Sunday, September 9, 2012 what the hell. Jump!

About to get started with the second day of R-Squared, the Risk & Reward Conference. I'm almost acclimated to the 9,500ft-plus altitude, after spending Sunday exploring the towns of Telluride and Mountain Village, Colorado. The location couldn't be better for a retreat-style conference, and more than 350 librarians have come into town lately to prove just that. In and amongst the mountain peaks, we've been tackling the thorny questions of risk and reward in the library setting.
As a library student, I've been fortunate to participate in a bunch of library conferences, and all of them have their own themes and undercurrents. R-Squared is proving among the most closely aligned with my own interests in the library world, with its focus on flexibility and risk, entrepreneurial thinking, and creative solutions to age-old problems. Even nicer than that, though, is the population that chose to attend. Every person I've talked to - and they're a diverse bunch - proves through their interests and actions that the library world is changing. As a personal affirmation that I'm not crazy for caring about this stuff, it was worth attending, but more exciting than that is the chance to engage the conversations I care about in a proactive way, avoiding the endless explanations and justifications that "yes, these are issues we should be talking about."
I'm fairly sure I'm the only student here, and I think the lessons I'm learning apply just as much to me as they do to any of the librarians working in the field. To whit:
Stay curious! It's simple, but vital, for information professionals to stay just as curious as we wish the members of our communities would be.

Ask engaging questions! Question design can make all the difference between engagement and apathy.

Work publicly, fail big & often, and don't be shy, even when you aren't certain.
All of these have been said before, but they're worth saying again. We're entering a changing field, and we have the privilege- and the responsibility- to change it for the better.

Keep it up!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Heads up!

Wowzers, this semester started with a bang! My blog updates have suffered a little-here's why:

The summer flew by, what with an internship at Frederick County Public Libraries, and a trek to California for ALA Annual. Suddenly, it was the end of July, which meant it was time to get packed for three weeks abroad!

I spent the first two weeks of August in Florence, Italy, studying librarianship in the global context as part of a pilot program from the Syracuse iSchool. I had a fantastic time, forging connections between my understanding of librarianship and the Italian approaches we saw.

From there, I made my way to Helsinki, for the World Library & Information Congress, IFLA's annual conference. The city was astounding, and what a climate for libraries! Finland was a blast, the conference was a great place to network, and the conversations I had are helping me define exactly what it is that I want to do with my degree.

Arriving stateside with less than a week to spare to move, get settled in Syracuse, and prep for classes made for an exciting end-of-summer. Now, though, I've gotten a handle on my classes and have started to look ahead. This semester is filled - finally - with the content that inspired me to apply to LIS programs: Information organization and architecture. I have a nice mix, with the introductory/core Information Resources: Organization & Access class, an in-depth Information Architecture for Internet Services course, and a tech-heavy Social Web Technologies class in which I'm learning to program and design web interfaces and smartphone apps. The classes I have this semester are more related (and as such, jive better) than either term last year, and I'm excited to see them all coming together.

It'll be a good year, I think--I'm currently in Colorado, getting ready for the next adventure, and between conferences and job hunting and finishing all that pesky coursework, I'll be sure to stay as busy as I like to be.

Can't wait! I'll keep you updated.