Where is your phone located right now? How often do you boot up your computer? What are you using to read this? Technology has firmly planted itself in our lives; and as students, it’s an absolute necessity to succeed in your program.
I recently had a short Zoom meeting with a professor, and in it, she asked if I had a blender running in the background. I was mortified when I realized that the strange noises coming from my laptop could be heard on her end. After leaving the call, I started looking at how often I use technology and how technology has shaped my experience throughout my LIS program.
I use different technology for specific purposes. For example, school and personal email is primarily handled by my phone because that’s what I have access to the most. All paper writing is done on my laptop so that I can have multiple programs open at once, as is making initial posts on discussion boards. Checking discussion boards and replying is done on whichever device is closest to me at the time. Smartphones have come a long way in the past ten years, but their size makes it nearly impossible to finish library school without a full laptop.
Technology mishaps have also helped me learn better ways to do my weekly readings. After losing access to the printers at work when we were closed down, I opted to transfer my readings to my Kindle Paperwhite to help reduce eye strain from my laptop. Unfortunately, adding a 3D printer and Cricut Maker to my small apartment caused chaos and all of my cables somehow disappeared. Unable to transfer readings via USB, I noticed an email address in the settings and learned that I could email PDFs to my Kindle. I’m sure many of you already knew this, but it amazed me how this issue became a learning opportunity.
These experiences have caused me to reflect on how others use technology. Libraries as places of continuing education incorporate technology into their program offerings, but what happens when these services are no longer available? Before closing in March due to the pandemic, my department offered a handful of technology programs every month and held many one-on-one appointments to go over various technology questions that can’t be answered in a large group. How did our library patrons traverse the ever changing technology landscape without our services, and what can be done once we are back at full services to ensure they aren’t left behind in the next pandemic? This has been on my mind, as I’ve been frantically looking for ways to keep my laptop alive until I’m done with library school. Access to technology is one thing; understanding it is its own issue. As LIS professionals, we should be working on all fronts to help our communities.
This is a shorter post, as the odd noises coming from my laptop are progressively getting worse. I’ll now be switching to my phone to watch YouTube videos on how to remove my laptop’s fan. How do you use technology in your day to day? How do your experiences influence your thoughts on technology?
Conrrado is an online MLIS student at the University of Washington iSchool and an Adult Services Specialist at the Natrona County Library.