Libraries are for Use

Demonstrating the value of librarianship

What to study next…


Playing on the popular reader’s advisory book, I’m contemplating different areas of knowledge to attempt to ascend now that I’ve passed on epidemiology.  Not that I am no longer interested in the study of the distribution and determinants of disease in people.  But I have always been pragmatic and now that I have turned back to librarianship, I feel obliged to focus on my true calling.

Given my penchant for the bigger picture, I have a desire to learn more about the foundations and philosophy of librarianship.  Actually, there is no shortage of resources on this topic – from articles to books to blogs.  But as I read such works as The Social Transcript and The Atlas of New Librarianship, I am faced with my relative lack of exposure to philosophical theories and precepts.  I have had the basics – reasoning (logic), history of Western ideas, etc. but the names and theories that are bandied about in these and other works are not familiar.

I have also realized my limited knowledge of the ideas and their impact of our profession’s greatest members.  I recognize names, but have a hard time placing them in the timeline and “idea-scape” of the field.

So, I have decided to embark on a course of study to include these topics:

  • Logic: I need to refresh myself on the foundational “science” of philosophy.
  • Epistemiology or theory of knowledge: I have attempted this before but usually get bogged down in the semantics of the language.  I need some good works that provide an overview that is relevant to the social sciences.  Here’s one from MIT’s OpenCourseware.
  • History of librarianship: Note that I have been avoiding the term, “library science”.  I tried using that, but I always ask myself the age-old question: “science” of what? libraries?  I’m reading the above books quasi-simultaneously – moving back and forth – and one idea I agreed with Dr. Lanske (Atlas) is the focus on the librarian and librarianship, and not the entity.  There are so many “libraries” in academic departments that are merely study rooms filled with books donated or discarded by the faculty.  There is no organization, no purposeful selection (or de-selection), and no way to locate the information needed.  Needless to say, they are rarely used, except as meeting rooms.  Anyhow, I want to re-acquaint myself with the “movers and shakers” of the field, both current and historical.
  • Professions: I’ve already done a review of professionalism and academic librarianship, so maybe I’ll review my resources and write up my ideas.  Who knows, maybe it will be worth something to someone.
Now, I have a reason for posting this on my blog – I need the incentive to pursue this project to completion. Like many librarians I know, I can be easily distracted and may move on before acquiring the knowledge I seek.  Also, I was hoping to gain some insight into the best resources to use.  I want to be informed, but this is purely for self-improvement – this is not a plan for PhD.  Please advise.
I will try to make occasional postings of my progress…unless I get interminably lost on another path.
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This entry was posted on January 26, 2012 by in Intriguing Ideas, LIS Profession, Personal and tagged .
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