Thursday, March 02, 2006

The reflective fox

I don't really have a true specialty as a librarian but most of my interests as of late fall into the broad categories of information literacy and the social life of information. What I realized today is where these two venn diagrams intersect: the reflective person.

This idea was a two day process.

Last night I began to slowly make my way through the constructionist theories presented in Seeking meaning : a process approach to library and information services. What I've read so far rings true to me and what I think about information literacy: students write better papers when they take the time to reflect and reconsider what they've learned during the research process. More broadly, it also makes for better learning.

Coincidently, better learning is the same reason why I blog. By taking the time to reflect and write about what I've read, I learn more, I feel that I've done something more than just consumed something, and I make myself eligible for egoboo. Bloggers, wikipedia volunteers, Amazon review addicts - they are all reflective users.

I had this epiphany as I was working through my thoughts generated by reading Dan Chudnov's personal mission: ("Help people build their own libraries") that I found via Lorcan Dempsey's post entitled hedgehogs. I immediately loved the concept and it seemed to fit keeping in mind the recent flurry of library-building endeavours currently underway (RefWorks/Endnote/Procite, LibraryThing, weblogs, A9 stream capture, WebDAV, coins).

But the more I thought about this mission of the library, the more I was becoming unsure of it. Was this The Library's hedgehog concept before the Internet? I don't think so. And does the average public library user necessarily want to create their own library of leisure reading? Again, I'm doubtful.

But should The Library help people (the students, scholars, journalists, activists, bloggers) build their own libraries? Absolutely. Why? My first thought is that reflective users are our core constituency... but I'm going to have to dwell on this a bit more.

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