BANNED BOOK WEEK

Banned Book Week could be just about my favorite week of the year! I love freedom from censorship. LOVE IT! I love celebrating this freedom. Naturally, I think everyone should be able to read whatever they want, whenever they want. The only person who should censor is the person reading.

When I was young and I would happen across a book that was too old for me, I would put it away, immediately, without any thought of reading that book again. I think that is what most young people do when they find a book that is too old for them. For banned book week, I read “Looking for Alaska” by John Green. This book has been challenged multiple times and was fought by John and Hank and other nerd fighters. Watch the video below, it’s great!


It was banned because it was “pornography.” The scene is question is not pornography. It is nowhere near pornography. It is actually very tame if you consider some of the other sexual scenes that teens can watch and read.

This story is important to literature. The scene it was banned for is important for the story. There is so much good that can come to teens by reading this book. It deals with life, death, love, and so many relevant themes to teens and adults alike. It asks us to find a place in the world where there is not automatically a place. I cannot imagine how helpful this would be for a teenager who is dealing with issues. Learning through literature is so much easier than learning through nothing. It helps us find a healthy way to relate to the world. I for one would never want to take that away.

In the words of John Green, “Stop condescending the teens!”

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September 30, 2013 · 7:10 pm

Professional Associations

Two professional associations that I would like to join are ALA (American Library Association) and MLA (Michigan Library Association). I suppose these two associations are a bit typical to want to join, but I feel that being part of MLA is a great networking chance, and would allow me to attend conferences that could keep me current in my work near home. I would like to join ALA for a similar reason. It is our organization as a profession. I am unsure if I would be able to attend conferences and events as frequently, but it still seems like a good professional organization of which to be a part.

ALA has many benefits. According to ALA’s website their mission “is to provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.” This seems like a worthwhile mission to advocate for. The promotion of access of information should be the cornerstone of any librarian. The membership prices vary and are dependent on the place you are in life. It seems that it offers the same thing for all members: professional support and continuing education. Anyone involved with a library can be a member, though the price is slightly cheaper for students and most expensive for salaried librarians. ALA has a great presence in social media. They have a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and a Pinterest. Their website is a bit crowded, but overall, offers everything you may want to know about their organizations if you dig a little. They do many events including their large yearly conference, which I CANNOT wait to go to! ALA would be a great professional association to join.

MLA offers similar benefits to ALA, but on a more personal scale because it is in state. Their mission is “Helping Libraries and Library Professionals Succeed.” Their values are in line with the ethical values of libraries. It seems that anyone can join, but the price changes depending on what affiliation you have with a library. It is also nice that students get the cheapest price to enter. Members get the following benefits: a) Statewide Support for Libraries and Library Professionals, b) Professional Development, c) Statewide Networking and Collaboration, d) Current Information & Library Trends, e) Member Discounts, and f) Leadership and Career Advancement. MLA does a yearly conference, smaller conferences throughout the year, and events that take place in various locations. ­­­­­MLA can be found on Facebook and Twitter. Their website is a bit hectic, but easy to navigate. MLA would be a great group to be part of.

After taking a look at these two associations, if I only join two associations in my career, these would be two worthwhile ones to invest in. That is not to say I will not join more, but I will definitely be joining these two. I think MLA provides similar benefits to ALA, but on a more personal level. ALA gives you the opportunity to do national events. I feel that either would be beneficial to my future career.

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Career Goals

Before I started at Wayne State and before I finished my undergrad at Michigan State University, I wanted to be a teacher. I wanted to work with high school students, teaching English, but I also wanted to be a Librarian. I was accepted into the Education program at MSU, I had already taken a few classes, and really there was no doubt that I would be a teacher. I kept saying though, “After I am a teacher, I will go back to get my master’s degree and become a  librarian.”

The reality is, a lot of schools are cutting librarians. This is a trend right now in Michigan, and perhaps it will dip and school’s budgets will become a little higher and they will hire them back (especially with so many schools starting IB programs). So, one day it would have been plausible for me to be a media librarian. Right now, it didn’t seem like the most logical decision to become a teacher and then a librarian, only to find I could not get one of the few jobs open, when really I wanted to be a librarian, not a teacher. I skipped. I got a degree in English, and then I went straight to Wayne.

This doesn’t change the fact that I have a love for education, teaching, and people. I will say, I am more suited for teaching in a one-on-one interaction, rather than a group setting, so becoming a librarian fits. My career goals center around this. I am not exactly sure where my education will lead me, but right now I have a decent idea of where I want to be. I know I want to work for a University or college. I would love to be an academic librarian. Furthering the education goals of students, helping with research, and picking out collections that can help students would definitely be high on my priority list. I would probably be best suited to work in reference. At the same time, I do have a love for the public library and the high school age group. This makes me lean toward getting a Graduate Certificate in Public Library Services to Children and Young Adults.

The best part of becoming a librarian is that you are not limited. There is such a large amount of interesting options, it is exciting more than anything else to choose what will be best suited for me. Whether I end up at a University, a public library, or a business, I feel as though I can gain the ability to work wherever I would like.

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Assumptions About Libraries

The intent of this blog is to explore the field of LIS from a grad student’s perspective. Over the next semester (and perhaps after), I will attempt to explore, evaluate, and possibly redefine my assumptions (listed below) about the field of Library Science and Information Technology, the direction libraries are going in, and what this means for librarians.

My interest as a student and future professional centers on one day working in an Academic Library. Though I will not limit myself to posting about academic libraries, I do hope to dig deeper into the work of an academic librarian. For now, I will make my assumptions a bit broader, in order to allow for the largest possible scope of investigation.

One week into Library School, these are the four assumptions I have made about the field of Library Science. I am curious to see how these change or evolve over the next two years. Remember, they are only assumptions from a beginner who is just beginning to explore this extensive field. I ask you to think of it like an explorer in space, who, for the first time, is confronted with the very real possibility that perhaps, he is not alone in this universe.

1)      Librarians will have to adapt in order to stay relevant in an increasingly technologically based society.

This assumption almost seems too obvious to put down. Of course, libraries will have to adapt, what doesn’t? How many places have had to change their business model to incorporate the ever-growing technological dependence of this century?

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Now I am not saying that it has to be like this academic library at Drexel University (at least not tomorrow), where we just throw away our books and paint the walls so that they are a dry erase boards (although, can we paint every wall so that it can be used as a dry erase board?), but we have to treat a Library as what it is: a business. It may not be a for-profit business, but a business it is. A library at its very core offers a service to patrons. If it no longer offers a service that people want, is it still necessary? Do we keep it in business just to say we have saved libraries?

My assumption is no, of course not. So, in this generation, I think librarians are really going to have to evaluate the directions they want to take libraries (which I believe they are already doing), in order to provide the same services it always has, but in a way that serves the needs of a new generation.

2)      A librarian’s responsibility within twenty years will hardly involve books, rather it will center on different technologies: computers, tablets, e-readers, and electronic resources.

A librarian is hardly defined by books or card catalogs. He or she welcomes a louder environment, in which people can make noise, study, and even eat (gasp). For a library to not be defined by book is important in keeping libraries alive. Information used to be expressed through paper. This is no longer the case. A librarians main goal is to get to its user relevant and important information. Sure, some of this will be through books, but a lot of it will be through things that put an e in front of it (e-books, e-journals, and so on). It scarcely matters the package the information comes in, so long as there are people who can get the package to you. So, yes it may be books, but, given the technologies we have (and how many resources it takes to print one book), it probably will not be.

3)      Libraries (specifically public and academic) will undergo such drastic changes, most people will not associate it to what we now consider a Library.

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When most people think of librarians, an image like the one above pops in their head. Half the battle will be to change the image that comes into people’s head. Getting the new technology, training with it, and being able to train the public with it, being the other half.

How will a libraries change its image. They first have to change the library. If they haven’t already, they will need to integrate this new technology available (computers, tablets, e-readers, etc.). They will need to make itself more welcoming as a relaxed environment. This may scare away people who like to think of a library as a quiet place, but ultimately it may bring in people who do not like to think of libraries at all.

Then, after the inside is changed, make it known to the public. Social media can have a great impact. Twitter, Facebook, and blogs, for example, can really be used to bring in people who wouldn’t necessarily come.

4)      Despite what people say, libraries will remain relevant as they have remained relevant for centuries.

I am of the opinion that so long as there is information, there is a need for people to be the caretakers of it. Google is a complex organism, it helps to have a human Google to sort through it.

As I said earlier, these are only assumptions. I will take care to explore these thoughts and see where they take me.

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