Saturday, February 23, 2013

Lessons from the Library - Week 7

Fresh from a fine graduate program in my selected field I found my first 'professional' position in a major metropolitan library system.  I had been tutored in the big picture, the grand scheme, and the overarching philosophies but soon realized there was a practice side to the profession left out of those many classes and lectures.

Luckily my supervisor, Mrs. Denyvetta Davis, had a lot of that practical, 'rubber meets the road' , experience and set out to train the newbie.

A series of tasks occupied by first few days.  I had to find, surveyed, and then write reports on many various resources in that particular library.  The report had to address how the resource might be helpful to a customer, when it might be needed, and who might look for it in the course of a normal day.

The result was that the head knowledge integrated with the practical working world needs of a busy library.  I gained immediate applicable information for those phone and face-to-face reference needs.  It created awareness of who used the library, why they used the library, and what types of information was most actively sought by customers.

The lesson learned was that the philosophical information and training are crucial to the development of a professional in any field but 'interning' was also very useful.  The professional aspect was in name only until the professional training and the field training met and merged into one cohesive unit.  It was a valuable lesson taught by a very skillful professional who was also practically rooted in workday realities.  Thanks Mrs. D!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lesson from the Library - Week 6

In the oversized books on the library shelves I discovered a world of human vision.  These were eye opening to a girl from a small midwestern town were the acceptable art were calendars with paintings by Norman Rockwell or the overly pious religious art behind the pulpit on Sunday.

Suddenly the human form was a thing of beauty, exotic locales became real, and a realization that humans had in the earliest moments sought to describe their inner thoughts in line, color, and shading.  

In that process came an expansion of my world and a realization that maybe there was something beyond the boundaries of the town where I lived.  The two dimensional limits of the life I knew began to develop depth and sutbtle shades of new meaning.

All because, a large book on a little used shelf caught my eye and I opened its covers to discover the world.