The title speaks for itself. Let’s be very clear, to have a voice in chaos does not mean that you have to lose yourself. I have learned a great lesson regarding this bit of wisdom in my first year as a librarian. Hopefully, you are ready for the conclusion of my first semester and ½ – it get’s that serious with this transcription of reflections of what challenged me to become better as a person and how I’ve been humbled as a first-year librarian. I started out this blog by saying that I came into the profession viewing the library from an artistic perspective by way of technology, information architecture, rare books and special collections, multimedia and archiving. Well that view has been enhanced to a whole new level with regard to seeing truth and honoring your own values with regard to educating the millennial generation, not getting caught up in politics, but striving to be a vessel despite the things that you cannot change. I think being a black female library rock star is pretty cool. “Most of my heroes don’t appear on no stamps.” ― Chuck D
I was taught in library school that we (Librarians) are academics, scholars, and the culture-keepers of knowledge, history, and technology. The university and the library has a story. It must be shared with the students and engrained in their minds through our curriculums as instructors and professors. All throughout the semester, I had to operate under the assumption that a student didn’t know the name of his professor’s books, class name, or class number. I even had some students to ask for certain colors of books. It was an amazing process going on that I did not see as a process. I have to be honest – I kind of lost it mentally sometimes, and had to come down a few notches (Librarians Are The Shyt!), because this was not what I expected at all. My approach can always be better, and I try – I really do try with people. I began to inform students that they needed to know the name of their assigned books and whatever else that has been written in their syllabi or course materials. My observation skills really started to kick in; it get’s better – we will land.
While working in the library and as a professor, I’ve had the opportunity to reflect about my course. I started to see where I had to be open to how students talked, dressed, what they responded to with regard to the course curriculum, assignments, and conversations that we had… Quickly, I realized by meeting them where they are through their world: Hip Hop – I could capture their attention through the arts. Hip Hop as an artform is quite different from where it began in my generation, but the fundamentals are still the same. Hip Hop history, the culture, and future needs to be acknowledged as a movement in their lives and allow students the keys to research through reading, writing,and utilizing technology to document their findings about the arts, race, and culture…“Hip-hop…has been the proverbial key that’s opened the door for me to roam this breathtaking planet.” ― Raquel Cepeda
The library is the heartbeat of the university and the bedrock for knowledge and technology. And let’s be very clear, every university must have a library to be considered as an accredited academic institution. Moving forward… I observed students that entered and left the library, always watching to see how they acquired information throughout the semester. One of my key observations was that students need to have more access to technology. The library needs to welcome in the 21st century (Redundant Ish – I written about it before.). We need better laptops, more useful databases, and if nothing else a better printing system. And, students need to become more patient, open to taking library workshops, and really be driven by the administration to utilize the library for academic success. I remember when I was at the University of Houston as an undergrad and I always had something on my back – literally. My education was serious to me. And, my professors made sure I was challenged. With that being said, I’ve developed my first Information Literacy Blueprint and Hip Hop Information Literacy Curriculum . I am ready – I am Hip Hop. I am ready to help students that want to succeed.
Education is at this point where we must go back to the fundamentals of teaching, by creating collaborative learning environments inside the library and in the classrooms. It is time out for lecturing; we are dealing with a different generation that will not put their cell phones down for a second in the classroom. If they want to talk; we can talk – but we’re going to talk about something substantial. And, it’s cool to use cell phones, but you will be learning while using technical devices. In turn, students will acquire a skill set in which they will be able to value, find, evaluate, and use information that will help them be able to navigate as intermediate and skilled researchers. This is a partnership. And, I aim to be an active participant going forth in all that I do. The question is… Does the student want to take the initiative to meet me halfway.
The LU-Page Library Information Literacy Blueprint and the Hip Hop Information Literacy Curriculum will debut to faculty in Spring 2016 at the first LU-Page Library Information Literacy Faculty Institute, presented by the Inman E. Page Library Information Literacy Commons.
My journey inside the library, its been pretty cool. Patience, love, understanding, my values and ethics as a human being are the keys in this equation. I will continue to serve my fellow man.
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