Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Why I Am Starting This Blog, or, Why Am I Starting This Blog?

From description of blog: An eclectic blog on sustainable scholarship and libraries, book jaunts and research, and odd interests like vocation, children's lit, and ???

So, why? And why these topics?
OK, lots of reasons. I've been thinking about it for quite a while. I wrote a couple of guest blogs for my good friend Anthony's blog, On Books and Biblios, which I highly recommend, and it began to become clear that Anthony would NEVER run out of ideas on his own and publish mine! My daughter started a blog. I gave a presentation at the American Theological Library Association conference in June and some colleagues asked if I had plans for continuing the conversation I had started there on scholarly sustainability, then one emailed to ask if I blog. I had been feeling the need to figure out a way to keep track of some of my research and ongoing thoughts about my work. I don't consider myself an expert and I am always hoping to learn. So I decided to go for it.

So, why these topics?
Sustainable scholarship--I think this is a crucial topic that all librarians must pay attention to. In my mind, it encompasses many different sub-topics, some of which I have had an interest in for years. The world of libraries is changing--the photo at the top of my blog shows the old notion of the library--from the Mission of San Buenaventura in Ventura, California. The label at the top of the bookcase reads "Bibliotheca Sancti Bonaventurae" and it seems I remember that two bookcases made up this bibliotheca. These books are something of a metaphor for scholarly sustainability for me. They did not appear to be taken care of and were not accessible, though I hope if someone contacted the community there, they would be allowed to look at them for an appropriate reason. Believe me, I need to work on the metaphor a lot! My paper will be published soon in the proceedings of the conference (I'll try to make the bibliography available sooner), but my article already published in Theological Librarianship 3.1, "Librarians, Publishers and Theological Reference Resources: A Way Forward" considers some of the issues I perceive to be part of the whole scholarly sustainability conversation. 

So, why write on libraries and research? And book jaunts? Well, these have a lot to do with scholarly sustainability and I've been traveling a lot and it seems useful to me to write a bit about these. I think it is going to become increasingly useful for librarians to know about other libraries and their strengths and if possible, to have a personal contact. My students and faculty often need unusual things that I might have an easier time getting with such a personal contact. Doing my own research for publication and presentation helps me know first-hand the trials and tribulations (and enjoyment and fun) involved. Book jaunts--it helps to keep our mind open to various places where we might find material of use to our patrons, and since I've been thinking in the observant manner Anthony has taught me, I have discovered a whole new way of seeing the world, or at least a part of it I am very tantalized by! Also, writing about the joy of finding books is just fun and offers a different style of writing than the scholarly style. 

Vocation and children's lit? Those that know me know that my work is highly influenced by my belief that I have a vocation, or calling, to this work. My own interest in scholarly sustainability is affected by this and my current research is occupied by this (I am currently researching an article on the life and work of Fr. Simeon Daly, a Benedictine who is sort of a spiritual father to many Catholic theological librarians. I am also participating in a Lilly grant project with seminary faculty and librarians to find ways to help our students be able to help their future congregations discover their own vocations). Another part of my research is a possible project on using children's lit for religious formation. 

??? I do want to keep this blog on the main topic. But doesn't your mind occasionally stray to things like Arsenal football and will Cesc remain as captain, will Leon Russell continue to tour when he turns 100, the eschatology of Angela Thirkell (and will I ever finish that article), are kale chips really delicious, and would a trip on a narrowboat on the canals of England be really fun or pure hell? 

I hope you will learn something, enjoy much, and have a lot to think about! Please, please comment.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Melody: Congratulations on starting a blog. I like your perspective. The most intriguing things you mentioned, which I hope you will expand upon, are: the eschatology of Angela Thirkell, Simeon Daly, and the Lily grant. Don't let me down!