We librarians like our jargon.
I mean, I think information professionals in general like it. (I have never been around more acronyms than when I started here: “Yeah, I’m going to SI to get my MSI in LIS and maybe in PI, too.”) But for some reason, librarians love making up their own jargon.
Which is why I find transliteracy an interesting term, and also why I’m glad we discussed it during class. It’s a buzzword that doesn’t really seem to have a concrete definition. I come from a background in comparative religion where people spend their entire career coming up with a definition of (a)”god,” (gods, entities…well, I’m just proving my point), but we librarians want a concrete definition because that’s who we are. I had never heard of transliteracy until a few weeks ago, and when I was doing my search, I didn’t come across it at all. (Perhaps because I was looking into public libraries?) Transliteracy, as was stated in class, is a “bucket term” and we were asked what it meant to us. I’m not certain I know what it means to me yet, to be honest. I think too broad a definition is harmful to it being useful, but too narrow of a definition threatens to make it useless as well. I think I may have to mull on it for awhile. Certainly, the profession is going to have to because no one seems to have come up with a “blanket” definition yet, and there very well may never be one. I wasn’t too sold on Sue Thomas’s definition because it’s too broad, and as we were saying, her definition just really defines communication. But it’s truly hard to put into words what the ability to distinguish what the text is saying versus what the picture is depicting actually is.
We also talked about different models of learning. I’ll be honest about Carol Kuhlthau: I never really thought very extensively about her research before, even when it was introduced in 647. This is not a good thing, because Carol Kuhlthau is about as famous as a librarian can get, and her research is pretty fascinating. But before, all I really thought was that I know in my research process I go through a variety of emotions (anxiety and triumph are basically the two), and so I always figured other people did, too. End of story. But what really stuck out to me about our discussion was at which point in the process librarians can intervene so as to have the most impact in a person’s information search process. In Stripling’s inquiry model, investigate is where we’re probably going to have the most impact, and in Kuhlthau’s model, we’re probably intervening at exploration, too. I think knowing when to intervene is important because if you, as the librarian, come in too early, you may be a detriment to the process (perhaps not…perhaps you can help the student or user narrow down a topic), but if you come in too late, the damage is already done, so to speak. I think the key time is, like Kuhlthau and Stripling suggest, when a person is researching and exploring ideas and we can help lead them in the most helpful direction as possible.
One last point that I want to bring up is that in class, someone was quoted as saying, “Even if we didn’t have libraries, we need librarians.” I think the fact that so many librarians are working outside of libraries is evidence of that; good librarians have all sorts of great skills that can be useful outside of libraries. I don’t really have a lot to talk about on that phrase, but it just sort of illustrates to me that we’re a special breed of people and it reminds me why I’ve always wanted to be a librarian.