My passion to engage with my community has led my to my current career as a public library reference assistant. This e-Portfolio will highlight my personal and professional trajectory and goals. To further my career I will apply to the Masters of library science graduate program at the University of South Florida.
Formal and Informal Education
The knowledge I have acquired during my adult life has been a mixture of both formal academic and informal experience and personal study. I have always studied on my own whether in school or not . This was helpful when I took the Comparative Politics class at UCF. Prior to that course I had read a book titled Globalization and its Discontents by author Joseph Stiglitz. This book was especially helpful as the course was heavily geared toward the inequity of multinational corporations with respect to the local population. This relates to what we have learned in the cornerstone class of identifying personal bias with the purpose of not letting that cloud our overall understanding of a complex problem. With the previous examples of globalism I can see that I might be falling for a negative confirmation bias. With this acknowledgement I should seek out a more balanced study of Globalism. While teaching English to my student with Literacy for Adults in Brevard I was able to incorporate the Spanish I had learned making the lesson easier for both of us. It also gave me empathy to her situation as I have felt myself what it is like to struggle with a language and be unable to communicate effectively if at all. My experience working retail has certainly shaped my view of labor law and relations. I feel that I got a call to serve the community in a voluntary or near voluntary capacity and i really felt it deep inside my heart. I have come to recognize that. This is why I chose to join the IWW and work with prisoners.
Like many who declare an Interdisciplinary Studies Major I have widely varying interests. I can see how the various knowledge I have can be integrated and made much more useful for myself as well as those with whom I interact. Working in the reference department at the Titusville library the integration of my formal academic and informal education has been a major help when researching a topic for a patron or to help build a Library program. I try to incorporate all of my experience in my work. I recently started a Spanish Club through the Library as well as an evening book club. I expect my experience to lead to a healthy discussion.
I've spent some time working jobs that were unfulfilling in every respect and I've always known that I wanted to help people. The library has proved to be the perfect career for me.
As a reference assistant at the public library I have the opportunity to help develop meaningful programs for the patrons. Beyond library programs many of our patrons lack computer skills that are essential to secure employment or assistance of any kind. Helping them in this respect is one of the main reasons many patrons come into the library.
Beyond the programs and patron assistance it is key to understand budgets and costs. One of my three study areas is commerce. Developing critical and noncritical library programs as well as funding everyday functions of a public library it is necessary to keep costs under control.
I am currently working on a fine forgiveness program that I believe will ultimately shore up much of what many patrons owe as well as encourage them to use our library more often.
1. The Audience for my ePortfolio is a is specifically for entry into the Graduate program for Masters in Library Science at the University of South Florida.
2. The main theme of my e-Portfolio is to demonstrate my experience with creating art and music as well as highlight my experience with developing and felicitating public library library programs. My overall message will also show my course work, volunteer work and my plan for the future.
4. Artifact 1:
This is a picture of me at the Spanish Club I facilitate once per month at the Titusville public Library. The club usually has between 5 to 6 people participating in many differen ways. Some come to be social and talk about their experience with hispanic or Iberian culture while others come for lessons. There are also some patrons that come for the refreshments.
This is a picture of me tutoring english to a recent immigrant from Puerto Rico. I volunteer with Literacy for Adults in Brevard working specifically with recent immigrants most of whom are from Latin American countries.
This is a picture of some of my visual art. Experience being creative has been helpful in library programs as well as the development of future programs in the library. I hope to soon help young patrons make book trailers as well as helping adult patrons with their creative endeavors.
5. After working retail for several years I decided to quit. I turned in my notice and left. But I had a plan. I decided I was going to do what I wanted and make sure it worked out. I improved my typing skills, I brushed up on my computer skills and I applied to every library job in Brevard county.I applied Working at a public library as a reference assistant has truly been a wonderful experience. As a reference assistant I am able to assist many members of the community. After a short time I began to feel like the library was my second home. It is the first time I actually loved my job and can't wait to come back day after day.
One of least costly programs is our up-cycle program using book pages from books that would have been thrown away. There are many things that can be made using found or up-cycled material. Below is an example of one of our projects. The program has been popular with many different age groups.
Statement of Interdisciplinary Understanding
At the beginning of the the class I thought interdisciplinary studies was about simply learning different disciplines and how we will use them in a particular career. Now when I read an article or watch the news it clear how an interdisciplinary approach to many of the problems and topics would benefit all parties. I recently read an article on a medieval arab divining tool called the Zairja. Many disciplines are easily connected and an understanding of them helped me understand the Zairja and the many types that came after which included a proto-computer. Math, ancient astronomy, cryptography, orthography, and the cultural context of the device its later types made by men of later generations. In my experience in activism I have noticed that I see the issues of concern from many different perspectives as I did prior to learning about interdisciplinary studies.
Regarding prison abolition I see that history of oppression as well as corporate structure of private prisons require a more interdisciplinary approach to abolition to ensure that all side are thoroughly understood.
My idea of interdisciplinarity involves approaching a complex problem of society, culture or even the sciences with the insights of multiple disciplines and integrating the all the information to find a solution or better understanding. This not only requires academic study and analysis but it requires empathy. Working for the public library it is necessary to have empathy when working with some of the patrons. Also, while developing programs for the library I will use a perspectives taking approach to form programs that will benefit the most patrons.
The Spanish club I facilitate is another fun way in which the study areas of my Spanish minor and cultural anthropology courses have been very useful. Patrons attend the Spanish club for various reason each expecting something different. Some want to focus on lessons while others just want to chat about Iberian or Latin American culture.
An interdisciplinary approach to the development and function of the Spanish Club allows me to be aware and prepared to engage with each patrons expectations adequately.
I volunteer with the House of Hope in Merritt Island. The House of Hope is a food pantry that distributes food to the needy every Monday morning. I help package and carry food for those come.
I also volunteer with Literacy for Adults in Brevard (LAB). LAB helps people gain literacy in order to secure employment. With LAB I primarily work with recent immigrants. I teach them english and culture which helps them with the essentials of life.
I have been involved with the prison abolition movement for a little under a year through the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) which is part of The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). IWOC organizes prisoners to demand fair treatment and fair pay. They also serve to highlight and bring awareness of the prisons systems direct lineage to American Slavery.
Understanding a problem as complex as the industrial prison complex requires a pragmatic and truly interdisciplinary approach. It is easy to choose a side with an issue as controversial as prison abolition that is why one must resist digging in and work to have some empathy for everyones point of view.