For various reasons, I’ve been reflecting a lot on service* lately. Through this reflection, some things about myself have started to coalesce in my mind. As I mentioned in a previous post, my path to librarianship was not direct. However, every job I’ve ever had has been based in service in some way (though not necessarily service as defined by my *). I don’t know which came first, my service jobs or my service ethos. Whatever the order, I can’t remember a time when service wasn’t important to me. It is essential to me to be of service both in and to my work and to ensure that my service is high quality. As a librarian, I have spent ten years developing a program of service that benefits my library, my university, and my profession. Along the way, I’ve also accrued benefits in the form of personal satisfaction and a network of friends and colleagues that I can turn to when I need support.
I recently read Cal Newport‘s So Good They Can’t Ignore You in which he argues that passion for your work is something that grows with time rather than something innate. It’s only through building “career capital” and cashing it in for more creativity, impact and control that we become truly happy in our work. That has certainly been the case for me. I didn’t come to librarianship with a burning passion for it, but my happiness and passion have grown over time. Without realizing it, I have become, at my professional core, a resource sharing librarian with a commitment to providing access to information in all its forms. Resource sharing has become my life philosophy, extending far beyond the sharing of library materials. I see service as yet another form of resource sharing. Whether it be sharing my librarian perspective in faculty governance, sharing my experiences and expertise through mentoring, or sharing my knowledge in professional committees, it is all resource sharing. It is all service. It is only through sharing our personal resources and serving our communities that we can hope to achieve collective success.
* I’m defining service here as applying one’s “knowledge, skills, and expertise as an educator, a member of a discipline or profession, or a participant in an institution to benefit students, the institution, the discipline or profession, and the community in a manner consistent with the missions of the university and the campus.” ~ from Service at Indiana University: Defining, Documenting, and Evaluating (1999). Indianapolis, IN: Center for Public Service and Leadership.
Open access benefits scholars everywhere by connecting them to research they may not otherwise be able to access, but I’d like to take a moment to look at open access in reverse. By making my research open access, I benefit myself as well as the community at large. My work gets much wider exposure through my deposits in IUPUI ScholarWorks than it would ever receive confined to a single journal or conference. My 2012 article, “Opening Interlibrary Loan to Open Access,” has 415 file views from countries as diverse as the US, China, Italy, Ukraine, and Australia. The 2011 conference presentation on which it was based has 177 file views from an equally diverse set of countries. Another 2012 article, “Going Global: An International Survey of Lending and Borrowing across Borders,” has 156 file views.
The impact is even more apparent when you look at conference presentations.
My most recent conference presentation,* which only had 18 attendees, already has 12 file views after only 10 days in ScholarWorks!
These altmetrics demonstrate the increased impact of my work outside of the original presentation vehicle whether it be a conference or journal. By participating in the IUPUI Open Access Policy, I enjoy the benefits of broader readership and community impact while promoting knowledge sharing and information equity. For me, depositing in IUPUI ScholarWorks is a win-win proposition.
* at time of original publication
I recently read two seemingly contradictory books, Cal Newport‘s Deep Work and Austin Kleon‘s Show Your Work! Deep Work includes a chapter titled “Quit Social Media,” while Kleon says to share every day. So what am I to do? Newport does give his readers permission to stay on social media if its positive impact outweighs its negatives. It’s just clear that he thinks that is a rare state of affairs. But that permission means not all sharing avenues are closed.
Truthfully, I’m not a huge social media sharer to begin with, so I’ve quickly carved out what I think is a middle ground. I’ll still post to Facebook when the mood strikes me. I’ll still check out the Twitter feed when I attend a conference. That’s it for social media. I think the best way for me to #showyourwork is to write the occasional blog post right here – occasional being the operative word.
I’ve done the blogging thing before and eventually got overwhelmed. The self-imposed pressure to keep up my posting frequency led to abandonment. This time I’m setting low expectations from the start while embracing Kleon’s notion that “you want hearts, not eyeballs” (p. 129). It isn’t about how many followers you have but having the right followers – the followers that care about the same things you do. So don’t expect daily, or probably even weekly, posts from me. Right now, I’m more interested in integrating #deepwork in my life, and this website is a tool in my learning process. Like Kleon says, “Don’t think of your website as a self-promotion machine, think of it as a self-invention machine” (p. 67).
Another element in all this is my keen awareness of the importance of sharing. I am a librarian devoted to resource sharing after all. So when I have thoughts to share that can’t be contained in a Facebook post, you’ll find them here. I hope we can share ideas and help one another.