Reflective Essay #1 LSC531

 

This course has brought many issues to light for me.   I wasn’t originally going to take this because I am still unsure of the direction I want to go with my library degree, and to a certain extent, I am hoping I will fall in love with some part of this MLIS program and will not have to decide.  I like too many parts and pieces.  I currently work in a public library.  I have enjoyed it, but I am thinking of focusing more on an academic environment.  Nevertheless, what I am finding as I am reading and listening to several of my classmates, who are already YA Librarians or School Librarians, this material really excites me.  Somehow I want to incorporate youth or young adults into my career; I just am not sure what role that will be.  In addition, I am a parent of two teens and one tween.  I enjoy being with them, for the most part!   I enjoy what they are reading and enjoy helping them find things they like to read.  We try to read aloud together as much as we can.  YA literature is a great genre.    Many of the issues we have read about and discussed have been very interesting. Because I wear that other hat of parent, it has been an interesting lens to look through & knowing what my children are doing in school gives me an interesting perspective.  I have been able to reflect on what some of the authors are discussing not only for my library career, but also as a “parental unit”.   There is a lot more to digital literacy, librarians, our entire educational system, and the future of libraries, than meets the eye.  So much more than I originally thought.

indy
(edtechavenger.com, 2014)

This class has certainly been an adventure thus far.

 

What have also been very interesting to me are the tools we have been using to discuss and share ideas with one another.   I have always loved using technology and at one point in my career considered HRIS, but I really did not want to program.  It has been fun playing with new tools.  Although I sometimes hate being on my iPhone or on my laptop constantly, I am also working in the same environment as a teenager.  By actually behaving in the same way as a teen, it has given me some insight into the world my daughter and most teenagers are conducting themselves.   Twitter is an entire world unto itself and so much information exists there, more than I truly realized.   I wish I had been using it sooner.   I have also enjoyed Google hangout in particular.  I took an on-line course earlier on through the GLIS School and it was very challenging for the discussion/sharing portion. We only used instant messaging type tools.  I enjoy seeing faces in Google Hangout, and listening to what everyone has to say.  The discussions via Titanpad and Twitter are also helpful.  I am still learning how to concisely tweet a thought or comment.  I have difficulty whittling all of my thoughts down into one great statement.   But it is fun to get tweets back from classmates or a comment and I enjoy doing the same for them.   Storify was quite an adventure, but again a fun tool.  I kept trying to show my children how cool it is, but of course they were all rolling their eyes!  Everything that we have shared on Flipgrid, Google Hangout, Storify and Twitter has been invaluable.

One of the other elements of this course has been digital literacy and the importance of it for youth, adolescents and young adults.   We have read many articles that discuss the need for it and the need for HOMAGO, however, not every child has that opportunity.  I found this image below.

digital-literacy
For me it really drives home the need for libraries to exist and to provide digital literacy at public libraries, including digital media. (United Way Greater Austin, 2014)

One of the many other issues we have discussed from our readings has been the necessity of Librarians having the technical background and knowledge of digital media.  All of which is necessary for the 21st Century.  Librarians need to understand and use the array of tools for learning and fun, but also need to be able to convey the ethical issues, and any other issues surrounding the burgeoning amount of information that is changing everything around us.   In Lisa Tripp’s (2011) article, “Digital Youth, Libraries and New Media Literacy”, she emphasizes this necessity – understanding and usage of technology by librarians themselves.   Tripp states, “librarians also need to develop skills in mentoring young people through different stages of these activities and helping them mobilize their interest-driven activities with media toward new areas of learning and expertise” (p. 337).   As I move toward becoming a Librarian, I can see mentoring a very key skill, and so important in whatever setting I end up.  Youth need guidance and they need some parameters to learn and grow, such as helping them figure out what is credible and reliable information (Harris, 2011).

Youth also need to feel less “invisible” and more “credible” themselves. (Lankes, 2008).

Some tweets from my classmates on credibility for youth.

I appreciated so much of what Lankes (2011) and Harris (2011) discussed in their articles.  What I took from Lankes turned some of my own thoughts about the internet and youth and changed my viewpoint, particularly regarding youth becoming experts.    Harris also pointed out similar ideas with using “bad” websites as teaching points to help youth understand what a reliable website is and what reliable really means.

From listening to many of the videos regarding YOUmedia, the viewer can see many of the youths have gained confidence doing what they are doing in that space.   If more of these programs were all over the U.S, I wonder how much it would change the landscape of our educational system and many other youth related issues?  Many youths would flourish and grow given the opportunities such as YOUMedia.  These youth of today are also the future users of libraries.

Libraries can accomplish this as well, as seen from this article about the Nashville Public Library.  They are doing all sorts of great things at this library for both adults and youth.

Although we have not discussed this article in, New Media, New Challenges: The Library and Multi-Media Literacy in Higher Education, by Mundt (2011), the theme of the article has the same overarching ideas Lankes and Harris discuss,  Mundt (2011) states, “successful integration of multimedia literacy into higher education settings may require that instructors closely examine traditional pedagogies, and explore and experiment with new media” (Mundt, 2011, p. 51).   Mundt (2011) also states, much as Lankes did, that “libraries are ideally suited to provide new kinds of learning spaces that support the acquisition of skills required for success in contemporary society, including those needed to be multimedia literate” (p. 52).   Youth, adolescents and young adults need to acquire skills at each step of their education.   It should not stop after high school, nor should it after college.  Additionally, I think some of the ideas in this article are also what Lankes was touching upon in his video (2012), that librarians, particularly in academic libraries, need to gain more credibility within their college or university; gaining the confidence of faculty and instructors.   Renee Fratantonio tweeted about an article that touches upon this same issue of “stereotypes” of librarians. If you have not already read this, it is  a very interesting issue.

This study gave me a little pause that it has even been studied.  However, I can see why it has been since the role of the librarian is in the midst of a tipping point, moving away from old traditional ways toward very new and exciting approaches to technology and information.

I look forward to the rest of this course and to learning more about different aspects of youth competencies.  I am still trying to figure out what I want my final project to be about, but as I read Mundt’s article, I think it might spur me to look further into digital literacy in an academic environment. I need to give it more thought.  The Frances Harris article was so interesting to me as well that maybe I can think about something from there to focus on?   I know there will be more coming our way to think about and learn about ;  how my role as a future librarian can somehow make an impact.  It has been a packed three weeks and I look forward to the remaining time we have together in class.

 

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