Articulating and applying a philosophy of service that incorporates an awareness of the legacy of libraries and information centers within our culture.
Artifact 1: Reflective essay from reference desk work at my practicum. GriffinTM Feb Reflection on Practicum 2013
- Service desk work is the canonical example of librarianship service. My practicum work has over half the time scheduled at the service desk. This position allows me to interact with the patrons and serve their needs. The work directly connects users with resources either by answering reference questions, loaning them technology to complete their work (laptops, iPads), and helping them navigate the resources we offer.
- The artifact that I selected was my reflection report on my second month working there. This essay discusses how the role of the library at this institution has shifted and, in turn, the mission, responsibilities, and access have shifted. One of the points I make in this discussion is the importance of knowing the institution and how the organizational structure affects communication lines. This was an enlightening concept for me to understand because I became aware that if I were to obtain a position as a library liaison, my day to day ability to provide quality service is heavily affected by the differences in communication lines. These lines will sometimes mask the opportunities I will have to reach the full population I am to serve.
Artifact 2: Blind Service Association Project. Blind Service Assn Inventory
- In my first class, one assignment was multifaceted. The instructor has admitted that we were the “guinea pig” for using the Service Learning Program of Dominican for the GSLIS program. It turned out to be a fascinating project. The objective was to work as a group to fulfill a service need in a library or information center. The instructor’s assessments included an advocacy plan for the organization and a “photo story” presentation about the work and the organization. The advocacy plan will be discussed further under objective six.
- The service organization that our group selected was the Blind Service Association of Chicago. This organization assists blind residents of Chicago with daily literacy needs. There is a team of volunteers who help the clients navigate the Web, read and answer mail, offer social groups (like technology reviews and a knitting group), and reading services. This organization specializes in taking materials in print and “reading” them into an audio format. Most of these materials are non-traditional, like instruction manuals.
- This is non-profit association which accepts donations of various types. One of the frequently accepted items is audio books. Their collection of audio books encompassed the entire wall of their activity room and had not been inventoried. Our project was to inventory this collection, organize it, and create some type of catalog system for the clients to be able to check out materials. The artifact I have attached is the inventory document. We were given autonomy in what information to gather and how to organize it; but the specific limitation was to retain the information in an Excel sheet because the Association did not have the time or money to implement a formal library system or hire a specialist to manage the collection. This document was to be their informal catalog system allowing clients availability to an underused resource. What this project demonstrated was that service to others does not always follow best practice. Sometimes it’s what is optimally capable at the time. It also demonstrates that the skills learned here are transferable to many different types of organizations and positions, reaching various demographic groups.