I don't think college students would enjoy being compared to toddlers, but this morning my mind made that connection. You know how you get one idea in your head and it leads to another and another and the next thing you know you are making some oddly relevant connections? That's what happened.
I was thinking today about trying to get another student teacher. I got lucky my first time and had a great one. This reminded me about how much I enjoy teaching college students because they make me really think about how things work in libraries and schools and why we do things the way we do.
It's the whole "Why?" question. Children ask "why" all the time because they are curious. They see the world with fresh eyes and are trying to understand how it works. It's the same with newbie librarians. They want to know "why". And this is a great thing for the veterans.
Being asked why you do something makes you step back and consider it. Why do we have the policies we do? Why is the library set up that way? Why do we do the things we do? Why is that book challenged? When you have been doing the same job for a long time, things become routine and you forget the rationale behind the initial decisions to move in specific directions. "That's the way it has always been done" isn't a valid answer. What events and decisions led to that practice?
The next time you are thinking about how to evaluate your library, bring in a library science intern or student who needs observation hours - he or she will ask you questions about areas of your library facility and program that you haven't considered in a long time.
When is the last time you were asked why you do things the way you do?