I’ve written a post about themes in my life as an Emerging Technologies Librarian for my alma mater, University of Michigan School of Information, that just came out today.
Life of an emerging technologies librarian in the health sciences: http://monthly.si.umich.edu/2013/01/17/life-of-an-emerging-technologies-librarian-in-the-health-sciences/
Even though it is twice as long as what they asked for, it is still short when it come to explaining the ideas I wanted to discuss. I have permission to repost it here, and link back to the other, but I think what I’ll do is post segments, and then, hopefully, go into a bit more detail about each. This is how it starts.
What it means to be a librarian has changed dramatically as technology has altered our methods and adjusted our roles for our patrons and our communities. I identify some of the prevailing trends as bubble, blur, flip, spin, hoard and hug. Here’s my story.
January 1985. Nights, I was a poet and single mom. Days, I was a copy cataloger, and selector for 20th-century English-language poetry. I turned down a fellowship in creative writing in favor of library school. Goal: poetry librarian.
August 1985. Craig Mulder and I stood in front of a desk in Library Human Resources in the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library. We were the first two in the new Library Associates Program at what became UMSI.
1985-1987. I worked for two years under Maurita Holland in the Engineering Library, taking courses in information science, management, the evolution of higher education, artificial intelligence, programming, healthcare, and classic library skills. My program was designed to create a combination of librarian, geek squad, manager, and service provider. The focus was on big picture thinking in the context of intellectual curiosity and flexibility. I thought I’d be a corporate librarian in artificial intelligence and neural network R&D.
1987-now. Instead, I ended up spending my career in the academic health sciences.
You see, I never did have a clue what I was going to be when I “grew up,” and that’s turned out to be a good thing. My job now is based strongly on the idea that we don’t know what’s coming next, watching for patterns and trends, and sharing those with my colleagues and the public. The skills I’m using on a daily basis are rooted in what librarians have always done — discover, select, collect, organize, husband, access, preserve, assist, share, teach, outreach, research, advocacy, create — but there are new skills, competencies, and contexts that I didn’t and couldn’t have learned in grad school.