Embracing the Boundary

13 Oct

Things have been a little sparse around here and I’ll confess the reason why:

I don’t know enough.

I’m four weeks into my program and I feel like I’ve learned a lot. I can define many library-related acronyms (holla, MARC records!), I can build a web page from scratch, I can tell a good reference interview from a poor one, and I can successfully re-shelve books using the Dewey system. These are all things I couldn’t do a month ago. But still, I’m hesitant to post my thoughts and opinions here because I might make a mistake. I might say something stupid or absolutely wrong. I might post on Banned Books Week and later read a piece online that makes me cringe over my lack of depth.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and then I came across a quotation in a reading for class (Scrolling Forward, David M. Levy) that caused a dramatic shift in my thinking:

“The boundary,” Paul Tillich once said, “is the best place for acquiring knowledge.” (Preface, xviii)

I’m not usually one to post inspirational quotes because, quite frankly, my inspirations are probably not your inspirations and there’s no need for me to beat you over the head with them. However, I make an exception in this case because in one instant, it completely reframed the way I was thinking about school. I was all, “I’ll never catch up! How can I learn everything in two years?!?!?! Why haven’t I been a librarian since infancy, like everyone else? I’m a failure!!!!!!” and now, I’m slowly trying to embrace the boundary.


This, my friends, is exhilarating. And really, really scary for me.

Every day, I’m pushing at the edges of my little bubble of librarian knowledge. I hope that I can use this blog to stretch the edges around new ideas and to provoke conversations that keep me at the boundary.



One Response to “Embracing the Boundary”

  1. Dana October 14, 2011 at 12:17 am #

    Right when you posted that you read another piece online that made you cringe — I knew it was the Annoyed Librarian. I think she can dig into a lot of people. A lot of librarians actually really hate her blog, I’ve learned, and she knows it — but people keep reading because she does push boundaries and she makes you think.

    So, I think it’s wonderful, what you wrote. 🙂 It is the only way we learn, to have our buttons pushed.

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