Preparing for life’s work

“To be of any value an education should prepare for life’s work.”

“Don’t trust your memory. Make notes. Write down your observations.”

The last year has been a formative one as I approach the end of library school, and though I am by no means a fan of introspective self-indulgent blogging (see the death throes of LiveJournal), I think it is necessary to reflect on just two things that happened to my year that will inform the shape of this blog over the next few months.

The first is the completion of my directed research project, in which I crafted a large paper on social media use in the academic library. Prior to the completion of that paper that was the realm in which I was most focused. Academic libraries, I thought, were the realm of my interest, and that I could continue my investigation past finishing that report. But what I found instead was that my interests focused further, and I felt freed from trying to wrangle such a broad and complex environment. I now find myself moving past the broader academic culture (or even, perhaps, “libraries” in their most general conception) and its adoption of social media, into a realm of web culture that I view as more pressing, less well-defined, and that requires more reflective practice than it currently receives.

This brings me to my involvement with health librarianship. If you have paid close attention to the things I have been putting on Twitter lately, more and more of them have been health related. A budding interest of mine since my first days of library school and the CIHC (and some not so subtle prodding by librarian mentors) have drawn me toward the field at an alarming rate. I had the pleasure of presenting at the Canadian Health Libraries Association conference last June; I started a second job at the UBC Library in Vancouver General hospital in September; I published a paper for health librarians with Dean Giustini and Allan Cho; and by sheer luck I was able to hear one of my favorite tweeps, Dr. Kent Bottles, speak in Minneapolis (my home town) at a health care and social media event during my practicum. I help to maintain some of the fantastic resources at Dean Giustini’s HLWIKI Canada. One day soon, an interview with me on interprofessional health practice and my work at CIHC Library should be put up on our blog.

Rule one of blogging is to define an audience and speak to them. I feel a little like I am shifting or disrupting that audience as I write this, having defined mine as a larger community of librarians interested in web technology generally. But I am one of the only students at my library school who maintains (if irregularly) a professionally-oriented blog (correct me if I’m wrong here, SLAISers), and certainly one of few who have taken an active interest in health libraries. More Osler: “It is always better to do a thing wrong the first time.” If you’re bored you can just quit me, but my hope is that you won’t. I don’t feel I’ve done wrong here, but feel I have to change slightly in order to engage critically with my more focused interests. My hope is that it leads to greater frequency of posting and, ultimately, adds value to the field in some way.

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One thought on “Preparing for life’s work

  1. Daniel,
    Your life’s work is always in a state of becoming as is your learning and blogging. You are flexible enough and can switch between your projects and interests as you describe them here.

    As far as your journey in health libraries, it’s important to take the first step somewhere. The blog is a single digital step of many you have made elsewhere.

    I guess my encouragement (or pestering) works

    Dean

    Like

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