Monday, July 4, 2011

Enthusiasm and Attention

One thing I miss from my days of teaching workshops, and for the Wayne State LIS program is the enthusiasm of the student. I would witness genuine thrill and fascination with handling a 200 year old book, handling and learning about different kinds of leather, and learning even the most basic of book repair techniques. It sometimes felt like they had been sitting on the other side of a closed gate waiting eagerly to get in to this fascinating and mysterious new garden. And I was the grounds keeper who opened the gate, let them in, and showed them around.

I was reminded of that enthusiasm this morning as I discovered a new-to-me blog Binding Obsession created by a student a Simmons College. (She initially followed my twitter feed, and I then followed her feed and saw the link to her blog, which I added to my blog reader - isn't social media grand!) Her detailed descriptions and images of learning paper and book repair techniques are excellent and reveal a deep enthusiasm for the topic. Keep up the good work Jackie.

While I'm not teaching in a classroom/workshop setting, I am privileged to be working with an intern again this year, and once again I can witness the enthusiasm. Yet, it is not just her enthusiasm which affects me, but as she is learning book repair she must pay very conscious attention to details that I may not even think about any more. It is a wonderful experience to teach a technique and do a step that causes me to step back and consciously understand and explain why I do that step and what it achieves. Looking at book repair through they eyes of an enthusiastic novice helps me step out of my routines and pay greater attention to what I do, and sometimes a little enthusiasm rubs off on me as well.


  1. Thanks so much for the plug! I love writing about this stuff for my own sake, but it's great to have someone else reading along sometimes, too.

  2. Thank you for pointing this blog out Kevin. I completely agree that teaching is very inspiring and it is great to see when one of your students stays excited outside of class (Jackie is one of my current students).