Big Tent Librarianship over at HackLibSchool

Over at HackLibSchool, Britt Foster has written a post about my Big Tent Librarianship article and calling for unity starting at library school. She writes:

The “big tent” mentality must begin in library school.  We must begin by challenging ourselves to reach out to those in our department, and to students at other library schools.  The web has allowed for the conventional barriers of interaction to fall away, and given us the tools to somewhat define our own education.  Yes, we may all have to take this class or present that paper to graduate, but interacting with fellow library school students will inform and expand our motivations and knowledge,  give us new tools for advocacy, and a broader platform to advocate from, constructively criticize our own education, and offer successful solutions to other students looking for change in their own programs.

I had not read that post until today, but I got a “great minds think alike” moment because I had written something similar in my closing thought as part of the ACRL presentation the other day.

In closing, I’d like to leave you with this final thought. Once upon a time, we were all sitting in a classroom at our respective graduate level library science programs. In that classroom, there were no academic librarians, public librarians, school librarians, or special librarians. We were just people who wanted to be librarians, who sat through the same core classes, and worked together on projects and papers. While we later took classes that reflected the interests of our own career paths, for that brief period of time we were all together. I’d like to urge you to go back to that time. To think about the shared purpose in those professional nascent days. To remember that are no actual barriers between us and that there never were. That we as a profession share those common roots and origins. In getting back to those aspects, we can once again work together to advocate for all kinds and types of libraries. Just as we worked together in that classroom back then.

Check out the rest of her post. This project just puts a giant smile on my face every time it pops up on my Twitter feed or Google Reader. It’s really impressive to me the amount of effort that they have poured into the project for the benefit of the profession as a whole. They’re taking the library program and making it work for them, expanding it well beyond the walls of their own classrooms. Pretty frikkin’ sweet, I’d say. These are people to watch.

If you want to know more about HackLibSchool, check out Micah Vandegrift’s post talking about the project back in October on In the Library With The Lead Pipe. The project has its own blog now. (I’ve created a Google Reader bundle with that blog and the blogs of all the current project participants if you want to grab it in one go.)

5 thoughts on “Big Tent Librarianship over at HackLibSchool

  1. Andy, thanks for the kind words. We were all very excited to see Britt take on the Big Tent concept, and I think she wrote an excellent article that sums up our thoughts nicely. Proud to be working with folks like you, and Britt and the rest of the HLS team, in the future of our profession.

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  3. I read this late last night, but haven’t had time to respond until after class today. I’m glad I didn’t, because I had two “Big Tent” style outreach to-do’s today. The first was a crashing failure, which left me feeling dejected and demoralized. Not twenty minutes later, the second came back with great results. I moved from wallowing to thinking about why the first failed, and the second was successful. Looking at the language in the excerpt from your presentation, I realized that the difference is in the approach. The we’s and our’s in your post invites inclusion and participation… In my first approach, I made the project seem to be more about me and my interests. In the second, it was about us, as library professionals, and how this project can benefit everyone. To expand the metaphor, how can I expect people to join me under the tent if I’m not pulling those flaps open as wide as possible? I realized I need to be more conscientious about letting my beliefs guide my everyday actions. Thanks for this post, Andy.

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