Gleaning (into it and up, up)

gleaning – v. “1. To gather (grain) left behind by reapers. 2. To collect bit by bit”

“Gleaning grows out of a willingness to become an active and interested sponge…” (Booth, 2011, p. 26)


The eye sees light. The eye considers gleaming and radiance. Knowing the definition does not change the way an eye catches a word to make it of the body of knowing. To glean is to learn fractally from others, to integrate new knowledge into our “frames of reference”, to make meaning from it. (Mezirow et. al, 2000, Core Principles of Transformative Learning Theory).

As people influencing one another in unseen and immeasurable ways, we have the capacity to glean so much from others if we are open to it. To absorb this as light, whether we learn from people or places or learning objects. This is my understanding of gleaning.

To learn from my environment is my daily goal. My preferred method of documentation is jotting notes in my notebook to aid memory of any fleeting observations or thoughts or situations I’d like to retain, remember, reuse. I like to make word clouds when hearing poets read their work, and later use those word clouds to make poems. I like to visit museums and galleries and notate techniques, mediums, styles, or ideas I find interesting so I can later research them and possibly use them to inform my photography.


My tech tools include the following:

Facebook  – use daily as a content aggregator for info about libraries, politics, local events, and to stay in touch with friends

Twitter – former use included finding information about political demonstrations and actions; currently use sporadically for info about libraries, conferences, and tech trends.

Gmail – use daily for document storage and accessibility as well as communication

Google Docs – personal and professional collaborative use

Dropbox – use daily for document storage and accessibility

Delicious – I used to love bookmarking sites with the nifty “save to delicious” browser button, but have fallen out of favor with it due to new interface. Also, was irked by the scare of them going away, and migrated to Diigo but don’t use that either. Would like to try Instapaper but feeling a bit taxed and spread thin among so many platforms and tools. When I have time to properly research how to migrate from Delicious to Instapaper, I will give it a try.

Google Reader – I have aggregated tons of bundled content in my Google Reader but cannot train myself to visit that page. I usually opt to scroll through live feeds on my blog’s sidebar to scan important news items.


I’ve downloaded both Evernote and Zotero out of curiosity, and will make time this semester to try out these two discovery tools.

The possibilities for gleaning abound 🙂



Booth, C. (2011). Reflective teaching, effective learning: Instructional Literacy for Library Educators. American Library Association Editions: Chicago.

the free dictionary. 2012. Accessed September 12, 2012 from

Mezirow, Jack & Associates, 2000, Learning as Transformation, Jossey Bass, San Francisco.

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Melissa Eleftherion is a writer, a librarian, and a visual artist. She is the author of field guide to autobiography (The Operating System, 2018), & nine chapbooks, including the forthcoming trauma suture (above/ground press, 2020). Born & raised in Brooklyn, Melissa now lives in Mendocino County where she manages the Ukiah Library, teaches creative writing, & curates the LOBA Reading Series. Recent work is available at

2 thoughts on “Gleaning (into it and up, up)”

  1. I love your idea of making wordclouds out of poetry, Melissa! Is this something you’ve been able to integrate into your poetry workshops with teens? I’m imagining a room full of teens feeding poetry into Wordle (or another wordcloud application), and then doing a poetry mashup . . .


    1. Thanks, Pam! I have not had the fortune yet to incorporate word clouds into any teen workshops, but I love the idea!
      Though, I did incorporate Wordle into a teaching session geared towards teens last semester in Info Literacy with Michelle Simmons which was exciting.
      I love Wordle. Thanks for the great suggestion 🙂


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