Knitting club as collectivist information practice

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Today I chaired my last Knitting club meeting in the library. The idea behind this club is that everyone is welcome to come along, have a go at knitting or crochet in a relaxed friendly fun environment of all ability. We hold it every Thursday lunchtime on the ground floor of the library and it is open to staff and students.

I set up this initiative after having organised the Get Creative Event. I discovered that a lot of students and staff people love knitting and they asked me to set up a regular meeting just to relax and discuss current projects.
I enjoyed spending time showing people how to knit and crochet the basics, and share hints tips and patterns, even though we end up just laughing and chatting. I think it is a very good time for networking with staff coming from other departments (HR, IT, Marketing, Registry) and use the library spaces for creative initiatives.

Our weekly meeting helped fostering network connections. I had the opportunity to interact with and learn from others colleagues sharing a common interest in a craft. People also came to the library at the invitation of friends and I can proudly say that working relationships begun during the knitting meeting are extending beyond it. Plus crafting is therapeutic and create common information ground.

I firmly believe that, as Prigoda & McKenzie (2007) really well stated, “group participation can be seen both to fill information gaps and to fulfil participants’ need to socialise, form a caring community, and participate in craft, and the knitting group is a site for collectivist information practices”. Let me just give you some examples: a Portuguese student joined our group and she was knitting in a completely different way by keeping the thread around her neck, my Syrian colleague was stitching with her fingers and I taught how to chain bind off along a straight edge in my Italian way. In this way experienced knitters served as expert information sources for staff/students with less experience.

You don’t have idea how much I love the spontaneous and serendipitous sharing of information (I am a librarian at the end!). Go knitting!

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References
Prigoda, E., & McKenzie, P. J. (2007). Purls of wisdom: A collectivist study of human information behaviour in a public library knitting group. Journal of Documentation, 63(1), 90-114. doi:10.1108/00220410710723902

Information searching and writing as intertwining processes

Man Seated on the Ground, Writing by Anonymous, Italian, Roman-Bolognese, 17th century ©MoMA

As a distant learner student I am asked to prepare and write a number of academic essays. It’s so interesting that I am at the same time a student and a potential librarian. I am exploring how (as librarian) I can give advices and guidance on the information searching process and at the same time (as student) I apply directly those. I feel quite privileged to have this direct impact on myself. It’s like being a doctor and a patient at the same time.

Writing (on the top of that in a foreing language) it’s a temporary issue that I am trying to overcome. In order to prevent the writer’s block I am going to use the ‘information searching and writing as intertwining process’ (Torras, 2009:63). It’s composed in to two parts:

1) Writing before reading

– Help find own voice

– Formulate own thoughts better = Inital thoughts and consideration

2) Writing while reading

– Establish a dialogue with literature = dynamic process

– Understand thoughts

When I prepared my first assignment I made the mistake of waiting to much before actually writing my thoughts. I was afraid of exploring and formulating my onw thinking but I admit that I wasted a lot of time. This time I will follow Torras’ suggestion and I’ll take more into consideration my personal ideas. It’s now time to be confortable with my own voice from the very first stage of my information search process. I will come back again about the writing process because it’s something that intrigues me.

Reference

Torras, M. (2009). Information literacy education : A process appraoch : Professionalising the pedagogical role of academic libraries. Oxford: Chandos.