PROFESSIONALISM

6. Professionalism: Students will master the theory, knowledge, and skills necessary for entry-level performance of positions requiring professionalism. 

 

6.1. Students will describe the roles of professional organizations in librarianship and become active members of professional organizations.

 

6.2. Students will describe and apply standards developed by professional organizations.

 

6.3. Students will describe the disciplines with which library and information science shares its core theoretical foundations.

 

6.4. Students will locate and use professional literature appropriate for the field of library and information science.

 

6.5. Students participate in appropriate service activities in the University, the profession, and the community.

 

        In this section, I have elected to cohesively discuss professionalism and address the above learning goals through the whole of this brief essay, rather than in short segments. The idea of professionalism is attached to a lot of weight; professionalism requires librarians to present themselves as community representatives and it also requires individuals to create networks and participate in professional associations for the overall benefit of the field. Involvement with these organizations often calls for conference attendance, which lets individuals attend skill-building sessions, technology showcases, and specialty mixers. On the surface of professionalism, librarians must adhere to a dress code that balances personal style with work-appropriate attire so that the interactions between patrons and librarians are not undermined or deterred. Behavior while at work must also be tailored so that librarians maintain approachability and do not cause unnecessary tension through their language or mannerisms. In totality, the professional standards of a librarian's dress and behavior mirror those in other community service professions and foster a favorable concept of librarians.

 

             As mentioned earlier involvement in professional organizations is not only a positive way to expand your own skillset, but it also gives other library professionals to learn from your experiences. This reciprocated relationship propels the technology, methods, and practices of the field towards a constant evolution for the better, which would transpire at a slower pace if professionals did not interact through organizations. Furthermore, these organizations serve to solidify the professional standards and goals that are prevalent within the librarian profession, such as providing uncensored and easily accessible information, providing helpful resources to the community, preserving history, and providing a safe haven to underrepresented groups. Shortly after becoming a part of USF's Library and Information Science program, I joined the student group, SOLIS, to become more involved with the department and make my education a more immersive experience.

 

            Noting the importance of joining and being active in professional organizations, I became a member of the Florida Library Association and joined FLA and SOLIS in advocating for Florida libraries at the state capitol, speaking to political representatives about the important roles that libraries play within each county. Attending the annual FLA conference was another professional growing experience, as being surrounded by hundreds of library professionals and attending informational sessions, mixers and keynote speeches were not only educational but enjoyable. Furthermore, association with these groups inspire librarians to review the professional literature approved by groups like the Florida Library Association. These informative writings bring further awareness to professional trends, news, technology and other pertinent information. Keeping up-to-date with these publications is a responsibility on the shoulders of all information professionals because it is our duty to remain conscious of our field's ongoings.

 

            Through my involvement with professional organizations and events, I have observed that the professional standards of librarians are closely reflected within the standards of educational professionals. This does not come as a surprise; it is my belief that librarians are, at heart, educators. Each patron coming into a library is essentially investing in their education, and the stakes are high in these situations; patrons may be seeking information resources for a school paper, court case or for their own professional advancement. It is the job of the librarian to foster these educational ventures and help them to achieve their goals. After attending the county's education conference as a representative of the USF School of Information, these connections became ever clearer with each conversation I had with the attending teachers. Many had personal experience working in libraries or openly commenting on the interlinked connection the education system and libraries had as community centers working to create a more literate society. 

 

             In totality, I have dedicated a lot of personal time to implement the professional standards that I learned through personal involvement with multiple professional organizations. I sought to create an understanding of the professional goals and outputs of both academic and public library professionals, as demonstrated through the research proposals, community outreach plans and policies presented below. In concurrence with these projects, I also developed a working relationship with the librarians at the Hillsborough Community College Ybor campus to create learning materials that were then dispensed to students; these resources and others can be viewed on the main Portfolio page.