Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Introduction to Libraries

Introduction to Libraries is the introductory course in RRC's Library and Information Technology program. Six years ago, it was actually two courses - Introduction to Libraries and Basic Library Procedures. Therefore, if I was taking one course while on my gap year, I just as well take both courses, to save me the hassle of being in a class where I'd already studied half the course. I remember I went to the very first class in college, and when I looked at the course outline, there was very little that I hadn't studied in the previous year.

There was actually a number of classes where everyone went to visit different libraries - which was something as a distance ed. student I hadn't had the opportunity to experience. Unfortunately each two and a half hour class was scheduled as the last class of the day (Tuesday and Friday afternoons in Autumn 2003) after lunch, which I rarely stayed around for ... and none of my classmates mentioned it to me until almost one of the very last tours. Perhaps I should have attended the class, perhaps I should have listened to the instructor cover topics I had read about in the previous year - because I could have got a lot more insight from other people, and perhaps even learnt something that hadn't been brought up in the notes provided.

The two courses were exactly what they say they are: an introduction to libraries, and basic library procedures, designed to invoke an understanding of the library world. Introduction to libraries, as it was in Autumn 2003 was an introduction to various library types, their organization, purpose, function and services. Students acquired skills in basic library procedures such as simple book repair, materials processing, shelving, and all circulation aspects. Procedural variations according to library type were also covered. Students visited a variety of libraries. Levels of library employees are studied with particular emphasis on the role and duties of library technicians. The importance of professional associations are covered.

These courses really opened my eyes. For sure, there was information that I already knew, but for some topics - explanations. One module for Introduction to Libraries concerned the history of books - from all the way back in Egypt and the first libraries, to today, and what the future could bring.

I'm going to have to do some thinking regarding what I want to write about the courses in the next few days. I know that I don't want to spend hours on end writing up my notes, which will be boring and tedious for everyone - for me to write, and for someone else to read. I can't put assignments online! Therefore, if I don't really blog in the next week, it will more than likely be because I'm trying to work out what I'm writing next. I know that I have about five years to cover in this blog, including the present, but I want to work chronologically because it won't make sense to anyone to jump from the past to the present to the future to the past again.

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