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Reflection

Essay Jason D. Nosek Graduate School of Library & Information Science Dominican University

He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation.

--Thomas Jefferson, letter to Isaac McPherson, August 13, 1813

As librarians, we all start off in very different places; your career can evolve with you. Theses words were amongst the closing remarks of Northwestern Universitys Dean of Libraries Sara Pritchard during an intimate discussion and tour of the University Library system in March of 2012. Ive found them to be quite true of the LIS field in speaking with colleagues, fellow students, professors, and so on. Ive also come to realize that Dominicans GSLIS program has allowed me to evolve personally and professionally in the latitude I have had in course selection as well as chosen work within those classes. Proof of this evolution can be found in looking back at my application essay. While my areas of interest remain largely the same, I decided not to take the two courses that I specifically pointed out. This is largely because I have come to realize over the past three years that the objects in the library are no longer my primary focuspeople, their interaction with the space, and their relationship with the library have become much more important to me.

Thus, I found myself taking courses such as Library User Instruction and Information Policy rather than Preservation and Conservation and History of the Book. This essay serves as documentation of my evolution as an LIS professional, and will chart this growth by discussing significant learning experiences, my consummate work and how it communicates my interests and strengths, the application of LIS lessons in the field, and will conclude with my vision of the future of the LIS profession and my role therein. Through my time at Dominican (as well as my undergraduate studies), I have come to understand that pedagogically speaking, I am predominantly an aural learner, and secondarily a read-write learner. Thus, while group work and in-class assignments/workshops have been helpful, the experiences that had the most profound effect on me were lectures and discussions, especially when they involved guest speakers and site visits. In Academic Libraries, we had a multitude of guest speakers, each of whom made an impact on me. Ellen Keith, Reference Services Coordinator at Johns Hopkins Universitys Sheridan Libraries spoke of the importance of learning assessment and tracking outcomes from instructional sessions as well as establishing a means of evaluating and documenting reference transactions in all of their forms. Further, she discussed the importance of implementing the Brandeis Model for reference work in her library system. Not only have I found this all to be quite useful in my work at Northwestern as a Reference Intern, it has also bolstered my vocabulary and ability to speak about concepts that are being debated in the field right now. Another guest to Academic Libraries was Claire Stewart, Head of Digital Collections at Northwestern University

Library, who spoke at length of the importance of reinventing modes of scholarly communication, establishing Open Access (OA) journals and repositories, and copyright law. This discussion (as well as a plethora of course readings) has spurred me on to investigate scholarly communications and OA at length through multiple courses at Dominican, and has resulted in some of my best work. Another class that provided an ample amount of guest speakers was Planning & Equipping Libraries, in which we met librarians, architects, and library directors. One such lecturer was Tom Brock, architect and professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology, who spoke on the importance of sustainability in library construction (especially with regard to long-term cost effectiveness) and planning renovation & new construction projects. In terms of site visits, there were many throughout my coursework, ranging from the academic library at the Catholic Theological Union in Hyde Park to the Evanston Public Library to the new Mansueto Library at the University of Chicago. All of these visits were replete with lectures from staff, including notable figures like the aforementioned Sara Pritchard, as well as Karen Danczak Lyons at Evanston, who discussed the role of the librarian in the planning process and the need for new spaces to be dynamic, flexible, and responsive to community needs. In all, meeting with so many practitioners whether in the classroom or in the field gave credence to much of what was taught in the coursework, allowed for insight into the trials and tribulations of working librarians, and were great networking opportunities. Moving along, to understand my growth in the program it is essential to examine my consummate work and how it communicates my interests and

strengths. The work that I am most happy with in terms of original research is The Emergence of the Scholarly Communications Librarian, written for LIS 772 Academic Libraries in the Spring of 2012. In preparing for this paper, I did a very thorough literature review, surveyed job postings for Scholarly Communications Librarians to better understand their role in academic libraries and increasing importance and prevalence, and contacted a number of practitioners by email. To my surprise, I received responses to the majority of emails and each one presented a unique perspective on the role of the Scholarly Communications Librarian. This project not only allowed me to explore an area of interest, it facilitated a number of connections and revealed a very supportive and responsive community within the LIS profession. Building on my interest in open access resources that was established in LIS 772, I authored an essay in LIS 778 Theological Librarianship titled Open Access Liturgical Resources of Judaism. This piece allowed me to write and experiment in a format that I had no experience withthat of the traditional bibliographic essay. Through a review of bibliographic essays and the tutelage of my professor, I was able to embrace the format and write an effective essay. Ive gone on to revise this essay and submit it for publication in the OA journal Theological Librarianship (currently, the essay is in peer-review pending publication in July 2013). One more piece that I am quite happy with is Communicating Library Essence Through Space and Design: Northwestern University's Mudd Library, a Case Study written for LIS 779 Planning & Equipping Libraries. My research question was: how do non-traditional libraries use of space and design elements communicate their library essence? To answer this question, I conducted a literature review and a case study of a particular non-traditional (renovated) library space. Ultimately, I concluded

that a library does not necessarily need to appear traditional to fully serve its user community; however, it must still communicate its nature to users by way of programming, design, and other intangibles. This conclusion has affected the way I look at libraries of all types, and greatly expanded my understanding of how they can evolve to serve their users while staying true to their roots. In sum, the works included in the ePortfolio reveal a commitment to universal access to information for users and to the users experience in a physical space. In addition to seeing an evolution and various trends in the tangible work that I have produced during my tenure at Dominican, I have experienced just as great a change in my work in the field. This has been possible because of the application of LIS skills and lessons from the classroom to real situations. Specifically, my reference work has improved dramatically after taking LIS 704 Reference & Online Services. At both Chicago Public Library and Northwestern University, I have been able to employ the techniques of the reference interview to get to the root question and find material appropriate for each user. Additionally, I have found that Ive been able to provide users with an appropriate amount of timely information, i.e. not to let enthusiasm take over and overwhelm them with resources they may find superfluous. Ive also made great strides in user instruction in preparing for lessons whether they are with a small group or an individual, focusing on learning outcomes, and teaching to/creating tools for a variety of learning styles. I have also applied collection development ethics to displays that I have been asked to create at the public library, being sure that various perspectives are incorporated into the display, and that the material is accessible to all user groupsbe they children, adult new readers, or marginalized communities. Lastly, I have also been

able to offer insight into current library issues and discuss trends with colleagues and superiorsas it stands, I am currently in a Website Working Group at the Chicago Public Library where I am applying lessons from a variety of courses (namely Reference & Online Services, Library User Instruction, Internet Fundamentals & Design, and Information Policy) to help create the best possible user experience for the diverse groups of patrons who visit the new website. All of these field experiences reveal first and foremost a commitment to users. In closing, I do see an ongoing struggle for libraries as they continue to transition to the digital realm and collectively contemplate and grapple with the future of ownership and use of digital materials. Further, libraries will have to continue to make the case for the importance of physical space and tangible materials and the role of the library in lifelong learning. While my career will evolve as I do personally, I can be certain of a commitment to the following: Given my interest in the OA movement and my current state of straddling public and academic libraries, I will embrace new technology but never allow it to compromise ethics, and to proceed with caution on the issue of subscription-based access, always opting for localized ownership. Likewise, I will also continue to advocate for patrons when it comes to eBooks ownership in libraries. Further, while I will continue to educate myself and keep-up with developments in intellectual property law and policy, I will always maximize access and push for less restrictions on information. Above all, I see my role in the LIS field as one who enables growth in others, safeguards access to information, campaigns for the importance of a physical library as an investment in a community, and acts as a catalyst for the unrestricted spreading of ideas.