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.
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.
I found the main theme to be running through the resources was how libraries adapt to the environment they found themselves in. As pointed out in the ALA webcast this is nothing new as people once had to move from scrolls to books and how books in themselves are a form of technology. I think the other interesting facet was that libraries do not want to lose their identity either. They want to retain the ideology of what a library is but also provide much more, which is a careful balancing act.
An interesting factor brought up in 21st Century Libraries: Changing Forms, Changing Future was how the building itself impacts on how people firstly perceive it but also how it can be used to benefit its target audience and purpose. This is a subject I broached last term in regards to Ballyroan library and how it has been redesigned to match its function internally. The overall message was how technology impacts on every part of someone’s life and it is important to find a way to keep up with it but also deliver a library service which is enhanced by technology.
This directly leads to the information professional themselves and probably is touched best upon in the Copeland & Barreau which suggest the notion of what an information professional is expected to do has changed. People expect a certain level of professionalism and expertise when they ask someone a question. In another class at the moment we are learning how to form our own digital library and this will be useful information, which as explained in the reading is to share with people that are trying to use the latest technology to store important sentimental items amongst much more. Which is what in my mind the reading was getting at. I found the ALA webcast to be paramount on the topic of what role the information professional should be. Each speaker had a clear idea what it is they do and how they can be perceived as an information professional but wouldn’t consider themselves as a traditional librarian so to speak in any way.
The core competencies are an interesting area. As the MLIS course teaches, it is essential to have the traditional skills of a librarian but you now have to mix it with technology. When they spoke about librarians being out on the floor with an iPad and not stuck behind a desk. Incorporating not only technology but the need of the cliental is key also. The cliental can be greatly affected by the area a library finds itself in so its services provided will change accordingly.
The architecture of the library was the most interesting part to me. The importance of keeping up with advancements in technology is well known. I can see now libraries focus on who they are catering for and even with the location they pick or recognising the fact they might have to move continually to follow where they are needed. Where this falls in line with other information organisations is probably important for the traditional view of the library. The service they provided additional to the library. Understanding who you are catering for should be reflected in how you set up and look after them. If it’s as simple as timetabling when certain parts are open to certain people or just what services (computers, cafe, crèche) are provided.
Finding the right blend with technology and not losing the identity of the library even if that is sticking a big sign above the door as eluded to in the readings
ALA Webcast, episode 1- Library 2017: Tech at Warp Speed
Copeland & Barreau (2011). Helping people to manage and share their digital information: A role for public libraries