Saturday, June 16, 2012

Learning every day

That’s my new mantra. What did I learn today? How will I learn today? Did I take the time to do something new? To learn something?

In our lives so full of information overload, sometimes information flows back out, or bounces out of our brains faster than it can be absorbed. Only when we disconnect from everything that is competing for our attention can we begin to absorb what we are learning. While you are reading the articles or listening to the podcasts, try not to check your e-mail, talk on the phone, watch TV, or even walk out of the room. Take some notes. Think about what the author is doing or trying to teach you. Take frequent breaks so what you are learning starts to stick. 

Here's some other tricks. Try to explain the concept to your spouse, child, pet, or even stuffed animal. Think three topics, subject headings, or 'tags' for each article and podcast. Draw a diagram connecting the articles or concepts to one another and then to the concepts you learned about in earlier sessions or classes. How does the new information fit into what I already know about the field?

If you don't know what a word means, what a concept encompasses, or who a person is, look it up. Dictionaries and encyclopaedia are the basic tools of librarians. What other reference tools do you like to use? How about something with pictures in it?

When in doubt, look it up? Get in the habit of doing just that, so when a patron asks about something you don't know, you look it up, paraphrase the idea, and confirm that you understand before proceeding with the question.

The drive to learn something new every day will keep librarianship fresh for you. Consider the types of things you can learn and expand your horizons.

What will you learn today?

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