PROFESSIONAL IDENTITY AND PHILOSOPHY WITHIN LIS
Outcome 1a. Describe the historical context and dynamic nature of the core values and ethics of the library and information professions.
The history of libraries and archives has been a battle between those that believe in literacy and an educated society, and those that want to possess or limit information to shape political power, and wealth. After the invention of the printing press, it took hundreds of years, and the French Revolution for the French government to acknowledge the importance of access to public records. The recognition of marginalized citizens by librarians, lead to the creation of formalized core values that made the profession about more than service and includes specific responsibilities to advocate for the public good. The American Library Association standardized core values and ethics for librarians: Access, Confidentiality/Privacy, Democracy, Diversity, Education and Lifelong Learning, Intellectual Freedom, The Public Good, Preservation, Professionalism, Service and Social Responsibility (American Library Association), while separating personal convictions and professional duties.
History illustrates, through the destruction and looting of the libraries of Alexandria and burning of archival records during the French Revolution, that core values and ethics are essential to providing intellectual freedom and information access. These dynamic values are carried out by librarians and archivists who spearhead campaigns to defend against the government and corporate interference against intellectual freedom, education, and censorship that destroys the underpinnings of democratic societies. The ethics of the profession facilitate principles to guide decision-making when faced with dilemmas. The core values give permission to evaluate, create and continue the free flow of information, and the social responsibility to support diversity for the public good. The history of libraries and archives leaves no doubt that the information professions must remain vigilant to protect access equity to records for people today and tomorrow and use the core values and ethics to hold a coordinated line of social advocacy.
When higher education is a priority, libraries and cultural heritage can flourish. When the government undermines the funding of citizen education, libraries and archives struggle to stay open. In this climate, the profession has recently responded with the proactive leadership of the core values and ethics by developing outreach programs to under-served communities, information literacy education, technology centers to foster innovation, and new educational best practices. Cross-discipline partnerships and collaborations are commonplace to serve fast-changing technology, professional and user service models.
The re-commitment to core values has created professional developments that feature relevant programming based on community partnerships, and service adaptability focused on user experiences. The dynamic nature of the core values and ethics of the library and information professions was founded to actively serve the needs of individuals and is not a static set of rules. We have the responsibility to be flexible, and intuitively use these core values to provide the best service and preservation practices of the human record. The ethics and values are to be practiced every day, an embodiment of a profession focused on communities, education, knowledge creation, and preservation.
Outcome 1b. Articulate the philosophies, theories, models, and/or major perspectives of the library and information professions.
This slideshow was completed my first semester in school and touched on many of the major perspectives of librarianship from the point of view of successful professional behavior related to leadership, service, and advocacy for public libraries. Two years later, having committed myself to digital libraries, I can share a deeper understanding of the professional requirements of a 21st-century information professional.
In the digital information landscape, technology hubs are being developed with integrated technologies joining information centers on the internet. With an avalanche of information, information literacy is critical to delimiting user access. I will advocate for emerging technology trends to continue turning libraries into creative spaces where users can explore new learning and technology. All things digital that are earmarked for preservation, has created a new specialty in the field, digital curation. With more digital resources, metadata, storage, and maintenance of file integrity is expanding the professional boundaries and turned librarians into data wranglers and IT/Programmer collaborators. Special collections that are set for digitization often require additional funding through winning grants that justify value to communities both inside and outside institutions.
Libraries that are focused on research and special collections are working on issues of system integration and interoperability that effects their ability to have seamless access for users, and the ability to collaborate with other institutions. Digital scholarship technologies and research data management require user education for publishing and brought about the open access movement to unlock data sets and research from the grip of monetization by publishers. Collection managers are faced with handling increased workloads through the use of collaborative work models and consortia power to get better pricing, and resources within tight budgets. Digital materials have changed how internal and external members are served, and hybrid collections consisting of print and multi-media digital materials have challenged library user access, acquisition activities, and traditional bibliographic control.
Digital platforms have brought education online and again increases the need for information literacy, and the skills of instruction librarians collaborating with educators to maximize resource discovery, curriculum depth, and learning. Librarians are also responsible for evaluating big data to justify and plan services. Because of these changes, I will need to balance economic and political pressures as the designs of organizations are in constant change, keeping up with changing service platforms, and online identity. Cross-discipline collaboration in the execution of mission and strategic planning has never been more important, leaving each librarian to develop their specialties and tool-kits which rely on constant updating, through environmental scanning.
Outcome 1c. Participate in professional activities and associations, such as professional conferences and meetings, internships and practicums, and professional email discussions and social media.
I pursued three internships and a practicum to gain onsite exposure to information organizations while in school. These experiences provided learning opportunities to create taxonomies, research, create, edit and crosswalk metadata, transcribe audio interviews, learn about project and intern management, rehouse archival materials, communicate preservation needs, conduct informational interviews, serve conference presenters at ALA, provide member resource guidance at the ALA Placement Center, and serve as a second guide on an architectural tour of the Chicago Loop at ALA Annual. These experiences demonstrated how generous and true to the core value of being educators most librarians are.
Education, service, collaboration, and adapting to a changing information landscape have been the examples that have stood out to me. I have used these experiences to improve my work in school and have a clear vision of my professional identity to be a collaborator, writer, educator, facilitator, mentor, and technology champion.
I also attended four conferences during my time at Dominican; Henry Stewart DAM Conference, Chicago 2016, DPLA Fest, Chicago, 2017, ALA Annual, Chicago 2017, and the Lib Tech Conference, Macalester College, St. Paul, MN, 2018. The value of these experiences was learning about professional developments, gaining networks of professionals working on related issues, and the opportunity to share new work, and challenges. The conference attendees have been generous with their contributions, open to new ideas and processes, and passionate about their work. These have all been valuable in demonstrating professionalism, and the breadth of work going on in librarianship and related information fields. I look forward to life-long learning that my new profession demands.