Two years later…

I originally started this blog to document my first year as an academic librarian. As it turns out, I had so much to learn about the profession and myself that it has been really hard for me to be reflective about my experiences over the past two year.

Next week, I will reach the end of my second year as an instruction & reference librarian. What I’ve learned is that I am more instruction and less reference when it comes to describing myself as a librarian. I’m also beginning to realize I may be more of a teacher or guide than a librarian. I spent many years teaching writing and working in writing labs and am accustomed to seeing research, writing, and learning as more of a process. I am more interested in seeing students explore ideas and think than simply find an “authoritative” source. I would rather coax them into thinking for themselves rather than just directing them to a source or list of sources.

Now comes the challenge of sorting out my own “philosophy of librarianship” in the way that education students must develop an educational philosophy. With every class I teach, I find myself getting further and further away from simply showing students how to find different information sources and focusing more on why they should find them. I also find myself thinking more like a teacher than anything else, and in that context, I worry about shortchanging my students when I don’t challenge them to think and find out things for themselves and sometimes even learn from their mistakes. The conflict I see between the instruction and the reference sides of my job is something that I want to explore more thoroughly as I enter my third year in the profession.