user profile

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For my user profile, I spoke to one of the men who works at the hospital library where I volunteer.  The library is part of the larger Community Health Education Center, which services the hospital and the community at large, and he is the Community Education Coordinator.  He isn’t my boss directly, but he works very closely with my boss.  On a more practical front, he is over 60 years of age and therefore decidedly not in my generation.

He’s well-versed in technology, however.  He used computers as early as his college days, although those were the kind with punch cards and terminals.  He mentioned also that he had bought an early version of a laptop, a TRS-80 Model 100, and it was because of his knowledge of this that he actually got the job at the library et al, since they were looking for people with technical experience.  He didn’t have a cell phone for about five years after people started using them, though he did use them in a professional context (with the old cell phones in the suitcases).

Nowadays, he uses technology for work on a daily basis: the work done at the library is almost entirely tied to the computer.  Email, the card catalog, ordering books, scheduling classes, recording time and attendance, and all manner of software (Microsoft Office, though he mentioned that he hates Excel; various library/education-specific technologies; the internet – he uses Google Chrome at home but at the library only Internet Explorer comes as a default and Firefox might be installed if you ask for it).  He uses his cell phone mostly for text messaging and some web browsing, and doesn’t use social media (he had a Myspace, but that’s fallen out of fashion).

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introduction

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So it’s been a while since I’ve hung out here, but before I was taking an undergrad independent study library course and now I’m in graduate school, and I might as well recycle the address!

So, my name is Brynna.  I’m a not even a year out of college the first time, with a degree in interdisciplinary studies (which means that because of transfer credits and the like, I had more than enough classes to graduate but not in the preordained majors/minors, so we just made it up; besides, I think it works for library studies, because having a background in several focus areas [English, psychology, “creative arts” i.e. mostly theatre]) which is a good thing in such a field as this.

My stumbling into library science is a bit of a funny story, actually.  The university I attended for my undergrad degree had a good teaching program and when I transferred to live back home my dad started, well, hounding me about What I Was Going To Do With My Life.  (My truest most sincere endgame is writing fiction, but he meant for a practical day job, and I understand his point.)  “You should be an English teacher,” he said.  “You like books.  And then you can have the summers off.”  From what I can see, though, genuinely liking books is a good reason not to be an English teacher (especially given that I don’t really care for the majority of books I read in school) — reading/teaching more or less the same books yearly?  No, thank you.  And you don’t really get summers off; I’d much rather be able to take a day off here or there as I want/need, not be tied down to a set schedule.  I wasn’t keen on this plan, to say the least.

Then he offhandedly suggested I get a job in the university library.  I applied for one, but didn’t get it (they preferred to hire freshmen, given how much training there was and how it just wasn’t worth it to train someone who’d be leaving in a year or two).  But the idea had been planted, and I suggested to my dad that I might be interested in pursuing libraries as a career in general.  “But libraries are dying, that’s not practical!” he crowed.  “I want you to do the research and prove to me that it’s viable.”  I’m not sure what he was trying to achieve with that, beyond the practical; it sounded almost like a punishment the way he said it but he forgets that I enjoy doing research (I call my personal sigil Research Cat, she’s a black cat with red glasses on an aqua field, my words are “Do Your Research,” I am a complete weirdo and I know it).

So I did my research.  And I found out about the ways that library science was practical.  School libraries were being cut, maybe, but luckily I didn’t want to work in one of those.  (That’s another reason I shouldn’t be a teacher.  I can deal with less than 4 kids in small doses if they’re polite and interested in what they’re doing, maybe.  But kids en masse?  Nope.  Also being around rooms full of people who don’t want to be there drained me even when I was just a student, so teaching would not be ideal.)  I’m not sure what kind of library I do want to work in.  Special, probably.  I like one-on-one work.

Anyhow, that was an overly long story, but it seemed relevant.  As far as technology and digital fluency goes, I wouldn’t say I’m the most expert ever but I’m certainly no slouch.  I have a fair amount of digital database work in my background (both through undergrad and my volunteer work at my local hospital library); I can use plenty of software that other people tend to shrink at (more than once I’ve been asked to teach friends how to Photoshop, which isn’t that difficult to me but they seem wary of it initially); I blog recreationally as well as this (WordPress for my blog proper, Tumblr for links, publicizing, and sundry other images and socializing, very occasionally Twitter for the things that are too short for other sources though I am definitely not as immersed in Twitter culture as I am in Tumblr culture) and have been known to figure digital things out very shortly after being exposed to them.  I haven’t done a lot of what this class is going to teach us, but I do have some very basic experience with coding (a web design class I took in undergrad; also just what I’ve picked up from html-formatting blog posts on various platforms) and I’m not nervous.  If anything, I’m excited.  I’m hoping that my tendency to be a quick study technologically carries over into this.