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AConversationStyleCollaborativeJournal

SLIMScotland2015

ByEmilyFlynn|KristaSuter|RikkiCarter

Krista:Regardlessofwhereyouareinyourcareerasalibrarianthisisanamazingopportunitytolearn abouttheprofession! Ithinksteppingoutsideofwhatyouknowordivingintowhatyoudonotisimportantto betterunderstandthefieldandtolearnaboutthevariousaspectsoflibrarianship. Idonotcurrentlyworkin alibraryandlearnedsomuchfromvisitingvariouslibrariesinScotland. Iwasenlightenedtoacademicand speciallibrarianship,whichwillbebeneficialasIbegintolookforjobs. Ibelievethatotherstudentswillalso benefitfromunderstandingdifferentlibrarystructuresandcurrentissuesrelatingtoinformation management.

Rikki:Ithinkyou’rerightKrista,havingtheopportunitytovisittheseuniquelocationsasagroupofaspiring

professionals,armedwithabaserknowledgeandeducationinthefield,helpedenhancemyunderstanding

oflibrarianshipbothabroadandintheUS.Idon’tworkinalibraryeither,andgettingtoseeandhearfirst

handhowdynamictheenvironmentcanbe,somulti­facetedandrapidlychangingastechnologyaltersthe

waypeopleaccessinformation,andtheywaysthesepassionateindividualsworktoprovideforandreach

theireverdiversepatronbasewassomethingIfeelappliestotheinformationprofessionacrosstheglobe.I

discoveredsomeareasoflibrarianshipIthinkI’denjoyandthrivewithin,likeoutreachordigitalservices,

thatIhonestlydidn’tknowwhereoptionstoconsider.Myunderstandingofcurrentissuesandlibrary

serviceswasdeepenedbyourvisits,andI’llhappilytakethatintotheprofessionwithme.

Emily:Ithoughtthesamethingladies!Ihaveneverworkedinalibraryeither,andsoIenjoyedbeingable

toreallygobehindthescenestoseedifferenttypesoflibraries.Eachvisitgavemeawholenew

appreciationandunderstandingofthefieldandshowcasedmanyaspectsoflibrarianshipthatIwas

unfamiliarwithbefore.Iwillbestartingmynewcareerasaschoollibrarianthisfall,butIwilladmitthatmy

interestwasdefinitelypiquedwhenwewereviewingthemanyextensivespecialcollectionsandarchives

throughoutScotland!IthinkthatisatypeoflibrarianshipthatIwouldliketopursuelaterinmycareer,which

Iwouldn’thaveotherwiseexperiencedoutsidethistrip.

Krista:TheamountthatIlearnedonthistripwasextraordinary. Ibelieveeverystudentshouldtake advantageofthisopportunitytounderstandlibrarianship. AsastudentinterestedinpubliclibrarianshipI thoughtthattheEdinburghCentralLibrarywasawonderfulwaytowitnessthesimilaritiesanddifferences betweenourpubliclibrariesandtheirs. Thebuildingwasbeautifulandshowcasedthechangesfrom modernroomstoolderroomsthathousedavarietyofcollections. Thelibraryhadanamazingstudyand referenceroomthathousednumerousoldvolumesofbooksandanantiquecardcatalog. Thecatalogand otherfeaturesareapermanentpartofthebuilding. Therewassomuchhistorybeingpreserved! The modernadditionstothelibraryshowedtheabilityoftheinstitutiontoremaincurrent. Thechildren’sroom wascontemporaryandhadawonderfulplayroomthatwasvibrantandcolorful,reflectingthepatronsofthe space. Asmallerroomwasavailableforclassesandofferedsimple,cleansurfacesthatallowefficientclean upforthelibrarystaff. Thesewereafewoftheelementsthatreallystruckmeasastudent.

Krista:AnotherimportantlessonlearnedfromtheEdinburghCentralLibrarywasthecollaborationamongst thestaff. Everyoneworkedtogethertokeepthelibrarycurrentandrelevanttomeettheneedsofthe community. Thedirectorsharedhertrustinstaffsuggestionsandmentionedthattheywatchfortrending programmingtoimplementinthelibrary. Ithinkthisshowshowimportantteamworkistoanylibraryposition andhowimportantitisforlibrariestobeawareofwhatotherinstitutionsaredoingsuccessfully. Itis

importantforlibrariestoadvocateandawonderfulwaytodosoisinprovidingstrongprogramsand

collectionstothecommunity.

Emily:Wow!Istillcan’tgetoverhowbeautifultheEdinburghCentralLibrarywas.Thereweredefinitelya

fewsurprisesthough.Forbeinga125yearoldinstitution,theEdinburghCentralLibrarytakesarather

modernapproachtomeetingpatronneeds.Iwasintriguedbythemanyinitiativescurrentlyongoingatthe

library,especiallythegamingtechniquestopromoteadolescentandteenreadingandtheadultcoloring

bookgroupstorelievestressinasocialsetting.Iwasmostimpressedbyhowwelltheyhaverisentorecent

challengesduetodemographicshifts,asevidencedbytheamountoforganizationstheypartnerwith.In

particular,thelibraryfindsitessentialtoprovidelanguageresourcesandclassesfordifferentpocketsof

non­Englishspeakingcommunities.Thisvisithasshownmetheimportanceofmeetingyourpatronneeds,

andIwillkeepthatinmindnextyearwhenIaminchargeoforderingandmaintainingthecollectionatmy

school.

school. Rikki: ​
school. Rikki: ​

Rikki:AttheGlasgowWomen’sLibrary,theytakecollaborationinarelativelydifferentdirection,thoughnot

altogetherremotefromthegoalsoflibrarianshipbothintheUSandtheUK.Whilethestaffworkhardto

providetheirpatronswithlibraryandliteracyservices,theyenrichlivesfurtherwiththeirholisticapproachto

collaborationandcommunityservicethroughlibrarianshipwithanactivistrole.Byinvitingthecommunityto

participateinuniqueprograms,suchaswomen’swalks,educationinLGBTissues,Scottishwomen’s

history,artandwritingprograms,theyfindmorereasonsthanjustbookstodrawacrowdofengagedand

activeparticipants.Theyareacutelyintouchandawareoftheirpatron’sneedsandworktofulfillthose

niches,oneexampletheymentionedwasthattheyhaveanofeepolicyinplacefor“late”returns,asthey

understandthatmanyoftheirpatronsmaynoteasilybeabletoreturnbooksonacertaintimeline,andthey

feltimplementingfeeswoulddiscouragethesepatronsfromreturningtothelibrary,andviewingitasasafe,

invitingspace.Theircollectionwasalsosospecializedandpointedtowardstheirpatrondemographic.

Visitingthisfascinatinggrassrootslibraryandvisitingwithsomeofthoseworkingtocollaboratewiththe

communitytostrengthenitshowedtheyhavesuchapulseandpassionforwhattheydo.Itmademe

appreciatetheprofessionwe’reallstudyingtoenterandgrowwithininanewway,andopenedmyeyestoa

wayofservicethroughlibrarianshipthatI’dneverconsidered,orhavecertainlynotencounteredotherwise.

Emily:Rikki,IreallyenjoyedvisitingtheGlasgowWomen’sLibraryaswell.AfterhearingAdele,oneofthe originalfounders,andWendy,thelibrarian,speakwithsuchpassionandexcitement,itbecameobvioushow

asmallgrassrootsprojectstarted25yearsagocouldevolveintotheflourishinginstitutionitistoday.Both

ladiesmentionedthatoneofthemaingoalsofthelibrarywastohavewomenrubshouldersthatwouldn’t

normallymeet.Hearingthatsentimentreallyshedawholenewlightontheroleoflibrarianshipinmymind.

Whileanimportantaspectoflibrarianshipistopromoteliteracyandthespreadofinformation,itisalsoto

encouragerelationshipsamongstthepeopleinyourcommunity,whichisexactlywhattheGlasgow

Women’sLibrarydoeseveryday.Manyoftheoutreachprogramstheysharedwithuswereorganizedand

ledbypatrons,forotherpatrons.IthinkifIweretofollowthisexampleinmylibrarynextyearbyproviding

opportunitiesforstudentledclubsandactivities,itwouldhelptoformatightknitlearningcommunityof

studentsofallages.

Krista:TheGlasgowWomen’sLibrarywasmyfavoritevisit. Asyouladieshavementionedtheyarehighly motivatedtoservingthecommunityandmakingconnections. ThelibrarypromotedservicethatIhave alwaysenvisionedforlibrarianshipandthatIhopetoprovideinmyowncareer. Thepassionofthose involvedwascontagiousandIhavebeencarryingthosefeelingswithmeeversincethevisit! Ilovedthe manydifferentexperiencesandopportunitiesthatthelibraryofferedwomeninthecommunity. Theyare heavilyinvolvedinoutreachandcreatetherightrelationshipstobetterservethecommunity. Thosewasso muchthatIlearnedandlovedaboutthislittlegrassrootslibrary. Ihopetovisitagainasavolunteertolearn fromthesewomenandtomaintaintheirexcitementforlibraries!

fromthesewomenandtomaintaintheirexcitementforlibraries! Rikki: ​
fromthesewomenandtomaintaintheirexcitementforlibraries! Rikki: ​

Rikki:IwasveryexcitedattheopportunitytovisittheScottishScreenArchive.Itwasclearfromlistening

andtalkingwiththemthattheyhavearealpassionforwhattheydoandaclearvisionoftheimportanceof

theirworkinpreservingtheculturalheritageofScotlandonfilm.Theamountofequipmentneededfor

playbackoffilmsoverthedecades,whichthearchiveneededtohaveonhandandmanyofwhichareno

longerinusetoday,wasastounding,Itseemsthey’vedoneacommendablejobkeepingupastechnology

changes.Theyalmostneedawholearchivejustforthat!Itwassurprisingtovisuallyseeandrealizethat

muchoftheprocessingandknowledgeofvariousfilmformatsisdyingoutasthetechnologyproceedsinto

obsolescence.Thisisastrugglethatappliestoallsortsofinformationinstitutions,fromlibrariestoarchives

todatamanagement,andspecialcollectionsanditwasenlighteningtoseeitallinactionandconfinedto

oneplace,likeatimecapsuleforforgonetechnology,yetonestillsovibrantanddynamic.

oneplace,likeatimecapsuleforforgonetechnology,yetonestillsovibrantanddynamic.
oneplace,likeatimecapsuleforforgonetechnology,yetonestillsovibrantanddynamic.

Emily:TheScottishScreenArchivewasreallyneat,andsomethingIhadneverbeenexposedtobefore.My

twofavoritevisitsthoughweretheLibraryofInnerpeffrayandtheUniversityofGlasgow’sHunterian

Museum.Icouldhaveneverimagedwhatagemwasawaitingusnestledwithinthetinytownof

Innerpeffray!Itwasamazingbeingabletofeelandtouchthehistoricbooks.Ourguidewasatreasuretrove

ofinformationandisobviouslyverypassionateabouthistory.Iwasalsomesmerizedbytheincunabula

exhibitattheHunterianMuseum.SeeingthemodeloftheGutenbergPress,viewingthebeautifulhistoric

books,andhearingthehistoryofthecraftgavemeanewfoundappreciationandadmirationfortheearlyart

ofbookmaking.

ofbookmaking. Rikki: ​
ofbookmaking. Rikki: ​

Rikki:Ithinkonethingthatreallystruckmeabouteachoftheplaceswevisitedwasthepassionthatthe

staffmembershadfortheworktheydo.Anartschoollibrarianhasaverydifferentjobdescriptionthanafilm

archivistorevenapubliclibrarian,butthededicationtoprovidingthebestservicetotheirpatronswas

presentineach.Oneofmytake­awaysfromtheexperiencewastoentertheprofessionandserveinthis

samevein,andnomatterwhattypeofinstitutionIendupin,torememberthatthisisafirstandforemosta

serviceprofession,andthatpatronsarethereasonweexistandtostrivetoalwaysdomybestandforby

them.Resourcesandfundingmaychange,technologycontinuestoshapethewaypeopleinteractwith

information,andtheroleoflibrariansandlibrariesthemselveshasbeenmadefluidthroughchange,butthat

passioncanremainaconstant.IthinkofofmyfavoritepresentationofallweheardwasattheUniversityof

St.Andrews.TheyhaveadedicatedOutreachLibrarianwhosharedsomeoftheworkshedoesinensuring

thatstudentsandthecommunityareawareoftheservicesprovidedinthelibrary.Sheapproachedthetopic

withhumorandgrace,allthewhilegainingvaluablefeedbackthroughbothweb­basedandphysicaltools,to

provideforthepatron’sneeds.IknowIwillapplysomeoftheprinciplesandideasshesharedinmyown

futureworkinalibrary,inattempttointeractmeaningfullywithmylibrarycommunity.

Emily: ​
Emily: ​

Emily:Rikki,Iagreethataswehavebeendiscussingourtripweallcontinuetoreferbacktothegreat

passionandenthusiasmourhostsdisplayedforthefield.Iwasalsoimpressedbythenumerouswayseach

institutionsoughttoputtheirpatrons’needsfirst.Nextyear,Iwillusethesewonderfulexamplesasaguide inmyschoollibrary. IfIapproacheachdaywithexcitementforreading,learning,andsharinginformation, mystudentswillbegintoshareinmyenthusiasmaswell.Likewise,ifIinvitestudentstoparticipateinthe planningofinteractivedisplays,activities,andeventsinthelibrarythatareinterestingandpertinenttothem, Icanhelptocreateawelcomingandengaginglibrarycommunitythatistrulystudentcentered.

Krista:Obviouslyvisitinglibrarieswasthemostimportantpartofthisexperienceandagreatinfluenceon myeducation,however,exposuretoanotherculturewasagreatopportunityforpersonaldevelopment. Itis notoftenthatwearegiventhechancetotakeourselvesacrosstheoceantoexperienceanothercultureand anothercountry. TherewassomuchtimeofferedtocontinuelearningaboutScottishculture. Iwasableto seecastles,museums,andparkstoexperiencetheirhistoricalculture. Iwasabletovisitrestaurants, breweries,andbarstoexperiencetheirsocialculture. IhadawonderfultimeonabustouroftheHighlands andLochNess. Itwasunbelievablybeautiful! Therewassomuchthatourdriversharedwithusabouthow importantthemagicalsceneryofScotlandistothecountry. Anotheruniqueexperiencewasanightspentat theacousticopenmicnightatalittlebar. OpenmicnightsinAmericaareoftensomethingtobeskipped andwewanderedinfullofdoubtonlytobeblownaway! Alloftheparticipantswereunbelievablytalented musiciansandsingers. Icouldn’ttakemyeyesandearsoffofthem! Ithinkitwasinterestingtoseehow influentialAmericanmusicistotherestoftheworld,sincemanyofthemsangAmericancovers. Itwasa wonderfulinsightintothelivesofScottishyouthsounderstandthesimilaritiesanddifferencesinourpartsof theworld.

Rikki:Krista,Icompletelyagreewithyou.Whilevisitingthelibrarieswascertainlyahighlightofthetrip,

gettingtoexperiencetheculturetheinstitutionswereworkingsohardtopreserveandrepresenttruly

broughttheexperiencefullcircle.Ienjoyedvisitingthemuseumsintheareaandthinkingabouthowwhat

theydoissimilartowhatsomespecialcollectionsorarchivesjobsmightbelike.Itoogotalotoutofdining

onthelocalfareinpubsandrestaurants,goingtoalocalusedbookstore,seeingthecastlesandlearning

aboutthehistoryofGlasgow,Edinburgh,andScotlandingeneral.Ithinkoneofmyfavoriteoutingwas

takingthetrainforadayinEdinburgh,hikingArthur’sSeatandvisitingEdinburghCastle.Theenergyof

suchanold,historyrich,vibrantcitywassomethingIletwashoverme,itwasanincrediblefeeling.Beingin

ScotlandwithpeopleI’dnevermet,visitingplacesasanaspiringprofessional,andhavingexperiences

outsidemycomfortzoneforcedmetoengageinanewway,andtakeinboththelearninganddiscovery

aspectsinasponge­likeway.Ithascertainlyshapedmyunderstandingoflibrariesandarchivesboth

abroadandintheUSandgivenmemuchtoconsiderasIentertheprofessionandlearntoapplytheskills

andtoolsI’velearnedinlibraryschooltotherealworld.I’drecommendthisuniquetriptoanyoneinthefield!

Emily:Wellsaid,ladies.Thiswassuchafuntrip!Ithinkbeingabletoexperiencethelibrarieswithinthe

contextoftheculturemadeitreallyspecialandmoreinsightful.Ireallyappreciatedthefreetimewehad

throughouttheweektoexploretheinnumerablesitesofGlasgowandtheothercitieswevisited.WhileI

foundGlasgowmemorableforitsseamlessblendofhistoricbuildingswithmodernarchitecture,Iparticularly

enjoyedseeingSt.AndrewsandEdinburgh.Bothofthesecitieswereabsolutelyadorable!Igrewupina

golfingfamily,soitwasprettyincrediblebeingabletowalkuptothe“birthplace”ofgolfatSt.Andrewsjusta

hop,skip,andjumpawayfromtheocean.MyDadandhusbandweredefinitelyveryjealous!AndasRikki

justmentioned,itfeltlikeadreamvisitingthecenturies’oldEdinburghCastleandArthur’sSeatagainstthe

backdropofafairytalelikesetting.IamsogratefultoEmporiaStateforthisonceinalifetimeopportunity.

ThiswasmyfirsttimetovisitScotland,butitwilldefinitelynotbemylast!