Wednesday, May 27, 2009

27 Things: Lifelong Learning and Teaching

Teachable Moments

It's hard to hide fear. When someone is afraid, shaken, even the toughest exterior shows stress. Courage acts in spite of fear.

One of the first people I helped as a Librarian was an older man, a young 60, who looked like he hadn't been in a library since grade school. With his short white shirt-sleeves rolled up, arms tanned from working outdoors, hands thick with callouses, he looked like nothing could shake him. He was visibly shaken, having just been diagnosed with cardiomyopathy. His doctor didn't tell him enough. So, he came to the Library.

We had just installed InfoTrac Health Reference Center. I had played enough to know we could find usable information. He sat down at the computer and started working as best he could. This was before computers used a mouse or the Internet invaded Libraries. Everything was done with function keys. It did not take much explanation before he was comfortable with the system. Necessity demanded his attention. When he left he thanked us for showing him how to find the information.

Librarians have to be teachers. We have to know what were are about so we can teach. The more experience we have with the collection the better we will know its limitations and our responsibilities (we are neither medical advisors or lawyers). We teach each other, because no one can know everything. We teach everyday.

Gerald F. Ward

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