Statement of Professional Philosophy

Standard

 

Introduction:

Before pursuing my career in librarianship, I spent several years working as a teacher in preschool, elementary, and secondary education. I have always had a deep love for education, but I found my true calling in librarianship. I am excited to have the opportunity to begin my life an academic librarian. I am elated about the possibility of combining my love of education and my love of information expertise. I live for connecting users to information and seeking out what is difficult for others to find. As Mason (1990) describes, “information professionals empower their clients to understand and to know – as distinguished from the power to will or to feel”.  I seek to help others understand information and to provide them with the knowledge necessary to help individuals succeed.

I have spent the past three years working towards my MLIS degree at SJSU while working for at Andrew G. Truxal library in Maryland. I have also had the opportunity to work for Hawaii Pacific University’s Meader and Atherton libraries during my time seeking my first master’s in Education at Chaminade University in Honolulu, Hawaii. My love for libraries began when I worked for my Feinberg library at Plattsburgh State University during my undergraduate work as a Library Assistant. I have spent the past decade in the library and information science field. My work experience and my coursework in information science has given me invaluable insight into the world of librarianship.

My work experiences have allowed me to learn the ins and outs of the information profession from the ground up, assisting on various projects in Periodicals department including large weeding of the print periodical and planning the redesign of the department. I have had experience in Circulation with assisting patrons, training, and supervising the student assistants/ Circulation staff members. I have enjoyed working in academic library environments and assisting students with finding the materials they need to complete their classwork. It inspired me to want to take my career further and expand my knowledge of library and information science. I have always loved reading and searching for information. My undergraduate coursework in English and Education gave me a foundation in the writing process as well as a wide breadth of knowledge on educational philosophy.

I have long held a passion for assisting people with their education and working to expand their knowledge on a myriad of subjects. I have a passion for research since my time as an undergraduate student that has just grown over the years. I enjoy working with others and providing excellent service to patrons. I have a love for my work that I believe is infectious to both my coworkers and patrons. As information professionals, we are the gatekeepers of knowledge lighting the way for individuals on their path to understanding.  In Mason’s (1990) article, he describes of an information professional as someone who empowers people through the use of information, “this empowering information, as Fritz Machlup once described it, consists of the signs and symbols that one mind uses to influence another mind. Thus, information professionals are the people who carry out this process of influence on the mind”. Information professionals assist in helping people grow their mind and enhance their knowledge. Knowledge empowers individuals and enhances their lives. As an information professional, I hope to provide patrons with knowledge and understanding. I desire to assist individuals to become successful people and knowledgeable global citizens.

Philosophy                                                                                

One of my greatest motivations to become an information professional is helping the students succeed. I enjoy watching them evolve as students and move on to successful futures due to the assistance we have given them. Information literacy instruction and information intermediation allows us to help students think about information before they simply just use or believe what it is they read. One of the most memorable courses I took as an undergraduate was a developmental psychology course in which our professors spend a large portion of the course simply teaching us to identify the validity of the scientific method used in a variety of research. He believed that the most important thing he could instruct us on was not to memorize theories, but instead taught us the skills required to be able to determine for ourselves which theories had validity and which used poor scientific methods or poor scientific reasoning. I have cherished and utilized this skill throughout my life. This is one of the many reasons I believe that information literacy is so important. Teaching students the about not just the scientific processes used in experiments, but the validity of information is an invaluable gift we can give to students of all majors and all levels of society. As the recent U.S. presidential elections demonstrated to our society that understanding the currency, reliability or relevance, authority or audience, accuracy, and purpose or point view is critical to functioning as a citizen. According to Jacobs and Berg (2011) President Barack Obama issued a proclamation stating that “an informed and educated citizenry is essential to the functioning of our modern democratic society”. I believe that part of being an information professional is promoting the love of lifelong learning and educating our citizenry in information literacy skills as Jacobs and Berg (2011) reiterates President Obama’s writing, “I encourage educational and community institutions across the country to help Americans find and evaluate the information they seek, in all its forms”. As our society becomes increasingly global, it is incredibly important to educate our citizens on how to analyze information in all fields. This includes being able to accurately determine if information shared by news sources or social media is accurate or credible. This is one of the main missions and purposes of librarianship and as an information professional, I planned to dedicate myself to ensuring that our patrons become informed and educated for all purposes including personal, social, occupational, and educational.

My future career goals

I am a graduate student in the Masters in library and information science program with a concentration in instruction and intimidation. My undergraduate work and my previous graduate work are in English literature and Education. I wish to ensure information and library services are accessible to all individuals. I wish to work in an academic library in instruction and reference services. Although, there are many areas of librarianship that interest me, and I would be excited to explore especially as the information field is expanding due to digital technology.

One of my professional goals is to become an academic Librarian who also serves as a  liaison between academic libraries, writing centers; disabilities support services, veterans support services, and interdisciplinary fields. I want to expand libraries as part of the academic communities. I want to make libraries more accessible to all types of students and Information Literacy instruction (ILI) more inclusive to individuals with disabilities. I plan to do this by utilizing universal design approaches in ILI to make library services more accessible. I also want to assist with designing and utilizing interfaces that are more accessible to individuals with disabilities. Changing small things like using Sans serif fonts can make web pages or instructional supplements more accessible. Using alternatives to programs like reCAPTCHA, this is a program for protecting websites from spam or bots. For the bot or spam machine to get to the data, they must write the words or letters they view. This can be difficult for individuals with dyslexia and can make library forms inaccessible. Changing our services in small ways can make a large impact on individuals with disabilities. Changing techniques not only in instruction but also in reference services including adding more ways to reach us via email or via virtual conferencing such as Blackboard Collaborate can make services more inclusive.  I also wish to study copyright laws in relation to accessibility for people with disabilities, inform libraries of what they can do to help ensure accessibility. I want to advocate for changes as needed to ensure that copyright laws are unnecessarily disenfranchising those with disabilities. I want to ensure that our libguides take in consideration individuals with disabilities as well I have already addressed altering reference interview techniques and libguides to assist individuals with disabilities in competency C and Competency K .

I also wish to assist our ESL learners to develop their skills so that they can be successful in academia. Many ESL students need resources available in multiple languages and working with ESL services to help offer resources in multiple languages. This can include employing staff members with bilingual capabilities. I hope to work in conjunction with writing labs or tutoring center to help develop their academic writing skills in English.  It can include having libguides or instructional handout available in multiple languages. In my strategic plan, I created goals for expansion of library materials in Spanish to address the community needs in competency B

Another goal I have is to increase the utilization of Open Educational Resources (OER) to decrease the cost of textbooks to college students. I created a mock grant for OER resources in my Competency N. I think this is an important need for students today to enhance accessibility and reduce costs of textbooks. I think this can also reduce the cost of materials for libraries if we incorporate more Open resources in our digital collections. I would like to review and evaluate open education resources to ensure they are quality educational resources for incorporation into the curriculum. I would also evaluate these resources for accessibility to individuals with disabilities.  I would also like to create open resources for student work donated or which students give permission for the library to use for engineering students such as projects created in makerspaces.

My final goal I have is to use makerspaces in an academic library to facilitate the instruction of information literacy. I would like to assess IL instruction using makerspaces on an institutional level and evaluate their effectiveness at teaching IL skills to students. I began a project proposal in competency L for evaluating makerspaces used for ILI using portfolio assessments.

Conclusion

It is my professional goals to make libraries more inclusive and accessible to individuals with disabilities. In the future, I hope to aid making interfaces more accessible to individuals with disabilities and evaluate open educational resources to ensure accessibility to all types of users. I wish to encourage lifelong learning and information literacy skills for all patrons. I wish to encourage the seeking of information in all its forms and be a catalyst for creating an informed and educated society. It is my professional goal to evaluate programs, collections, and services to ensure they effectively meet our user’s needs. It is my goal to create a culture of inclusion and to be a devoted social justice advocate. I hope to contribute to the profession of librarianship by bringing my knowledge and skills that I have learned through my time at SJSU to enhance the information organizations that employ me in the future.

References:

Mason, R. (1990). What Is an Information Professional? Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, 31(2), 122-138. doi:10.2307/40323396

Jacobs, H. L., & Berg, S. (2011). Reconnecting Information Literacy Policy with the Core Values of Librarianship. Library Trends, 60(2), 383-394. doi:10.1353/lib.2011.0043

 

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