Thursday, June 25, 2015

Communities of Being Awesome

I came home from ACRL with a huge reading list. I have a huge reading list in my twitter favs. I engage in discussions about all kinds of things knowing I don't have the appropriate technical or theoretical background to have really solid positions. I worry about what to do to address all of this reading. If I just try to tackle it on my own, I know I don't get the fullest measure of learning out of my reading -- I have no one to challenge me. If I try to tackle it on my own, it stacks up in the upper left hand corner of my desks -- at home and at work.

What we go on and on about here at the Unified Library Scene is that (1) everything is about relationships and (2) we're not alone. So the solution to taking knowledge and integrating it into my work life and personal life is... people. together.

Anthropologists who like to study that kind of thing are already on it. The idea of a community of practice introduced by Lave & Wegner in 1991 and has spread broadly because it is such a helpful framework. You know it's our jam because Erin's list of exciting sessions at ALA Annual is a good set of examples of communities of practice. So is your technical services happy hour or your weekly lunch with instruction colleagues. These groups share expertise and provide social and professional support to new professionals. Another type of community of practice that I'm a part of is a recently formed reading group formed by some folks who attended the session Sustainable organizational change: It's about the people at ACRL15, and based on the presenters' reading list provided. We'll read together and apply together within our organization.

A related idea is a Learning Community, which focuses on a more academic setting, setting up a course-like structure but operating in a similar way to a community of practice, with an express goal of praxis. I'm into the idea of reflective practice in all kinds of learning environments, so these ideas really resonate with me.

What happened was that the very excellent and wonderful Derrick mentioned learning about queer theory, race, and identity as it relates to librarianship. You and me both! With that reading list I brought home, with all of the times I feel like I should already know about some theorist a #critlib poster is talking about, with all of that, we need a team to get ourselves up on it! Then the very excellent and wonderful Emily Drabinski mentioned the Gender and Sexuality in Information Studies Colloquium in April 2016, and I thought this is amazing. See, especially with a focus, we can learn together, drive some real ideas for application, and then party together with our awesome ideas. IN VANCOUVER! After the Colloquium, we'll have an opportunity to pick a new focus and new target.

So, I put a little form together to see if folks are interested and I named the group the Librarianship and Critical Theory Learning Community. Fill out the form if you're interested in joining us. There's already a lot of interest and I've got a million thoughts on how to make LCTLC a space that is safe and welcoming and just exactly what each person in it needs at that moment.

We'll build a reading list together, choose focus together, and generally be a Community of Awesome Librarians. A Community of Awesome Librarians is interested in Becoming More Awesome, and Building the Unified Library Scene.

Keep Rockin!

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