Capstone ePortfolio: Joanna Russell Bliss 

Professional Philosophy of Practice

I believe that everyone has the right to a good education, including the right to access information through libraries. I believe that our collections and resources should reflect the diversity of our community, and be accessible to all members of our community. And I believe that it's imperative to help the next generation become educated and engaged digital citizens, people that will continue to learn about the world around them long after they have left the university.

I particularly embrace the need for information literacy for all students, whether they are 9 years old or 99. When discussing research with undergraduate students, I strive to communicate the guidelines as set by the Association of College and Research Libraries, especially those that relate to research as inquiry, scholarship as conversation, and searching as strategic exploration.

As a dancer and performer, I have seen – and decried – the denigration of people of color and those of the LGBTQIA community, but the events of the past year have brought many more injustices and inequalities to my attention that I should have understood before 2020. As a woman growing up in a working-class community, my accomplishments were downplayed and my voice was often dismissed. However, as a white woman, I know that I have had the privilege of being a part of the majority, and being accepted into a sorority during my undergraduate years that helped me thrive and accomplish far more than I ever thought possible. This is why I strive to learn more and to erase my ignorance. While I have built a reading list and read several books on Black history, I know that is not enough; I have also joined the Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility Committee at SMU Libraries in order to help improve the student experience for all students at SMU.

After working from home for a year, I have also become aware of how much is unavailable when away from campus. I believe we need to commit to more open access materials, and more electronic materials, that can be used from any space. This directly relates to the actions ALA Executive Director Tracie A. Hall called for in her opening remarks for the 2020 (Virtual) ALA Conference: More access to the Internet and digital services for all patrons, as well as a more diverse field of accredited librarians and library workers to ensure equitable access to knowledge and resources, which both require the third tenet in her directive  more investment in libraries, both from government funding and private partnerships.

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