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Sally R.

Hanchett Final Impressions Essay November 16, 2011

FINAL IMPRESSIONS
In reflecting on my first MLS portfolio document posted 5 years ago I realize how thankful I am to have that First Impressions Essay to look back on and muse about my first gathered thoughts and beliefs about a profession that would become my second career. I was big on the concept of knowledge back then! And organization. Both are key elements of librarianship, but I have come to another realization about libraries after 13 graduate school courses, scores of research papers and assignments, lots of reading, three internships, and more focused observation of my local libraries and school media centers. That realization is this: instilling a sense of community within the walls of a library is paramount. I still strongly agree libraries should be community builders and open to all. I would now add that libraries need to work hard at that - reaching out to all ages, cultures, and interests. Providing a full range of resources print, electronic, audio/visual as well as providing programs that bring people with common interests together is vital to the success of the library. I better understand this because of my studies in Foundations of Library and Information Studies (LIBS 6010), Introduction to Reference (LIBS 6014), Collection Development (LIBS 6018), Leadership and Communication in Education (ADED 6550), and Library Administration and Management (LIBS 6031). Libraries allow people to be autonomous learners. In a library they are free to pursue knowledge and interests of their choosing. Theres a power in that and it is important that libraries cover all the bases. In the library they can grow

their brains, be blown away by exceptional writing, learn computer skills, look for a job, or laugh at a puppet show . I still agree that libraries exist to help people acquire knowledge, and that it is important for librarians to be competent in guiding them in the right direction. However, a huge blunder of mine was neglecting to mention the importance of reading just for the pleasure of it! So many patrons use library facilities to grab the latest best-seller, the next book in a series, a great autobiography, discuss a favorite novel at book clubs, or listen to story time not to conduct research or synthesize articles from periodicals. Literacy and love of reading are at the heart of most libraries successful programs. I better understand the importance of quality books and promotion of reading and literacy because of my studies in Materials for Children (LIBS 6135), Materials for Young Adults (6137), and the Exit Internship (LIBS 6991). I also heartily agree that librarians need to stay current and adaptable. I would say now, that is imperative. Connecting with children and certainly teenagers means reaching out to them in the same ways they communicate with their peers. This is more than trying to appear hip, it is truly about connecting with an audience that desperately needs a positive experience with librarians and libraries its the very best chance to help our youth embrace lifelong learning. I better understand this and how to adapt and integrate technology within the library because of my studies in Organization of Information Resources in Libraries (LIBS 6026), Programs for School Library Media Centers (LIBS 6140), Technology for Library Services (LIBS 6042), World Wide Web Research (LIBS 6060), and the Exit Internship (LIBS 6991). I no longer believe the most important service librarians provide is keeping the library organized. No, the most important service a librarian can provide is to invite her guest in with a

smile on her face and know exactly how to treat that person so they get not only what they are looking for, but also, perhaps, even more. This is where the sense of community is born and nurtured. Relating to others, assisting them, encouraging them that human element is critical. And its critical to librarianship now more than ever because, for all the wonderful things the internet has brought to society, for all the social media tools that have embedded themselves into our daily lives, the fact is - they are still machines. The helpful, knowledgeable librarian is what keeps people coming back, reading more, engaging more, and learning more. In a school environment, that sense of community in the media center extends to teachers. Providing curricular and instructional support to teachers is vitally important. I better understand the power of teacher collaboration because of my studies in Analyzing and Synthesizing Professional Library Information (LIBS 6012), Library Administration and Management (LIBS 6031), Leadership and Communication in Education (ADED 6550), Collection Development (LIBS 6018), Introduction to Reference (LIBS 6014), Programs for School Media Centers (LIBS 6140), World Wide Web Research (LIBS 6060), and the Exit Internship (LIBS 6991). My studies in the MLS program at East Carolina have provided me with the knowledge and skills to successfully embark on a career in librarianship. I began the program because of my love of literature and interest in information gathering. I leave the program confident of my professional purpose as a librarian to reach as many people as possible with my enthusiasm and expertise, help them discover the power and joy of the written word, and facilitate a connection to their community. Thank you Professors Cherry, Jones, Valentine, Mellon, Marson, Munde, Clark, White, Knott, Pantelidis, and Dotson, for all that you have done to guide me in this process and set me on this exciting path.