The Engaged Professional section of this course was by far the most useful for me for a number of reasons. First, it opened up an amazing opportunity! Second, as a new information professional, it gave me a chance to reflect on my first few years in the profession.
I like podcasts. I think they’re a great medium for getting a message out there and are an interesting contrast to radio. Radio is live. Podcasts can be streamed anytime anywhere. However, I didn’t know when I wrote my podcast post that I’d be expanding on my ideas about podcasts in the near future. However, when an opportunity presents itself, I believe in taking it, if it’s doable. Therefore, I’m excited to say that an article on podcasts and professional development will be appearing in a journal in the near future. That’s all I should probably say on that. Overall, this post gave me ideas about a podcast I could start if I ever have the time. For the time being, I’ll just listen to them.
I think a lot about advocacy. For the past few years of my career I’ve been working on advocacy working first on SLA’s Public Policy Task Force, and now on the newly created Public Policy Advisory Council. Needless to say, advocacy is a big deal for special libraries. Many of us work in institutions and corporate environments that don’t always count as traditional “libraries” but we do believe in the same principles as public libraries. In fact, the special library I work for is open to the public. The point is, we’re all the same. We believe in access to information, the freedom to read, privacy, etc. Because of that, I believe that libraries and their supporters should advocate for all libraries. Even the ones they don’t know exist. This post really made me think about advocacy and the resources available for libraries to do more advocacy. Going forward I’m definitely going to be more engaged in really helping to shape SLA public policy and hopefully set an example for library organizations doing advocacy. ALA is already great at this, but I believe we need a new strategy in light of a lot of special libraries, school libraries and public libraries disappearing or becoming volunteer-run. People should be interacting with their patrons on a daily basis and vice versa. Libraries are resilient, but new challenges, or old challenges in a new form, are having an adverse impact.
This post was difficult to write. I love my professional organization. I love networking with other members, having access to great webinars and other resources, and being given the chance to serve on some councils and gain valuable experience. However, not all aspects of professional groups are awesome. Fees can be high, and the amount of corporate sponsors and donors makes me shudder. Sometimes I wonder whether they have too much influence over the profession. In summary, professional organizations have their strengths, but they also have their drawbacks. I think they’re still adapting to the changing profession, and they still have a ways to go in that process. When I started this post I was on the fence about professional organizations, since there have been scandals recently, but I do believe they are an inherently good idea. In our digital age, it is more important than ever to really be a part of a group of like-minded individuals working to impart some good (knowledge) on the world.
This section of Rudai23 really helped me get my thoughts about the information profession as a whole on paper. I’m starting to learn where I want my career to go, and in what direction I hope the profession will head.
Disclaimer: This post is a reflection on the Engaged Professional badge for Rudai23. The opinions expressed are my own.