The advice from the Course Coordinators at Charles Sturt University was to leave this subject for one of the last – I for one am glad I followed their advice! All that I saw and did during the Placement and the Study Tour made so much more sense when considered in the wider context of the information profession. It only reinforced my growing conviction that I had been fortunate in receiving an excellent grounding for deep reflection and authentic learning from this Masters Programme. I have included below some of the reflections from my reports along with my current thinking, which hopefully give a flavour of my learning.
A reflective overview of the Study Tour
Ultimately I learned that I made a good choice when I enrolled in the MEdTL programme at CSU – I was well prepared to take full advantage of what I saw and heard. For example, the additional strategies for using my skills in different ways to better align with the mission of the organisation, reminded me of the lessons learned in ETL504 and what can be achieved when I operate from my internal locus of power. The iterative practice on refining questions that I gained through EER500 assisted me in formulating good, clear questions to ask the specialist librarians at the host sites.
On a more practical note, what the CSU Course Coordinators had flagged was true for me: my eyes were opened to a much broader range of roles for information professionals.
The value of the Placement – June/July 2013
Initially, I came away quite subdued from my placement experience. In the school environment I am more teacher, with my librarian skills and capacities playing a supporting role. In the country-town libraries, however I had experienced my role as being more like a shop assistant: the biggest part of my placement was to smile and greet the customers, get the things they needed off the shelves, then to re-stack the shelves. This feeling was perhaps exacerbated by the fact that the bigger decisions, such as selection and the planned events, such as the activity boxes all took place somewhere else in the Cooperative. Yet I knew that my colleagues performed an important social role in the life of the community and therefore had earned my deepest respect.
Upon reflection and in the writing of this report, I have come to realise that the most important aspect for me in the information profession is the teaching: I now understand that I get the greatest satisfaction in being part of a learning journey that helps others, not only gain access to, but to make sense of, information.