Woo hoo! The last assignment to complete 23 1/2 Things! We are supposed to "reflect on our learning journey" and I will do just that once I post somewhat of a disclaimer.
Anyone reading my assignments, especially the good folks running the program, will note that most of them were completed over the course of very few days. To my credit, I will note that I had a lot of free time on my hands those days and really took the time to think about each assignment thoroughly. For example, I completed Assignments #6 through #14 over the course of approximately nine hours. Aside from a short dinner break, I worked on this program straight through that entire time, which works out to just shy of an hour per assignment. Obviously, most people don't have that sort of luxury -- I certainly won't once I'm back at work tomorrow -- however, I chose to do the program this way for three important reasons:
* Getting back into the game. To be frank, I've been on a voluntary work hiatus for ten months. I've been very lucky to do so, but concentrating on other areas of my life for the better part of 2007 meant the work portion of my brain was a bit rusty. I wanted to do something proactive to make sure I was fully ready to embark on this exciting new career that I've been working toward for the last four years.
* Setting a baseline. At this point, I know I'm looking at the library world from a dangerous position -- with enough knowledge to know the players, the concerns and the theory, but not enough practical experience to really know how it all comes together. To boot, I'm coming from a corporate career background focused on communications, creative thinking, and exceptional customer service. I worked hard to become a vice president in a top PR firm and earn my clients' trust when I gave counsel. I supervised various teams and trained a lot of junior staff, many of whom I'm thrilled to see flourish in their own management careers. Now, I'm back at the beginning, but with that training and thought pattern under my belt. I know what I know and I'd like to think my opinions are informed, but I also know they will probably change as I actually sit behind the librarian desk. Six months from now, I'd like to come back and see if any of my thoughts on Library 2.0 have changed. I'm sure they will.
* Momentum. Once I get going, I get going. I also wanted to think about how each tool works (or doesn't) within the context of the other tools.
Would I recommend completing the program this way? Perhaps not, as it requires a lot of undivided attention and doesn't allow for extra exploration. I also didn't really have the time to post in many of my fellow program participants' journals, nor was I allowed to join QL Chat since I don't have a QL employee ID; therefore, I couldn't really enjoy the collaborative intent of the program. In the end, however, I'm glad I did it this way for the very unique reasons I just mentioned.
With that out of the way, what have I learned?
What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?
Selfishly, probably the ones that appealed to my personal interests. I loved LibraryThing, exploring podcasts, and discovering the digital media center.
How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?
I think the program has shown me that keeping up with Internet technology is important for any information professional. I'll probably never be one to really dive in deep, get super involved, or use a lot of web tools; however, I do feel it's important that I know what's out there and the pros/cons. As is my work style, it's also good to know people who really groove on tech so I can collaborate with them and get informed opinions/real-life field trial information.
Were there any take-aways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?
In short, the fact that I came out of this program somewhat jazzed about some of the tools. I'm not a pessimistic person, but I thought this program would be more a slog than interesting and involving. Quite the opposite happened -- in fact, I often found myself (*gasp!*) having fun.
What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?
Not much, except to maybe test the links and/or which sites can be accessed from the library itself. I didn't encounter any problems, but it seemed that some folks who were following the program from work couldn't get to some of the suggested resources. I don't know the ins and outs of the system (yet!), but perhaps more collaboration with the IT department would help alleviate those problems.
And last but not least…if we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you again chose to participate?
Most likely, yes. I think it's a wonderful way to gently expose yourself to new concepts. Getting to know your colleagues, especially in a system as widespread as Queens Library, can also only be a good thing.
Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make this program happen, especially Hood and Hat who so eagerly and kindly shared her new baby with me -- a perfect stranger from a librarian listserv! -- way back when I was only in the interviewing stage. What a way to start my new career!
Stay tuned for more from The Leisurely Librarian. I hope to chronicle my first work year on this journal and hope that you'll keep reading. Cheers!