Category Archives: On Being Human

On Self-Efficacy

[H]appy people don’t believe that life is good because they’re just lucky. They don’t believe that they’re mere reeds in the winds of fate. Rather, happy people believe that they can influence what happens to them in the future, and they tend to take responsibility for the important events in their lives.

“What Are Happy People Like? the Characteristics of Happiness.” Positive Psychology 101, Philip C. Watkins, Springer Publishing Company, 2015.

“Character — the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life — is the source from which self-respect springs.”

[…]

“To assign unanswered letters their proper weight, to free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves–there lies the great, the singular power of self-respect. Without it, one eventually discovers the final turn of the screw: one runs away to find oneself, and finds no one at home.”

-Joan Didion, “On Self-Respect

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Filed under Education, On Being Human, Posts by Kevin Michael Klipfel, The Library Game

Press Release for ‘Learner-Centered Pedagogy’

Our book, Learner-Centered Pedagogy, which has been available for pre-order for a little while, is now going to be officially released by ALA and begin shipping on June 22. And if  you’re going to be at ALA annual, the ALA store will have some copies for sale.

Both Dani and I now both have copies in our hands, and we must say that we’re extremely pleased with the book. ALA took really great care with the cover, layout, and presentation of the book. We’d like to thank everyone involved, and give special thanks to our acquisitions editor at ALA, Patrick Hogan, for supporting the project, and for the high and somewhat unusual degree of autonomy he gave us over the book.

The book is something we worked really hard on, writing it mostly at night and in our free time, and it’s crazy to see something of this scope go from its initial stages to come to fruition in an actual, published book. We both really put our selves into it, and feel proud to have written an evidence based book that puts students first in our instruction and practice of librarianship.

If you’re interested in ordering a copy, you can use the following code to get $5 off our purchase if you acquire the book directly from the ALA Store:

COUPON CODe: LCPP17

I’ve gone ahead and pasted the text of ALA’s Press Release for the book below ( and if you’re so inclined you can see the whole thing here).

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Filed under Bibliographic Instruction is Dead, Education, Library Instruction, On Being Human, Posts by Kevin Michael Klipfel, The Library Game

Monday Quote

Just to be yourself is enough.

-Shunryu Suzuki

Suzuki

 

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Carl Rogers on Creativity

Perhaps the most fundamental condition of creativity is that the source or locus of evaluative judgment is internal. The value of the product is, for the creative person, established not by the praise or criticism of others, but by himself. Have I created something satisfying to me? Does it express a part of me – my feeling or my thought, my pain or my ecstasy? These are the only questions which really matter to the creative person, or to any person who is being creative.

This does not mean that he is oblivious to, or unwilling to be aware of, the judgments of others. It is simply that the basis of evaluation lies within himself, in his own organismic reaction to and appraisal of his product. If to the person it has the “feel” of being “me in action,” of being an actualization of potentialities in himself which heretofore have not existed and are now emerging into existence, then it is satisfying and creative, and no outside evaluation can change that fundamental fact.

Carl Rogers, “Toward a Theory of Creativity,” in On Becoming a Person, p. 354.

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Monday Quote

Rigid moralism is a compensatory mechanism by which the individual persuades himself to take over the external sanctions because he has no fundamental assurance that his own choices have any sanction of their own.

-Rollo May, The Discovery of Being, p. 102.

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A Mother****ing Keyword Triumph

About one or twice a week a student I had in a for-credit information literacy class last semester will drop by the reference desk when I’m working it and she’s studying in the library to stop and chat with me. She’s an international student living in America (and Los Angeles (God help her)) for the first time, so often we’ll not only chat about her schoolwork, but whatever issues may come up for her as an ESL student.

The other day she came by and, as we were talking, mentioned that one of her instructors swears quite frequently and that she thinks it’s amusing. She asked me what I thought about that and I told her that I don’t swear in class or at work because it can be alienating to people (though in my personal life I can barely go a sentence without saying fuck (a fact that I didn’t mention for professional reasons)).

We kind of got talking about this, and language differences between her home country and L.A., and she asked me what the equivalent swear-word was in English for a particular phrase referring to saying something not especially nice about someone’s mother.

I jokingly said something along the lines of, “Well, there’s no way I’m going to tell you but it does present an interesting dilemma … How would you go about searching for a phrase like that when you don’t actually know the exact phrase?”

Her response: “Oh! You mean like keywords!!!!” after which she began typing quickly into her laptop.

After about thirty seconds she looked up at me.

“Professor Klipfel! I figured it out.”

“Cool,” I said.

“IT’S MOTHERFUCKER!!!!!” she said.

“Very good. But what did you type in.”

“I typed in “English” “Mother” and “Bad Word” into Google. I even used your keyword chart!”

Just another information literacy triumph.

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Libraries and Critical Thinking: No Better Time Than Now

It is a depressing time to be both an American and a person who thinks that facts matter. We have a President who denies the reality of climate change; claims that performing a study into whether voter fraud occurred is in and of itself grounds for concluding that voter fraud occurred; and, of course, prefers “alternative facts” [sic] when the way the world actually is turns out not to be in his liking. Donald Trump’s world is a zero sum game where if you’re not a winner you’re a loser, and there’s no grey area between terrific and disaster. And this is, like, the first week.

But though Trump is as pernicious an enemy to critical thinking as we’ve seen in quite some time, this current state of affairs provides librarians with an opportunity to (re)establish ourselves as educators whose primary business is helping learners distinguish fact from fiction. Carl Rogers once said that when doing research “the facts are friendly.” I can think of no better credo for the information literacy enterprise, and no better message that we could hope to deliver to our students.

Librarians, I’ve always believed, are in the very business of evidence: we teach learners how to use reliable information so they can construct their beliefs based on the best evidence available to them. Whether helping a student find an article in a database; learn how to cite something in MLA; or write an annotated bibliography, all our efforts boil down to helping learners base their beliefs on the evidence.

The present situation affords us a unique opportunity to use our creative powers to make this expertise explicit, and help both students and other campus faculty see our value in the realm of critical thinking. There are any number of ways to do this that fall squarely within the realm of librarianship. And the best ways, in my opinion, will be lessons that maintain our neutrality in the face of politics and and our allegiance to the facts, whatever they may happen to be. Facts are not political, no matter what this, or any other government administration may prefer you to believe.

 

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