In constant learning mode, and I like it

photo of Maryanne MillsA little history lesson

This is my first post as part of @One’s Reflective Writing Club.   To give you a bit of history, I became a librarian during the heady days of CD-ROMs where thousands of documents could be stored on a disc. Boy, we in the information industry thought we were so cutting-edge back then!   I accessed articles and reports stored on ancient databases where I used a 2400 baud modem to  access content via IBM DOS machines. Millennials will have no idea what I’m talking about 🙂

My chance at being a Gazzillionaire?
sun microsystems data trailer
Sun data trailer by NapoliRoma is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

I’ll never forget the day back in 1996 when Sun Microsystems came to my company’s parking lot in a gigantic walk-in trailer to show off a new tool called Java that was somehow going to transform the World Wide Web–at that time a bunch of static text-based pages. I did not get it. At all.

Fast forward a few years to the time when a friend told me a startup based out of Stanford University was looking for librarians to help them refine their search engine algorithm.  It was a chance to get on the ground floor of something big. I declined–why take a chance on a startup when I had a decent full-time job that paid the bills?  If I knew then what I know now, I would have applied to that scrappy little company called Google!

Maybe not Google, but still in the game

I doubt the above example is what @brocansky  was thinking about when she created this Prompt #1 . OK, so I expanded on it a bit.  What I can say is that I love being an instruction librarian at a community college.  My job has kept me in constant learning mode on new trends in education technology. Over the years I’ve wedded my passion for helping people find stuff to helping them create stuff (think makerspaces, digital labs, learning commons). An EDUCAUSE Review article from 2014  inspired me to pursue this new role for librarians.  The academic library of today is so much more than books and databases and I’m so excited to be a part of it.  I’m also happy that I found this Reflective Writing Club because while I have had this blog for a while,  I am horrible at keeping it current. I’m looking forward to networking with everyone in the club and learning from each other!

Write On.

16 Replies to “In constant learning mode, and I like it”

  1. It is interesting to think about the what-ifs – and those are some great ones to read about.

    1. Hi Suzanne,
      Yes, my what if makes me laugh now, because I’m not really a big fan of Google even though I use nearly all their tools. Too much control of all my information makes me a little nervous. Looking forward to reading your post soon!

  2. Librarians are incredibly important drivers for research and educational technology. What a great pleasure it must be to work in a job that keeps you “in constant learning mode” . I am always delighted to collaborate with my university’s librarians. Soon, I will offer them a workshop on how to use memes to communicate threshold concepts from their profession to students. Meme workshops are always fun, as I get to tap into people’s creativity in a fun way and the results of that are often hilarious. Then, on the first Thursday in March, the German-speaking part of the academic world will once again see the “Long Night Against Procrastination”. Libraries will be open all night for students to sit down and get their seminar papers done, while we from the writing center will offer writing consultations to help them through. I am happy for every library that is lucky enough to have staff that is keen on discovering the “new roles” you mentioned. Therefore, I couldn’t agree more: /ˌrʌɪt ˈɒn/!

    1. Your collaboration with the librarians warms my heart! Your meme workshop sounds fascinating. I applied for a sabbatical to study and develop threshold concepts around information literacy at my institution. Fingers crossed that I get it! I wish I could understand German well enough to ask you for an overview of your workshop.

      The Long Night Against Procrastination — is that country-wide? It sounds like a great excuse for a national celebration once it is over.
      Thanks for the kind works about new roles for librarians. Embracing and nurturing change (and risk) is what keeps us all engaged, IMHO.

      1. Over here, the Long Night Against Procrastination (#lnap) takes place on every first Thursday in March and about 60 University Writing Centers and/or libraries take part. We have a Twitter wall to connect everyone and we also have some Writing Centers in other countries like Iceland or the U. S. participating. The event is an excellent opportunity to create a writing space for students and to raise awareness for Writing Centers’ and libraries’ mission. Every year, we get good press coverage, loads of students finish their papers that night and, not least: the event is good fun.

        Fingers crossed for your sabbatical, for sure! Your project sounds super interesting and important. You’ll get it!

  3. Great reflection. Yes, if we only knew then what we know now! Hard to believe that it was over 20 years ago that Google was working on their algorithm. Look at what they are now!

  4. I am a firm believer in not having regrets in life. If we follow our instincts we can look back and know we made decisions based upon what was important to us at that time. That’s just what you did.

    But, yeah, those stock options. 🙂

  5. I can totally relate to your tech history, Maryanne! I remember back in what must have been 1993 going to the University of Chicago Press (they were the publishers of a journal series for which I was the office manager at the time), and this wonderfully geeky guy there showed me Mosaic, with something from the Vatican that was online at the time. I was mesmerized… but I never suspected that the digital world would become the place where I do all my teaching and learning 25 years later! And hey, maybe if you and I had known to go work for Google, they would have made less of a mess with Google Books! But now Hathi Trust is riding to the rescue, thank goodness. Hathi is the most important source for the Freebookapalooza of online books I built for my online students 🙂
    Go, libraries! Go, librarians! I look forward to learning more about your learning journey as we blog on.

    1. Laura, Freebookapalooza is an amazing site and a labor of love, I am sure. What a treasure trove of wonderful works you have put together. Thank you for sharing and I love that you are taking advantage of Hathi Trust, Sacred Texts and other sources. I’m bookmarking your site 🙂

      Not sure if you remember “Archie” and “Veronica” the basic search tools — pre-Mosaic even. OK, enough nostalgia. Onward we go!

  6. Maryanne, What a busy your place your library must be! An exciting center of learning for all ages. Five years ago I was part of a group of vloggers, and our first vlog was “What do you think education will be like in five years?” I thought libraries would be hubs, resource centers, for all learning, connecting students and educators with resources and personal learning goals. I’d want you and your library to be that! Thanks for being a “constant learner” model for everyone. ~ Sheri

    1. Thanks Sheri! We are actually in the “wishlist” stage of becoming a tech commons on campus. We will be close to the last building on campus to be renovated circa 2020, but we have our strategy in place to become the learning hub. It is all very exciting.

  7. Wanting to learn new stuff is what gets me out of bed in the morning (that and a child who will jump on me if I don’t). It’s so cool that you could have joined google. But being a librarian assisting education for thousands is better!

    1. Yes, Lisa, so true about learning. I pinch myself every day that I get to learn something new. I’m hoping we can all learn from each other in this community!

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