The excitement of new information

Library books

Photo copyright timetrax23 via Flickr

I started a Masters’ degree last week. As of now, I am a student again, studying part-time for an M.Sc. in Strategy, Change Management and Leadership at Bristol University, while still working on Cecilia Unlimited. It’s a pretty exciting course – I don’t think there’s another one quite like it in the country, and I’m really looking forward to the two and a half years.

The first three days involved quite a lot of practical tasks – registering on the course, getting my student card, getting to know my fellow students, lunch with the faculty (there is such a thing as a free lunch in the academic world, it seems).  In amongst all these practicalities we were introduced to the library systems and how to use them.

Now I don’t want to behave like an old crone and start muttering about ‘In my day, all we had was an abacus and a piece of charcoal, you know’. But I had totally underestimated how excited I would be by the sheer volume of information that was available, not only in the library but from home. Sitting in bed in my pajamas (if I choose), I can log into the University systems and access million of academic papers, journals, e-books, databases, and other resources with hardly any effort whatsoever.

Maybe you have to have spent some time in the world of work, where information costs serious amounts of money, to find this exciting. I certainly don’t remember being this excited about the library in my undergraduate days.  Or maybe it’s just that the idea of not having to leave the house to research my assignments, now it’s getting darker and colder, is pretty appealing. But actually, I think it’s that huge chunks of the world’s wisdom are right there, for me use however I choose. I don’t even have to stick to the topics on my course. I can read about leadership and management, but also about brand marketing and storytelling, the history of beekeeping in the UK, how to design a swimming pool, or the reign of Edward II. It’s all there. My only problem is going to be making enough time to read.

So if you need to talk to me in the next couple of years, I’ll probably be (virtually) in the library.