My kids do sport on Saturday mornings and I spend nearly two hours in the car waiting for them, so this is my opportune time to catch up on reading. I used to do the same thing when they were younger and at swimming lessons, but this is better as I am alone in the car with few distractions.
I choose this time to particularly focus on reading for professional development, because I can concentrate more clearly, I can take notes and I can ponder on my reading, more than any other place that I read. (and that includes the bathroom at home….. my kids don’t understand closed doors, lol).
Why is this important?
Because I learn:
- what is happening in the world that will affect libraries eg. caught up with the details of the Amazon/Hachette issue today which could affect what we will see published in years to come
- what is coming that may affect libraries in the future eg. a $199 3D Printer scheduled for release in 2015
- what is happening in other libraries, which I may be able use in mine eg. being Mac friendly, Lego Clubs, Open Library e-books
- things that will help me to do my job better – eg. an article of leadership versus management
- things that will help me to help our staff to do their job better – eg. an idea for a training topic and a good overview of copyright and libraries
- things that will help me to serve our users better eg. an update on features now available through one of our e-book vendors and information from Stay Smart Online
- things that are happening in the world that inspire me to potentially translate into libraries eg: AusPosts Digital Mailbox, how can we take those ideas and apply them to our library?
These are the things that have just come up from my two hours of reading this morning.
I also read professional literature at other times, but I likely gain more from this mostly uninterrupted time.
My point in all this – training is fantastic, as is study, but the best thing you can do for your professional development, your job, your library and your users is to read professional literature – library related and more broadly.
There are plenty of blogs still being published and in fact I added two more to my feeds today, that I discovered through my reading. These are where I find a lot of the very up-to-date and topical content. However, library journals are also important as are the key journals in your area of focus, whether its children’s services, technology, collections or something else.
Libraries are not just about books and neither are librarians. But just like our libraries focus on literacy, so should we, developing our ongoing professional literacy, so we serve everyone, including ourselves to the best of our ability.