Untangling the World of Books, Technology, and Instruction

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Too Big to Know

In Response to the book: Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren't the Facts, Experts are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room is the Room by David Weinberger

As a new librarian, I struggle some days with what exactly I call myself and where do I fit – librarian, teacher librarian, media specialist, technology integrationist. After reading Too Big to Know, I have a better sense of what my focus should be.  The author discusses the concept of information and knowledge with regard our digital society. We have an overload of information from the Internet and other digital resources.  Alone, information means little, however, if we are able to take information and create knowledge, we have also found learning.  Information itself leads only to a low level of thought (Bloom’s Taxonomy). By creating knowledge from information, we move up the Bloom’s pyramid to authentic learning.  I learned that there is a huge difference between information and knowledge, and librarian’s can be the guide through the murky waters. This also fits with the concept of transitioning students from consumers of information to creating information of their own. It is also central to understanding who we are, how we got here, and what comes next. 
Too Big to Know impacts library service by guiding librarians in supporting patrons in their own information endeavors.  According to the author, libraries are blazing trails in information access, use, and transformation to knowledge.  We need to be able to discern what is good information and what is useless and guide our patrons in the same process.  The internet is a massive collaborative space where anyone can contribute.  This creates a problem with the accuracy and reliability of what we find.  We first have to determine what is useful, what is to be believed, and what is discarded.  I know my students do not always understand this concept. They do believe if it is on the internet, it must be true. 
Librarians have always been leaders in the information process. Today, we have found ourselves not only guiding patrons through the information deluge but supporting them in the climb from data and information to knowledge and wisdom.  Finally, my favorite passage from the book follows. “There’s obviously plenty of data in the world, but not a lot of wisdom” (Location 159). As a librarian, I hope I am guiding those who I serve toward wisdom. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012


I LOVE Pinterest.  I heard about in my UNO Master's class last December and immediately requested an invitation.  I also just recently found the iPhone app - so I added that, as well.  It’s one of the best things I’ve discovered since Goodreads last January.

Not only is it chock full of super great ideas and photos, but it really does provide some great information, both personally and professionally.  Professionally, I have found some inspiration for displays and activities.  Personally, I have discovered how to freeze crockpot meals and have collected images of styles I like (and  look good on me!) and how to make boards of things that inspire me and feed my spirit.  The second aspect is probably the most crucial this year as a new librarian.  I have to say it's nice to get lost in all the visuals and completely block out everything else for a little while. It turned into a visual gratitude list and I find myself winding down as I look at my pins and  the pins of other members.  

My favorite board  is Books Worth Reading.  Choosing books that really speak to me go on this board, and I have found another way to connect with librarians through the books I've read.  We are all busy, and sometimes overwhelmed, and Pinterest has provided a great way to get ideas and see what works in other libraries.  Some of the ways libraries are using Pinterest are so inspiring and out of the box. Creating dialogue and a rapport with our patrons is a huge part of what we do each day. Quick, easy and free are all a slam dunk! 

Beware, it will suck you in and you will resurface gasping for air hours later or when your family starts shrieking for food. 

NE Learns 2.0 - Lifelong Learning


Lifelong learning is something so important to me, especially over the last several years.  As I turned forty in the middle of working toward my teaching certificate, I asked myself many days what I thought I was doing.  I realized after viewing the presentation on the 7 1/2 Habits of Highly Successful Lifelong Learners, that I often got caught up in the whirlwind.  I had a hard time viewing the roadblocks as anything other than another crisis and really had a difficult time with confidence in my own abilities.  Those were huge struggles for me and I often wished I could make the whole process go away or that I had never started it. However, the ability to overcome those two  roadblocks are the wells I have drawn from  in my first year as a librarian.  My experiences have also taught me that it's not about the destination, it's about the journey.

I have found that a big part of my journey is knowing I will never be through learning.  Seeing me as a committed lifelong learner is crucial to students’ understanding that they must be committed to learning, as well. Communicating that concept and modeling it to my students is so important. I have committed myself to strive to be on the edge of what's coming in my profession and to never let myself land in a rut.  I won't short change myself or my students. Lifelong learning is a key aspect of our global society, and our students need strong models who are willing to stretch, grow, and stumble along with them.

Part of that process is participating in the Nebraska Library Commission's Nebraska Learns 2.0 program. I am looking forward to trying each new idea and participating in "Book Thing" as part of my own commitment to lifelong learning.