Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Thread 3: Facilitating

Wow. After finishing this thread I feel a great deal of trepidation and eagerness toward entering the library profession. There are so many good ideas in here that I want to try in my library, but there's also a wall that divides what I can and cannot initiate. I absolutely don't want to participate in the aloof, librarian/not-librarian dichotomy Lankes captures so well in his discussion of librarianship as empowerment (2011), yet I fear myself inadequate to the task of challenging that dichotomy to the betterment of society. Am I truly cut out for this mission?

Make no bones about it, Lankes has completely recast librarianship as a calling equivalent to that of the most devoted religious leader (2011), and I, like so many reading the Atlas feel compelled to answer it. And that, dear followers is the scariest part of all. The second librarianship changes from logical career move, (which is how I justify to the more confused members of my communities my return to school), to the answering of a call to service, my stake in entering the profession assumes unimaginably huge proportions. Answering that call, as Lankes points out, requires a thorough re-evaluation of power structures as they currently exist in librarianship versus how he believes they should exist (2011).

In order to evaluate power structures, one must examine one's own take on power, and this is where I really begin to falter. I like having power after having felt quite powerless for much of my life. I'm also more likely to feel impatience than empathy toward those in my community whom I perceive as lacking power. If I had to go out and seize power for myself, why can't they? Well, why not? Lankes addresses this question with his facilitation paradigm of access, knowledge, environment and motivation. If any one of these is lacking, the people, whoever "the people" are remain powerless (2011). After all, weren't there points along the way where someone made sure I found my way to potential sources of empowerment and understood how to use them, let me know it was safe to explore their uses and compelled me to try? This is librarianship as a calling. I can only hope I'm worthy.

Lankes, R. David. (2011). The Atlas of New Librarianship (pp. 65-81). Cambridge: MIT Press.

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