Welcome, fellow students, to my LIS 6010 blog. I should start by saying that I have never before been a writer of blogs, and that I could have carried on not being a writer of blogs with very little remorse. I say this not because I strongly dislike the notion of blogs in general, but because I myself do not enjoy making them. I know this with great clarity thanks to the 80 minutes I just spent attempting to customize the page you see before you.
Customization is a lie.
Still, here we are. Might as well make the best of it.
The silver lining to my frustration over grappling with how the blog looks (stop telling me it’s a customizable header when you won’t let me put up my own picture, you filthy liars) is that I think I will at least enjoy what it says. I look forward to my first baby steps into the world of Library and Information Science, and to sharing them with all of you – which brings me to the meat of our first topic.
The question of what assumptions and beliefs I hold about LIS professions was a bit of a puzzle even to me. When I first read those lines in the assignment description, I had to lean back in my chair for a while and have a good think. What were my assumptions? I had never sat down and clearly articulated them to myself, let alone anyone else. After a few minutes, however, a few sprung to mind:
1. LIS Professions are part of “The Dream.”
“The Dream” that I refer to is the one that I’m sure many other people fresh from their undergraduate studies share – the desire to actually work in the field in which you have just been trained. In my case, that field is history, and I have entertained absolutely no ambition to enter a career that didn’t involve history since I first entered high school. My assumption/assertion/belief is that LIS is the less boringly conventional embodiment of that dream. Whenever a newly met adult has politely asked me the classic question of “What are you taking in school?” their response to my answer has always been “Oh, so you want to be a teacher!”
No. No I do not.
At least, not in the conventional sense. I certainly value education and anyone who contributes to it, but I don’t want to preside over a classroom – I want to sort through the tangible traceries of history and do my best to promote and present it to the widest public possible, not just a small group of students. I want to be in an archive somewhere preserving and sharing someone’s diaries and letters, or in a museum planning an exhibit.
So, there it is. My fist assumption is that LIS professions are going to give me the career I’ve been dreaming about.
2. LIS Professions are Everywhere
My second belief/assertion is that LIS professions cover an immense range of career possibilities and that there isn’t just one LIS profession worth paying attention to. The more I listen and speak to my LIS professors and fellow students, the more intrigued I get by the seemingly endless possibilities. Aside from my already arrived at interests in archives and museum work, there is also the ever-expanding world of digital content to keep in mind. And it doesn’t even come close to stopping there – there are also LIS professionals in places I would never have considered, like hospitals and big business.
Essentially, my belief is that LIS Professions are more far-flung than even I – already a fan of the field – had imagined. I also now believe that I have a lot more to learn about exactly how big the world of library and information science professionals actually is.
3. LIS Professionals are Essential – and Powerful
Though it is impossible to say this without sounding especially dramatic or pompous, I think it safe to define LIS Professionals as “keepers of knowledge,” which is as crucial of a role as it is a powerful one. I believe that LIS Professionals, by preserving and promoting knowledge so that anyone can have access to it, fulfill a role that is critical to the well-being of any and all societies. LIS Professionals can shape memories and ideas through what information they choose to make available. Professionals such as archivists can, in a very real sense, shape history by deciding what records and papers to keep and what to dispose of. As such, they hold incredible power – and, as Spider-Man has taught us, with great power comes great responsibility. For LIS Professionals, that includes such critical responsibilities as making sure that knowledge and ideas are free to any and all, and ensuring that voices from all walks of life retain the ability to speak to us for generation upon generation.
To sum up this last thought and bring this entry to a close, I will simply say that embarking on a career in Library and Information Science guarantees that we will all be doing something that truly matters.
I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited about that.