Hello readers! After a long transition, I am finally in place at my new position, Learning Commons Librarian at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Undergraduate Library! (wow, that’s a mouthful!). My apartment is full of boxes, my week is full of scheduled meetings, my mind is full of exciting possibilities, and my heart, my heart is full of happiness.
I am so thrilled to be here.
The new position is going to be an interesting ride, mediating my idealistic hopes and plans for the Learning Commons with the institutional realities and prior shape of the Commons. I’m still working on my ‘elevator speech’ but I think I’ve given the super succinct version here before: I’ll be creating collaborations with academic and student services units across campus to maximize the unique opportunities afforded by being one of the few non- or trans- disciplinary educational sites on campus.
It’s a huge change from my very traditional former position as an instruction dn collection development librarian, but I think this position will allow me to explore the reasons I came to librarianship in the first place. I left my doctoral program in Religious studies in large part because I realized that the take away I wanted was much more about enhanced critical thinking and less about content than might be desirable for a disciplinary professor. I entered librarianship because I thought there was enormous potential for enhancing undergraduate critical thinking skills through information literacy. My take on the Learning Commons is that it is a way to focus more on critical thinking and information literacy, although in a non-classroom-based manner.
This seems to be a very different take on Learning Commons’ than what I’m seeing out there in the literature, so I expect you will be hearing a lot from me on Libraries as a locus for learning and knowledge creation as I try to build community and develop like-minded support, and generally change the world.
That said, I have started a small spreadsheet of Learning Commons folks that I know of. Please, leave a comment or drop me a line if this is your work too — I’m eager to see all the different forms this work can take!