Learning librarianship.

Having finished the MLIS in 2013 the decision to keep these skills active was urgent. I needed to showcase these skills outside the confines of an institution. Also I now had the opportunity to utilise my free time while searching for a full-time position.

In 2013 I embarked on developing my skills in a different way to what I have envisioned. Furthermore  I had enrolled for the “Hyperlinked Library MOOC” from San Jose State University so the transition from a student of the School of Library and Information Studies to becoming a facilitator was a strange yet exciting process.

However this process change my perspective on many elements of librarianship. Becoming involved in a global learning tool really opened my mind to the diversity of society’s mind and informational needs.

Having finished both the teaching and the learning I have found myself seeking literature surrounding these elements. These articles documented how librarians showcase how they reach out to teachers and guide them alongside their students. Librarians together with the ambitions of the teacher can utilise both of their skills in order to harness their students self-efficacy.

There are many ways this can be achieved. After some research into school librarianship and how librarians can introduce their skills into the many Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)that are now available, I shall outline how I can build on my skills and bring them forward into my career of librarianship.

The starting point of my research began by merging two aspects of librarianship that being academic and school libraries. Here the core goals of a librarian is to facilitate the teacher and the student.

Here I began my search with librarian bloggers and to my delight I came across Buffy Hamilton’s post which illustrates “librarians as instructional designers” (Hamilton, 2013). According to Hamilton the key to building a partnership with teachers is to adopt the Principles of backward design as a springboard for the students and a template for the teacher in order to progress at each stage of the project. This allows to secures two fundamental components of teaching: Identifying Common goals & Cultivating trust (Hamilton, 2013).

Moving away from the framework of a classroom based teaching to a more open and independent approach to learning again involving librarians and teachers. This relatively new approach to online learning has only surfaced in the last 5 years (Chant, 2013) a definition has been given by EDUCAUSE Library (2013) stating a MOOC is simply “a model for delivering learning content online to any person who wants to take a course, with no limits on attendance”.

During the small time of teaching, my purpose was very clear in every activity and this purpose will stay with me throughout my career. This purpose is clearly mapped by Cantwell (2013) here she showcases how librarians can adapt their individual purposes in this emerging online learning environment. One finding within her research mirrors my personal purpose of librarianship, here she employs the idea of the role of a librarian as an information consultant as an individual who “cultivates active partnerships with students and scholars, collaborating on the design of meaningful learning experiences for students and providing relevant value-added information” (Frank, Raschke, Wood, Yang, pg.90, 2001).

Taking this purpose a step forward and marrying the above elements, however giving them the context of a public library, would the librarians strength of purpose be too ambitious? Cant (2013) gives many examples of how MOOCs have been introduced into a public library. Consider how certain programs that run throughout many libraries, now consider the way many elements of MOOCs can link readers and communities to other services within the library in person and virtually.

If libraries are adjusting their vision to incorporate the many elements of technology we as librarians have to keep abreast of the many new elements of learning guidelines. Taking Montiel-Overall & Grimes (2013) vision on 21st Century Learner Guidelines declaring that “librarians must be sure to target their information literacy instruction toward essential twenty-first century learning skills, to collaborate with members of the community and to implement inquiry-based learning approaches regarding the information search process”.

In conclusion, if my goals as a librarian are to cultivate the above ideas, until my time comes where I have the opportunity to establish these ideas in a working environment I shall keep searching for the best practises and examples to expand my self-efficacy.


B Hamilton. (2013, December 6).  Librarians as Instructional Designers: Strategies for engaging conversations for learning. [Blog post]. Retrieved from   http://theunquietlibrarian.wordpress.com/2013/12/06/librarians-as-instructional-designers-strategies-for-engaging-conversations-for-learning/

Cantwell, L. (2013). “MOOL” in a MOOC: Opportunities for Librarianship in the Expanding Galaxy of Massive Open Online Course Design and Execution. Policy Studies Organisation, 2, 47-71.

Chant, I. (2013). Opening up/ Next steps for MOOCs and Librarians. Library Journal, 1-4. Retrieved from http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2013/12/digital-content/opening-up/#_

EDUCAUSE Library. (2013). Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/library/massive-open-online-course-mooc

Montiel-Overall, P., & Grimes, K. (2012). Teachers and Librarians collaborating on inquiry-based science instruction: A longitudinal study. Library & Information Science Research, 35 (1), 41-53.



5 thoughts on “Learning librarianship.

  1. Hi Siobhan,

    The description of librarian as information consulktant, and the context of open access to knowledge, without barriers represented by moocs really spoke to me.

    The idea of cultivating trust, and that sense of common goals are onmes that characterise a lot of great educational experiences.

    Part of my own project involves beginning to look at that sense of trust, how delicate it can be, and, at times, how carefully it must be tended to, in order to support people in taking the risks that accessing open education sometimes entails for them.

    In part, that desire comes from just the contexts and ideas you are describing here, and comes from, in part, the reimaginings librarians have furnished me with of what their roles are in our current knolwedge rich environemnts.

    Thanks for sharing your personal perspective on the role and characteristics of librarianship.

    It;s given me food for thought, resources for my ideas mill, and a sense of the ideals and essence of your practice – ones I think are core to the educational experiebces we seek to shape, have and share.

  2. I admire the fact that you keep improving your skills after you’ve finished your master’s, and this MOOC really seems to keep you reflecting! I find the ideas of keeping our library instruction current, as well as to target our learning goals, two essential parts to the development of information literacy skills. Not neglecting our patrons’ own knowledge, their specific needs and the ways to address them, is also something that will allow us to be relevant, -which seems to be a major challenge for libraries at the moment.

    • The MOOC’s are an amzing way to keep you active and reflect, some of them don’t really challenge you even though you are very interested in the topic, so that’s were I start to blog, I really reflect on the content and pick each part and analyse what everyone is saying. It takes time especially when you are also working/travelling it is difficult but I do it and I challenge myself to keep to these tasks! I make challenges fun, as the reward for comments like your’s makes it all worth while!

  3. hi Siobhan. Good well written post. You show, for me, that the Library / Information world for the current MLIS grads is very different than the one I entered even twelve years ago. When I entered the library it was possible to do so without a qualification or having any knowledge of the theory and the background of libraries. I was two years working in a library before I began my MLIS studies. This is not possible nowadays – you need to keep learning and exploring even when not working – there is such a need to be reflexive when it comes to your practice. This is a good thing I believe. I see too many of my colleagues who come in to work at 9 and leave at 5 without having learned anything new and not being bothered by that. I hope you don’t ever lose that enthusiasm for this world that you have and comes across in your posts. And thanks for the links as well – Iook forward to reading further. And to reading more of your journey.

    • Thank you so much, I entered college in 2009 at the age of 28 having had a previous career in hospitality and knowing deep down that I was meant to do something else, this profession gives me so much fulfilment even though I’m not working in it, and I know that I will always keep striving for better ways to learn and teach throughout my journey! Thanks for being a source of encouragement it’s times like these that us recent grads need it!!

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