What do you think of when you hear the term “expert?” Maybe it conjures images of a computer technician, a wizened professor, or someone wearing a lab coat.
According to Merriam Webster, an expert is someone “having, involving, or displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience.”
Notice it doesn’t say anything about age, gender, or having to wear any kind of regalia. So in that case, I’m an expert!
I’ve been a member of the American Library Association since beginning library school in 2008 and for the past year or so the organization has adopted the theme of Libraries Transform and have called on members to state their area of expertise.
At this time I would say that my main areas of professional expertise (“training and experience”) are teaching students how to search and manipulate results within EBSCOhost databases and assisting students with their research in our children’s and youth collection. I’m still very much a student in the areas of academic assessment, open education resources, and a whole lot more – but I’m learning!
You might have heard about Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule from his book Outliers, in which he claims this is the “magic number of greatness.” However, in this online article, Rob Nightingale from Make Use Of debunks Gladwell’s theory (and takes a closer look at the research upon which Gladwell stated this philosophy) and looks at other important characteristics and traits of how we can be an expert.
This, no doubt, includes how teaching is a tactic to faster learning. But boy howdy – if I made $1 for every time I taught EBSCOhost or lead a student through the process of finding the perfect children’s book for their assignment…well, I would probably be the wealthiest librarian west of the Mississippi!
Part of me still balks at the connotation of how being an expert might come across as having “arrived” or “knowing it all,” when I obviously have not and do not. And while I desire to be a lifelong learner in so many areas, on this last day of the Fall semester it gives me a bit of satisfaction that I can be proud of what I have learned, and how it is my goal and ongoing responsibility to share this knowledge with others.
In what area(s) would you consider yourself an expert? Or in what arena would you like to strive towards being known as an expert?