What struck me most about this weeks readings and viewings was the variety of hyperlinked communities out there in the world, both low and high tech. When I think of a hyperlinked community what first pops into my mind is something similar to the Hunt Library using social media platforms to spark more interest in the library and engage their students (Casden, Nutt, Lown, & Davidson, 2013). Yet, what the readings this week highlighted was how fluid and flexible the concept of a hyperlinked community can be. The mobile outreach service to expectant mother’s in Ghana using new ICT infrastructure is inspired (Baute, 2013). It’s amazing that something that seems so simple, such as sending a text message, can have such a widespread application and benefit to an entire community. The Northern Regional Library is making the most of the technology available to them and reaching out into the community to engage a population that might not otherwise come into the library at all. This, to me, is the purpose of libraries; reaching out into our communities and providing services that they want and need, not services that we think they do.
The Biblioburro is another example of a low-tech method to reach people in a way that meets their needs (Canavesio, 2009). The children in the small villages the Biblioburro visits weren’t able to do homework or research because of a lack of resources at home. But, more than that, the Biblioburro is bringing the world to them. Soriano, as both a teacher and librarian, is opening up the sometimes narrow world of the village so that the children can see and connect with the larger world around them. My major takeaway this week was a new view and understanding of a hyperlinked community. The main purpose of a hyperlinked community is to connect people and communities together in whatever method or mode that is available and that has meaning for that specific community.
A reading of the picture book created for the Biblioburro called Waiting for the Biblioburro:
I’ve wanted to read Quiet by Susan Cain for a long time now and this class gave me a perfect opportunity to finally sit down and read it. But, before we delve into the text, here’s a brief quiz from the novel to help you find out if you’re more introverted or extroverted? Just click the link below.
Did your results surprise you? I also took this quiz, which occurs at the beginning of Quiet, and wasn’t surprised to find out that I’m introverted. Growing up I was an extremely shy child, which Cain (2012) points out doesn’t mean introverted but being afraid of social exclusion. Yet, when I was growing up shy was the descriptor I heard most often. For most of my life, I’ve yearned to be more extroverted like my brother. My brother is one of those people who loves to be the center of attention and can make anyone laugh. He always had a large group of friends around wherever he went, while I was holed up in my room reading or writing about whatever my obsession was at the time. Yet, as I’ve gotten older I appreciate my introverted nature much more and how being introverted shapes my thoughts and ideas.
The Science of Quiet
Cain (2012) spends much of the beginning of Quiet talking about the differences between introverted and extroverted peoples’ brain chemistry. The biggest difference between the two temperaments is based in the amygdala, the brain’s emotional switchboard. The more reactive a person’s amygdala the more likely that person is to be introverted. The video below by ASAP Science presents a great and understandable overview of the science of Quiet.
The Extrovert Ideal
One of the things I heard most often growing up was that I needed to be more assertive and speak up. Yet, I had a very hard time talking to people I didn’t know. As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned when and how to push myself and be more “extroverted,” yet, it usually comes with some sweaty palms and a bit of general anxiety. Cain (2012) states that many introverted people can pretend to be extroverted for events and situations they consider important. This is known as Free Trait Theory, a theory espoused by Professor Brian Little.
Living in a world where the “Extrovert Ideal” reigns supreme, especially in the United States, many introverts have to enact their own style of Free Trait Theory to be taken seriously. Cain (2012) notes that it’s not always the people with the best ideas that are followed but the people who are the loudest.
The Power of Quiet and the Library
According to Cooper and Ladd (2015), a 1995 study of librarians showed that 63% of the librarians studied were introverts based on the Myers-Brigg Type Indicator. While that study was conducted years ago, many librarians would probably still identify as introverts, myself included. However, instead of trying to force the extrovert ideal on a profession that is introvert driven, why not harness the power of quiet.
According to Cain (2012), introverts can make great leaders, in some cases even better than extroverts. Introverts are often creative and innovative, in large part because they have, in what my grandma would say, stick-to-it-ive-ness. Why not harness this dedication for some creative programming and passionate staff? That’s not to say we don’t need extroverts, it’s just to say let the introverts take the lead as well for a more balanced picture.
Mathews (2012) notes that our jobs are shifting and we need to be on the lookout for innovation and to learn from failures. Introverts are a perfect fit to not only be innovators, but with their persistence and dedication, put the research in to learn from others’ failures.
But the power of quiet is not only limited to staff. What are libraries without the communities they serve? Casey (2007) calls for everyone who has a stake in the library to be involved in any changes. And that involvement is essential to providing a better balance in library spaces. For example, public libraries could take a page out of academic libraries’ repertoires and create quiet spaces for those seeking to study, while also maintaining spaces for community activity and socialization.
In programming, libraries can balance both active and quiet programs hosting slam poetry, as well as, yoga in the library. Going further than a balance of programming, use patron passions and expertise and host a human how to in your library. Give people a space to get to know each other and learn something new, for this is how innovation occurs.
For more Quiet, here is Susan Cain’s TED Talk, which provides a wonderful look at her work in a nutshell.
As Miley Cyrus (2017) says, “change is a thing you can count on.” Everything must change and evolve to fit and thrive in the current situation and environment. Denning (2015) states that to stay relevant institutions libraries must “change or die.”
Denning (2015) echoes the YouTube video by Booth, McDonald, and Tiffen (2010) and describes the traditional model of the library, with a bureaucratic breakdown of employees from top to bottom, and how that model just doesn’t work anymore. Whatever you want to call the new model, Denning’s (2015) “creative economy” or Booth, McDonald, and Tiffen’s (2010) collaboration and communication model, both promote flexibility in staffing and communication between all library employees. Both models seek out new and innovative means to serve communities through technology, communication, and collaboration.
Much of the reading for this module echoed the readings I did in INFO 232: Issues in Public Libraries which called for a re-branding of the library and radically changing verbiage to extol the library as an educational center and hub for the community.
In the library system I work for, we are currently trying to move out of the old library model and into a more updated one. The process has been fraught with complications as many librarians are a bit “old school” in their views on what a library should be and what a library should look like. I think back on a quote by a student I read about in INFO 261A saying that many kids didn’t like going into the library because it was the librarian’s home, which is exactly the opposite of what the hyperlinked library is trying to promote.
The library shouldn’t be a place of rigidity. It should be a place of exploration and creativity welcoming anyone and everyone. That won’t look the same for every community but that’s the beauty of it. Change is inevitable but it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Yes it’s scary but it’s also exciting. Why not hop on the roller coaster of change and see what happens?
My name is Brianna Anderson and I live in a small town in San Joaquin County not too far from Sacramento. I currently work for the Stockton-San Joaquin County Public Library system at the Lathrop Branch library, a small, rural branch.
In the future, I would love to continue working in public libraries. I’m not sure if I’d like to try my hat at a large library, or maybe even a medium sized one. One of the things I love most about working for a small branch is the ability to really get to know your patrons and their families. You know who likes what books and who’s got what on hold.
Before my new-found library career, I worked extensively in education in both special education and for tutoring companies. I worked at both public schools and non-profit, non-public schools as push-in help and as an instructor in a vocational classroom for older teens and adults with autism teaching them job and life skills. I ultimately decided that this wasn’t quite the path I wanted to go down and decided to pursue a degree in librarianship, my first real passion. I think that one of the wonderful facets of a library, besides being around books all day, is the amazing capacity for teaching and learning from a wide variety of subjects and from a wide variety of people. I get to do wonderful programs for kids and teens, where I learn as much, maybe more, than those I’m teaching.
I can’t wait to see what this course has to offer and am really looking forward to learning about a hyperlinked library and how social media is changing and enhancing the profession.