As part of my Ethics & Critical Thinking course this summer, we have been asked to develop personal manifestos about our belief systems and  involvement in librarianship.  I decided to approach it as a three part series as I continue to read and develop my ideas about these issues.

This is my last semester of classes, so it is particularly appropriate that I take a long hard look at what I wish to accomplish professionally.  I think what initially drew me to librarianship was the aspect of organizing information, in the same way I could have become a zoologist or entomologist.  I am excited by taxonomic systems.  However, I’m also the kind of person who always wants to be learning something new.  Because – and I do truly believe this, I’m not just trying to be cheesy – the library is the “people’s university” it is the ideal place for self education.  I’m passionate about that, so I’m passionate about libraries.  I’m passionate about EVERYONE having that same opportunity to pursue multivariate interests in well-organized, carefully selected, and multifaceted collections. 

In considering Michael Gorman’s core values in Our Enduring Values,  there are several that stand out for me most prominently.  As part of my personal motivations as described above, literacy & learning and equity of access are certainly essential components of my beliefs.  Stewardship is another very important value to me.  While I am interested in the organization of databases and virtual information, I am also compelled by the preservation and dissemination of artifacts.  I find museums to be equally inspiring institutions for learning, based upon the preservation, contextualization, and display of objects.  These objects can be bibliographic or they can be aesthetic, but either way they inspire thinking beyond their physicality and require stewardship.  As Gorman points out, cultural resource professionals have the role of “preserving the records of humankind”( 59).  That’s a tall order, but it’s something that makes me feel proud to play a part.  Kind of like Noah Wyle in The Librarian: Quest for the Spear.

I’m keeping my mind open right now as to where I can unfold my library wings.  I like academic libraries, but I don’t like the bureaucracy of huge systems.  I think I would prefer an environment where I can perform a variety of work, both technical and public services.  I have considered both community colleges and small public libraries for this reason.  I love cataloging and metadata, but I also love reference.  I suppose my dream job is to be an art librarian or visual resources curator.  I am looking at possibilities in both libraries and museums, as I see the skills of library and information science applying to both types of institutions.  Even if my title is not Librarian, I will still be applying the same knowledge and experiences in one form or another.

As to the issues of professional development, I do try to be as involved as possible in the larger realm of online and in person social networking.  I’ve joined several professional organizations and attended a few conferences.  I try to stay at least only slightly behind the curve with new technologies and Web 2.0.  Obviously I have taken on blogging, and while at the moment I feel like I’m blogging in a vacuum, hopefully I will develop more insightful things to contribute as I go along and will see my observations become part of the biblioblogosphere.  I’ve put up an online portfolio, which will be elaborated as I have the time to work on it. 

At this point I feel like more of an observer than a participant in the field.  I’m trying to soak up as much information as possible in the form of library blogs, websites, articles, and tutorials.  My favorite library(ish) blogs include The Annoyed Librarian, Lorcan Dempsey’s blog, Tame the Web, and Webware. I may try to develop an article if I find a unique focus and useful contribution to the field.  One ethical dilemma I try to avoid is submitting redundant, lackluster, or regurgitated information just to get published.  Seeing my name in print is not my primary motivation, and I don’t see myself in a tenure-track position facing “publish or perish.”  I like blogs for that reason.  Here I can air my thoughts and observations and work through my questions without the pressure of criticism.  Of course, you could drop me a comment and tell me my observations are dull and frivolous.  That’s ok, I can take it.