As my oldest two children prepare for their upcoming semesters in college (one at Oklahoma State University and one at Texas Tech), I feel that I’ve been moving along with them through their education by mirroring their “levels” through my work in school libraries. While they were growing up in the K-12 environment, I worked as a K-12 librarian, but now that they are both in college, it seems almost fitting that I’m now working in an academic library once again.
The most interesting thing that I’m seeing (even though I’ve only been officially at work for one day), is that many of the same issues that K-12 librarians face are also evident at the academic level. Students don’t know how to do research, teachers / professors believe that their students are smarter and know how to do research because they know how to download and morph photos on their iPhones, and there is just not enough time in the day to get everything done! However, even with all of these issues, it’s comforting to know that the situations are the same regardless of the level of instruction and that there truly is a level of understanding among professionals, regardless of where they work.
There are some things, though, that are exciting and those are the new opportunities and promises that a new school year brings. Even though January 1st is the beginning of a new year, I feel that it is always the beginning of a NEW school year that encourages me the most. It’s the time to make new resolutions, new goals; a time to meet new challenges and to stretch your ideas of what is possible. The new school year also brings new faces, new materials, new mandates, and new problems…but with those things, it’s a wonderful time to collaborate with those who have the same goals and objectives…the ones who want to make a difference and want to draw upon the strengths and ideas of others to meet the challenges that the new school year brings.
I’m excited about this new “Academic Life” and hope to be able to share some ideas, resources, and thoughts about the transition between the K-12 environment and the academic life.