Column Description: Kristin will talk with people from across New York State working in libraries to discover what and how they keep learning and growing.

Featured in this issue of “A Learning Life” is Carolyn Bennett Glauda, who is the Education and Outreach Librarian at Southeastern NY Library Resources Council in Highland, NY. She produces continuing education programs for library workers and is the program manager for Digital Navigators of the Hudson Valley. She received an MSIS in Library Science and MA in History from the University of Albany in 2015.


What is your relationship with lifelong learning?  

Library work is a second career for me. College days were a distant blip in my rear-view mirror at the time I applied to grad school. UAlbany was the only school I applied to, despite my dread of the GRE requirement they had at that time. I was told the test was a standard University requirement and my score wouldn't impact my acceptance, but I still wanted to do well. I dedicated the summer to flashcards full of math and grammar concepts that had evaporated from my brain in the previous decade. The concepts were as unnecessary to my life then as they are now, but as I reviewed, researched, and memorized them, the unexpected payoff was that I trained myself to study again. When it came time to learn the more practical matters of library science, I was prepared to absorb the material. Since I matriculated, the profession has changed and I find some new ideas and concepts challenging to understand at first until I tap back into the muscle memory I built up in school. The payoff from that effort is the joy of absorbing something new.


How do you share your passion for learning with others?  

That's the core part of my current job! I produce and promote professional development for librarians. The service we provide at Southeastern ranges from formal classes with trained educators, informal meetings for peer sharing, and long-running programs where we train people to provide new services in their organizations. Even when we provide training on aspects of the profession that aren't part of my job, I get energized when I watch what librarians are doing and when I see them make new connections.


What do you see as the connection between libraries and learning?  

People who use libraries are inclined to have one of the greatest human characteristics: curiosity. Patrons come to us because they desire to know something. Some days they just want to learn the directions to the restroom. But there are other days when a person's inquiry can spark an intellectual treasure hunt that teaches you something new as well. Sometimes that hunt requires assistance from one of the other academic, special, or public libraries in the region, and I love that we at Southeastern can help librarians learn about other libraries!


What is your favorite quote or idea about learning?

Years ago when there was a fear that ebooks would replace print, I heard Ann Patchett use the history of women's clothes as a metaphor. Until the dress reform movement women only wore skirts and dresses. But when we got to start wearing pants, we didn't abandon skirts. Our world expanded, and now we have a choice! She similarly predicted that ebooks would become an option in addition to, not instead of, print books. Learning about all the ways of learning feels like that. Print, audio, in-person, online, synchronous, asynchronous, hands-on, and remote are all different formats that work for different people at different times. One is not inherently better than the other. As an education provider, I vary the formats we have available for learners. I also like experimenting with different formats for my own learning.


Do you have a favorite tip or resource you visit for instruction or inspiration?  

My favorite tool is the old-school RSS feed. (Yes, I am still mourning Google Reader. I use Feedly now.) The blogs and news sites I subscribe to are a mix of local and national news, library news, urban planning, design, fashion, and trivia. I go catch up on it when I need a hit of inspiration. I often learn something new or get more information on stories I heard in passing. Even though I am not an expert in anything I read on those feeds, I'm aware enough about enough things to hold a decent conversation!

Kristin’s career as a librarian has been defined by her constant learning and exploring. She has been working in the library field (and the Mid-Hudson Library System) for more than 11 years: first as the Adult and Teen Services Librarian at the Kingston Library, then as Assistant Director at the Town of Esopus Library, and now as Assistant Director of the Howland Public Library in Beacon, N.Y. She is active in NYLA and credits the association with providing her with so many learning opportunities, including the Leadership and Management Academy, serving as a mentor to the Developing Leaders Program, and as the current Vice President/President-elect of IDEAS (Instruction, Development, Equity, and Access Section)