By Meredith Farkas | December 31, 2007
When I look back to the beginning of 2007, I’m really surprised at how much has happened in just one year. At the end of December last year, we were just contacting the students we’d accepted into the Five Weeks to a Social Library course. I don’t think any of us knew how incredibly successful the course would be. I’m so grateful to Amanda Etches-Johnson, Dorothea Salo, Michelle Boule, Ellyssa Kroski, and Karen Coombs for their help in creating this ground-breaking course that is still benefiting people today.
Since then, I’ve had two opportunities to teach for InfoPeople and on January 23, I will start teaching my course LIBR 246-13 Building the Social Library Online for the School of Library and Information Science at San Jose State University. Like Five Weeks, I built my classroom using Drupal and I’m pretty excited to see how it works in a for-credit 15-week course. I spent a lot of my break working on creating the first four lectures for the class. My lectures are Quicktime movies made using Keynote (it’s a new feature in Keynote ’08), and I’m really happy with how they came out. If there’s one thing I learned this year is that I love to teach. This is my calling. Whether it’s giving a talk, teaching an online class or teaching a live information literacy session to English 101 students… I feel in my element and I feel like I’m making a difference.
A lot of good things happened at work too. I unveiled our redesigned website in January and we started providing reference services using MeeboMe that month as well. I started the embedded librarian service in just three classrooms in March and now am embedded in 14 classrooms, with one colleague embedded in another one. I created a wiki for military history students to share resources. We expanded our reference assistance availability on weekends. We fixed all of the access issues we had with students in the military authenticating into the databases. We implemented a link resolver. We got a terrific Electronic Resources Librarian who is helping me to launch our wiki subject guides when the students come back in 2 weeks. When I think about all of that, I’m amazed we got it all done in only a year (and with such a small staff). I’ve got about a million ideas for 2008 too; my idea for changing the way we provide ILL services to online learners will be particularly disruptive to us, but particularly beneficial to our users. It’s being able to do work like this that makes me excited about being in this profession.
I gave 22 talks in 2007; a number I hope never to repeat. While it’s great to visit new places, it’s exhausting and often takes me away from my husband. We’re not newlyweds by any stretch anymore, but I feel like I’m missing half of myself when I’m not with him. Adam is the inspiration in everything I do. So one of my plans is definitely to be more selective about the speaking opportunities I choose. I started doing that in late 2007 and it’s been a good thing. I’m certainly not complaining about the amazing opportunities I’ve had. Speaking has afforded me the opportunity to travel to interesting places (New Mexico was a highlight this year) and to meet some fantastic people. To go from someone who was afraid of giving the smallest presentation in class to someone who can give a keynote at UC Berkeley without sweating through her shirt is just unreal. Thanks to everyone who gave me opportunities to become more than I thought I could be. It’s been wonderful meeting all of you.
I’m not a big prognosticator, but I know I’m going to come up with some trends for the LITA Top Tech Trends panel in less than 2 weeks, and again for the OLA Superconference in Toronto on February 2. I have a few ideas already, but if you have any suggestions of additional trends, I’m definitely open to other ideas. I’ll share my list with all of you once I’ve come up with my trends and I’m pretty sure the trends at Midwinter will be podcast.
If I thanked everyone who enriched my professional life this year in this blog post, I’d probably spend the rest of the year writing it. So many people I once idolized (still do, really) took me under their wing, mentored me, and talked people into giving me opportunities that changed my life. You know who you are and you know that I’m forever in your debt. Others (people I know well and others I only know through the Interwebs) have inspired me, challenged me, argued with me, stood up for me, made me laugh, made me cry, made me think, made me feel hope. Thank you all. My life is so much richer for having known you. Never could I have imagined that by starting this blog I’d become a member of a community full of smart, passionate, wonderful professionals.
Just as I’m not big on prognostications, I’m not big on resolutions. I make it a point to only make promises I know I can keep. I expect things to change for me at least as much in 2008 as it did in 2007, and I’m pretty excited to be a part of a profession that never gets boring. The only thing I will promise is that I’ll keep trying to make things better; to create change at work and in the profession. The only thing you can count on is change. And I like that.
Happy New Year everyone. May 2008 bring you great success, fun and learning.