Monday, February 25, 2008

The Only Thing Constant Is...

To blog or not to blog? To Twitter, or chat, or email; to join a Ning, or play around in Second Life; to create wikis or websites -- which of the old and new tools at the disposal of a teacher-librarian shoudld we spend our time on? How much time do we spend "messing around" with new tools (or toys?), or should we stick to the known? Only one thing is clear, and I heard it over and over in library school -- THE ONLY THING CONSTANT IS CHANGE.

Or maybe they only said it once and it's the main thing that rings in my head after fourteen years, because it's so true.

Last week I spend a lot of time reading blogs and replying and discovering new ones -- but then I wasn't working on projects that affect my school more immediately. I think we need to "play in the sandbox" of Web 2.0, School 2.0, or whatever AND keep doing the old things we do, as long as they're worth doing. I entered the world of libraries relatively late in my life but also just at the beginning of the Web explosion. So it's been quite a roller coaster*, and it's still going.

Part of what's so appealing to me about working as a school librarian, or teacher librarian, is that there's so much variety to what we do. And that's the thing that makes it sometimes maddening, that we scurry about doing all kinds of things and then at the end of the day wonder whether we've accomplished a thing. It's kind of like being at home with a baby or small child; you know it's supremely worth doing, and yet it can feel very frustrating as the day is nibbled away, bit by bit, and you're not sure what you've "gotten done."

Clearly, we have to be selective in our enthusiasms. And we need to remember that learning new things is messy and confusing, and that that confusion is a necessary part of the process. Now that there are so many more school librarians blogging than there were a year ago, and a few have risen up as beacons, any one of us out there can still use a blog as a way to clarify our own thoughts. I write to find out what I'm thinking. And even if no one else is listening, because it's pretty noisy out there, I can hear myself a bit more clearly. And if I connect only tangentially with others in the same situation, and wherever they are in their process, the connection is invaluable in breaking through our isolation in the school setting.

Now it's time to "work."
* The Crescent Park (Riverside, RI) roller coaster is long gone, but the merry-go-round is gloriously still there.

1 comment:

Rob R. said...

Your post touches on so many of the issues that I'm constantly obsessing about that I need to go back and read it again - several times. I like the opener to your last paragraph. "We have be selective in our enthusiasms." Since I began blogging somewhat seriously, I've found myself spending a LOT of time reading, commenting on and posting blog entries.
At the end of the day, I have to ask myself, "Is there a payoff here for my students in terms of the time I'm spending becoming conversant in this new medium? And, as I become comfortable in this environment, am I neglectingt he "next big thing" that the kids are moving on to?"
I've finally gotten to where I'm comfortable enough blogging to try on something else. I signed up for Twitter yesterday. It's like being a long-distance bike rider. You sweat and strain to top the hill you're on, flash down the backslope in a heartbeat and face yet another hill ahead, another uphill grind, another summit to top. But I guess that's what keeps life interesting...