Things 19, 20 & 21 are complete...
And now for Thing 22... The final reflective practice of the course and alas the end of Rudaí 23. I thought I would be delighted 'doing' this final reflection, but now that I am actually doing it I am feeling somewhat lonely. Rudaí 23 has played a significant part in my evening routine over the past few months. I have used tools that I would never have considered using, tools that I hadn't heard of and indeed tools that I use in both my personal and professional life. I am thus both happy and despondent.
The task for Thing 22 is to reflect on Things 19, 20 and 21, so here goes. Podcasts are digital audio files available online. I choose to complete option 2 and produced a short podcast. Option 1 would have been a more engaged option but the fact that I hadn't created a podcast in the past meant that I choose this option. I have listened to a number of podcasts, I particularly enjoy 'Librarians Aloud' as its by librarians for librarians, or indeed for those interested in the profession. I also like the 'Adventures in library instruction' series of podcasts. The tools I used for this task were Audacity for recording and SoundCloud for hosting my recording. Both tools were very user friendly and free and I would definitely use both tool going forward; in fact I plan on recording and making available a series of library instruction podcasts for our library users.
Thing 20 covered library advocacy. We advocate our libraries through our mission statements, strategic plans and other library publications, but we can always do more. Thing 20 aimed to get us thinking about how we can contribute to library advocacy. I found this task both interesting and challenging. Yes, we have a mission statement along with a number of library publications but I must admit that I would have not considered such material advocacy as such. So this task really got me thinking, before the task the main way I considered advocacy was through marketing the library and promoting library activities. I was apprehensive to begin with in following the list of 9 exercises but pleased when I completed all 9 exercises provided. I believe that librarians need educating in the skills of advocacy, as library professionals we value libraries but how is that value measured outside of our sphere. We can measure the impact of our profession through engagement and impact. I hadn't regarded our physical space as a form of advocacy but in hindsight being fortunate enough to have a somewhat flagship building both within the college and beyond is testimony to such.
Thing 20 goes hand-in-hand with Thing 21; professional library associations are key to advocacy; encouraging campaigns, funding and developing national strategies and frameworks. Advocacy is just one of the many benefits of engaging with professional groups and organisation. Professional groups advocate the values and functions of librarians, raising our profile as professionals. They advise, campaign, and provide forums to communicate and collaborate. They provide courses and conferences as well as recognising the pursuit of continued professional development. Professional groups akin to the Library Association of Ireland (LAI) and the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) advise, influence and set standards.
It is evident that a group of people have more influence and power than an individual, so if we value our profession we should engage with like minded professionals by joining an associated group. Thing 21 genuinely made me reassess the value of joining professional groups. As an employee I am an institutional member of the LAI and up until now have been happy with the benefits of the membership but after this task I can appreciate the more far reaching benefits of renewing my individual membership.
Some final thoughts...
Rudaí 23 has been a compelling course of discovery from start to finish. The reflective practice tasks really helped me make meaning of the 23 things. It's easy to skim over some tools without truly understanding how to use them. The reflective practice tasks made me think about what I did; evaluating the advantages or disadvantages of the tools, as well as exploring the value of tools relevant to our profession and the impact of library professionals. In the main I have embraced the 23 Things for information skills provided through Rudaí 23.
I would like to thank the Rudaí 23 team for the enlightening course, the positive feedback and ongoing encouragement. Well done all, it’s been a pleasure!
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