Capstone ePortfolio: Joanna Russell Bliss 

ALA Competency 1: Foundations of the Profession

INFO 5960, Virtual Symposium

The purpose of this assignment was to create a multimedia presentation that synthesized the main themes of our course on the hyperlinked library. The embedded presentation below was submitted on December 1, 2020; I also submitted an all-text presentation for accessibility

While the course was rooted in the use of emerging technology, the constant themes of the course revolved around the creation of community. I summarized our main concepts as follows:

    • The only thing that should be constant is change.
    • Stories are powerful. We need to collect them from our community.
    • Technology can be used to create community, both virtually and in person.
    • Beware of technolust. Plan, budget and assess. Repeat.
    • Our humanity is more important than our technology.
While the course used technology to create community, I felt it went to the core of who we should be as librarians. This symposium, and the course it summarizes, touched on the values of our profession (1A), technological and service trends both nationally and internationally (1F), and the need to advocate for librarians within the community (1H). Because we communicated throughout the semester via blogging and were encouraged to experiment with video presentations, graphic software, and other ways of communicating -- with each other and our patrons -- the symposium and the course also explored effective communication techniques (1I). 

INFO 5960, Context Book Assignment

The purpose of this assignment was to read and summarize a book that related to both librarianship as a whole and the themes being discussed in our class, which focused on the Hyperlinked Library. The post below was originally turned in on our course website on September 12, 2020. Because the course site is erased at the end of every term, I have replicated my personal posts and assignments on my professional website; the full assignment can be read there, or as a PDF here.
A screengrab of my Context Book Assignment posted on our class blog.

[Image description: A screengrab of my Context Book Assignment posted on our class blog.]

The book, BiblioTech by Mr. John Palfrey, looks at how libraries and librarians have served their communities from the Roman era into the modern one. This history, and the perception that libraries only are a space where books are kept and stored, come back into play throughout the book as Mr. Palfrey theorizes what libraries can look like in the future. By considering how technology will shape future libraries, he posits these central themes:

    • Librarians need to work with their patrons to create the space that their patrons need.
    • Librarians need to network with and learn from other librarians (and non-librarians) to continually reinvent themselves and their libraries.
    • Librarians can work together as a community to manage both analog and digital libraries.
    • At the end of the day, the core mission of librarians hasn’t changed since the libraries of Roman times: Librarians help patrons access knowledge.
Because the book focuses on the past, present and future of libraries (and librarians), the assignment correlates to ALA's 1st competency. The book and my discussion considered the history of both libraries and how they communicate with their users (1C and 1D), how various libraries can adapt and adopt technological trends for the future (1E and 1F), and how copyright law is one of the biggest barriers to these changes (1G). 

Most importantly, the book embodies the essence of 1I (the techniques used to analyze complex problems and create appropriate solutions): Mr. Palfrey considers the current state of libraries and posits a variety of ways to partner with our users and patrons to create modern libraries, where librarians would continue to fulfill the role they have held for more than 2000 years: Helping others find and access information.

INFO 5000, Term Paper: Literature Review

The purpose of this assignment was to complete a literature review in order to learn more about the information professions. The term paper below was turned in on November 24, 2019; it can also be downloaded from this link.

As a librarian in training, I am still learning about the various positions and responsibilities across libraries, even within a single college campus. I wanted to know more about what may come next: What should I be prepared for as I study to become an academic librarian?

The skills I found necessary for librarians in the past, present and future are the foundation of our profession, and, as such, the paper ties directly to ALA's 1st competency. My research led me through descriptions of what librarians have done in the past (1C), underscored the importance of advocacy, analysis and communication to our profession (1H, 1I and 1J), and, overall, analyzed important trends to be aware of within librarianship (1F). And while the future of libraries may rely more and more on technology to access knowledge, I felt comforted by the fact that their role remains constant: Librarians will continue to play a role in helping others find information.
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