Monday, May 3, 2010

Speaking (Reflecting) at UCLA

Last week I had the wonderful experience of speaking about being a school librarian in the very room where I took most of my classes at UCLA when I received my MLS there in 1994. Loretta Gaffney invited me to speak to her Young Adult Services class, and I was thrilled to do so. It was a unique chance to reflect about why and how I became a school librarian, what I like about working at an independent school, and why I enjoy what I do.

This opportunity came at a very busy time in my life. In April I had two major events happen in my extended family, both of which will take much time to process. Keeping up with my children, husband, and work has been hard, let alone preparing a thirty minute discussion for the students at UCLA's Graduate School of Education and Information Science. I debated canceling, but I found I was enjoying the process of deciding what to say and how best to say it. It took my mind off of my stress, instead of making life more stressful. It gave me time to ponder why I like being a school librarian, and gave me a focus for my free time.

Preparing to speak helped me understand the importance of reflection not only in our work, but also for our students. Reflection can be a powerful tool in deciphering the meaningful aspects of an activity, the parts to savor, the moments to remember. Do you reflect about your work? in what way? what have you learned from it?

Ms. Gaffney said I would be visiting during their  section on teens and research, so I spoke of collaboration, integration of skills, LibGuides, and our consortium's shared catalog.  I spoke of my experience, of my impressions of the innovative independent school library world, and the students responded well. They asked questions, and seemed engaged. But at the end I was surprised at how much fun I had, and I remarked to them that I didn't realize how much I would get out of speaking with them.  Visiting UCLA was a great experience, and I hope I get to do it again!

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