Carolyn L. Bowman UW MLIS Portfolio
The MLIS Portfolio represents a summary of significant experiences during my time as a graduate student in Library and Information Science at the University of Washington. Almost every aspect of the profession was new to me in the summer of 2003, when I entered the program. Each component of this portfolio—teaching, service, technological tools, intellectual growth, and leadership—demonstrates the augmentation of my varied interests and skills and documents my development and competency as an information professional.
During the two and a half year journey through graduate school, I worked full time as a gardener for the Seattle Public Library. A renowned public library opened in downtown Seattle during that time, as well as several new library branches and renovated Carnegie-era structures. I am privileged to have designed and installed focal gardens at three of the renovated Carnegie libraries in Seattle, two of which were completed during the pursuit of my MLIS degree. (My favorite is the Fremont Library garden.) These experiences provide further dimension to my academic experience, as I attempt to make connections every day among all of the pursuits in which I am engaged. I am proud of my contributions to the Seattle Public Library.
I believe we must recognize the relationships among all the people in information organizations, just as we strive to integrate all the components of information systems. I have worked tirelessly at Seattle Public Library to blur the distinctions between, for example, gardener and teacher, and among database designer, reference librarian, and cataloger. As professionals, we can only enhance our value with efforts to understand all the people with whom we work (and their responsibilities). My experiences during pursuit of an MLIS degree demonstrate my dedication to high standards and participation at all levels of a project, with particular attention to and effort toward including the perspectives of my colleagues at all those various levels.
The pages of this website are designed to be read in the sequence described below:
Teaching is an aspect of library and information science on which I intend to concentrate as a professional. Teaching touches nearly every component of this portfolio and is discussed in several of them. However, my primary demonstrations of teaching competence are those related to my work at Seattle Public Library.
I devoted public service time to two organizations during pursuit of my graduate education. One organization, the Center for Urban Horticulture, utilized skills I have long possessed; the other, FamilyWorks, pushed me in new directions.
In spite of the fact that everything in the MLIS program was new to me, I faced the technology with the most apprehension. I had no experience beyond word processing and few skills other than those required for basic internet searching. Fortunately, I took LIS 520 and LIS 541 during my first fall quarter. I repeatedly referred to notes and guidelines from these courses as I pulled together the technological components of my graduate school experience.
The intellectual component of my education developed slowly, maturing over the course of the entire experience. Two major pieces of work demonstrate an intellectual perspective new to me; through them I broadened my concept of the user.
By assuming some leadership and laying the groundwork early, I created an opportunity for myself and Seattle Public Library by encouraging two librarians to participate in a Directed Fieldwork opportunity for the first time.
Nearly 20 years ago, while teaching high school math and biology, I was asked by the senior class to speak at graduation. At the time, I struggled to find some wisdom to impart. Hmm—lots of platitudes, I noted while reading the speech recently. Curiously, though, I still try to follow one piece of my own advice:
...be willing to take the risk of associating yourselves with people you do not know and with whom you may not agree. Not as difficult as it sounds, really. In college or in any job situation, you will be surrounded by people from different places with unique family histories and ideas that do not jive with yours...Listen to other people, even though you may not be comfortable initially with the opinions of others. Just as you believe that your current values are good and right, so they believe the same of theirs. And they may have a point. Secondly, don't forget that none of us is ever too old to learn something new.
I hope this portfolio reveals my continuing efforts to be an open person, in addition to the required components.
I want to thank all readers for taking the time.