Monday, June 4, 2012

Initial thoughts on teaching Foundations

As I begin teaching Foundations of Library and Information Science this semester, I want to step back and think about why I’m teaching this course. After all, I teach many electives that require specialized knowledge. Why teach the introductory course? This foundational course makes me consider the various aspects of the field, what has changed over time, and what stays the same. At the same time, I must consider the field into its cultural perspective, in a social, economic, and political context, and most of all, how the practice of librarianship and information science is evolving. While this is not an easy task, it is enjoyable and forces me to think about libraries and other cultural institutions as a whole, as an integral part of society and our civilization.

You will read in this first week that Dr. Rubin believes the core roles of libraries as Education, Recreation & Information. What do you think? Are there other roles for libraries and information centers, for archives, historical societies, and museums? How will cultural institutions evolve over the next 10 or 20 years? Can you see that far into the future? How will this profession be affected by the internet, social networking, and computers in general? What role with e-books and the digital revolution play in and with cultural institutions? There is much food for thought in the past, present, and future of this profession. Which aspects of the profession will keep you up at night?

Another question to consider is your place within the world of librarianship, information science, and the fields of knowledge workers as a whole. I see my role as one of disseminating information and knowledge, whether I locate information for a client, compile historical data for a project, identify individuals or materials to answer a legal question, or try to explain a concept to a library science student. It is a basic tenet of librarianship that we disseminate information to those who seek or ask. Does this role hold true today?

Here’s a new video that is making the rounds. New Amazon Kindle Commercial Parody (A Normal Book) Discusses the virtues of the physical book using the same vocabulary as advertisements for the Kindle or other e-book reading devices. Do you think that this video helps or defeats the notion that “books are disappearing”?

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