September 29, 2010

Day in the Life: The Three Most Important Things I Learned in Library School

I am working on a post about Information in Context, and it's taking shape while I slog through a huge database project, but I had to pause to capture this Day in the Life and the laws I cannot break myself against. There are three things I learned in library school that today seem like the three most important things. If every day were like today, then here is your guide to being an embedded librarian.
  1. HTML: Thank you, Bill Kules, for making me learn to code in HTML by hand and not use Dreamweaver! I use this skill every day in this job. And the importance of this goes well beyond just being able to help out with web tasks in a small organization. When you know code, you have a better understanding of how to organize information. It expands your imagination on all projects. Our content management system can automate a lot of things, but if you can get in there and mess with the code (or even be able to look at code without recoiling in fear), you can be a resource to your webmaster and everyone else.

  2. Web Accessibility: I cannot tell you how important it is that as a librarian you know a thing or three about how to make your electronic information accessible to people with cognitive, visual, or other disabilities. It is the perfect marriage between the person-centered approach of libraries, and the technical knowledge and skills that are increasingly important to our profession. If you are the only one in your organization singing this song, SING LOUDER.

  3. Copyright: Embrace your duty to educate your staff about their own "copy rights," and speak up if you feel they are infringing on others' rights. Your organization may routinely give its resources away for free and without a vested interest in getting credit. However, you as the librarian, and I as the librarian, and we as librarians, have to work extra hard to communicate that not everyone feels this way about sharing information. When I was in Copyright Camp during library school, the SIIA's message to me was, "Don't copy that floppy!" I feel I am slowly making a mantra out of "Don't post that PDF!" Make your staff aware that you have copyright knowledge, and if you don't have some, make a list of your questions and ask another librarian.

1 comment:

efmclean said...

Hi Eileen -

I too think daily of Bill Kules when I am wrapping my mind around coding. I look forward to the other things I will find most resonant when I make the big transition! Great post!