What a great way to wrap up the course. The module on Reflective Practice left me inspired and excited about the many takeaways from the Hyperlinked Library. Contrary to what I thought at the beginning of the course, a hyperlinked library is not solely concerned with Web 2.0, hashtags, eReaders, touchscreens, and digital initiatives de jure. We learned that the #hyperlib is about people. The #hyperlib is about connecting people with library services, whether on-site or online. We #hyperlibers want to make sharing resources and information easier for people. In many ways, the Reflective Practice module gives us our marching orders to make this wonderful idea of a #hyperlib a reality. What does reflective practice look like?
As @michael has described, Reflective Practice is mindfulness to the nth degree. We must think about the totality of our work. It’s a lot more than pointing clients to books or explaining Dewey Classification. It’s about having awareness of the long term impacts and consequences of our service. It’s about being passionate about our work, clients, and coworkers. We have to care. We have to listen. There’s gotta be a human connection.
We must be authentic and trustworthy information professionals. We must craft our own vision and voice. We must challenge assumptions and question the reasoning behind “we’ve always just done it this way.” We must develop other people into strong leaders, too. We can achieve this by leading with a heart.
Life intervenes. Life doesn’t care about deadlines. Life comes at you as it does. Work can be the stressor or the relief. We must be mindful of people’s lives, their ups and downs. We must be able to show empathy. We can do this by being kind and compassionate in our workplace.
We must be confident about our abilities. We must be proud of our services. Let’s celebrate our work! Have that elevator pitch ready explaining why you’re awesome at this LIS business, why your library is top-notch, why LIS matters, dammit. Self-confidence is one of the most difficult personal qualities to master. Yet it is necessary for good reflective practice in the #hyperlib. The stereotype of the quiet, timid librarian is dead. We must be loud and proud. We must promote ourselves proudly.
Alan Henry’s article on unsleazy self-promotion is fantastic. The author understands the difficultly of celebrating one’s professional achievements with enthusiasm and balance. Self-promotion can easily slip into obnoxious self-aggrandizement. But done properly, self-promotion communicates our expertise and confidence to clients. That’s core to reflective practice. People need to know what unique services we offer, and how effective we are at them. Henry deftly explains four ways we can properly market ourselves in the 21st century: 1) build an online landing page, like a blog or about.me profile, 2) build relationships with value, 3) build a network of advocates, 4) build your brand around your passions and talents. The advice is practical yet remarkably effective. I can attest because I’ve been unknowingly exercising Henry’s approach ever since I joined social media in 2012 (coincidentally, for an SJSU MLIS course on marketing oneself in the 21st century!). Anyone can pull off Henry’s techniques with a little effort. Key traits to have are passion, confidence, and interpersonal skills. Developing an online presence helps but you can still self-promote without it. Yet it’s impossible to self-promote properly without passion, self-confidence and good interpersonal skills to make that human connection.
Check out this excellent Slideshare presentation connecting reflective practice with various domains of LIS and the iSchool experience.