I am going to do and doing the course in Information systems is hopefully going to build a platform for me to start opening other doors. So I think it is vital that I get to experience different aspects of the course that are offered and meet different types of people. Learning to deal with types of people I have never encountered before has definitely been a theme of this year so far.

Resources:
Bedell, J.T. (2010) Professional Development 2.0: Take Control of Your Own Learning

ALA’s LIST OF WEB LINKS TO VARIOUS COMPETENCY LISTS

IFLA Code of Ethics