Tuesday, December 21, 2010

2nd verse: same as the first

So here I am gearing up to teach consumer health for the first time at TWU. Last semester it was intro to health science librarianship, and I found myself a bit adrift, but having to be ok with that. If I am to walk the walk, what I teach must be transparent and participatory, should be integrated with ideas of evidence-based practice. What does that mean?
  • not making truth claims
  • being ready to be wrong
  • being ready to be unsure
  • being ready to base my work and claims on best practices
  • being capable and willing to assess outcomes, acknowledging my own tendency to bias
There is no comfort-space here in health science librarianship. We don't know where we're going but past the uncertainty, there is (I feel it!) opportunity. Reading Patricia Anderson's 'lessons learned' post, in which she assembles the results of a lively, ongoing conversation taking place weekly via tweet, the open door is visible. There are permeable barriers between health professionals and health consumers and health science librarians. There is, as there was with Second Life, a tendency for those uninvolved to brush away excited claims from new frontier explorers. There is, as with calls for our involvement in new ways such as informationists, a lack of evidence to support such excursions - twinned with a recognition by those involved that this matters.

I wonder how to provide glimpses of the possible to aspirant health information professionals when it is anything but clear to me. Is what I need try to convey the uncertainty and the excitement? When new students ask, where is health science librarianship headed - how can I say I know (and give false comfort), when I do not (and still, find challenge as I have for several decades)?  It has to come from honesty and transparency, presenting myself as a learner too. As I am.