Reflective Practice

The Hyperlinked Library experience has been an extraordinary one. The lectures and resources shared throughout this class have helped me get ever closer to finding my own voice, vision, and direction to becoming a librarian — a path and journey that I’ve not always found to be smooth. I’ve had times when I’ve felt I’m exactly where I should be, and then there are times I totally feel lost. Making room for reflective practice over the years has indeed given me motivation and hope for the future with a sense that the professional path I’m on is in fact the right one for me. The creative ideas and possibilities we’ve explored will certainly help and guide me as I continue along the path to librarianship.


In his Office Hours article Reflective Practice, Professor Stephens states how many find their way to this profession because “you’re looking to help people be the best they possibly can be”. I found this statement to hit the target perfectly for me. Over the years (12 to be exact) I’ve had the chance to work in public libraries making human connections and helping people to gain knowledge and accomplish their goals. Through my experiences I’ve often had a sense of contribution and purpose. That’s why I finally decided to pursue my MLIS (better late than never I suppose). I wish as a young undergraduate I had had the foresight to pursue this degree, but I just didn’t know at the time. I have found that the work I have done in public libraries just makes me happy. I love being part of a team that can offer opportunities for the community of library users so they can explore and experiment with their discoveries and creativity. Libraries are places where this is possible. Where everyone can feel free to explore, to learn and grow, and where no one is ever expected to be perfect. As Professor Stephens stated in his Office Hours article Talk About Compassion:

We are the heart of our communities and that only works because the people who run libraries give themselves…The best librarians make that emotional investment because they believe in the institution and the communities they serve.

It’s also incredibly vital to have good leaders who support the culture of the library so that everyone can work together and be respected. When each person is given the opportunity to build upon and contribute their full potential, this not only benefits the individual but also the library, community, and society itself. Administrators that do not understand this are doing nothing for the greater good. Libraries are welcoming places that nurture curiosity and creativity, and having an organizational culture where staff can fully strive to dream, explore, and invent their futures truly benefits all! I hope that all of us who are working hard to achieve this degree will be able to work in such libraries and environments. I wish the very best for all of us! Thanks to everyone this semester. It’s been a pleasure going down the librarianship path with you.

Director’s Brief: AnySpace Arts & Crafts Creation Lab

Programming in public libraries focus a great deal on providing creative opportunities for children and teens, but adult populations do not always receive the same consideration. In recent years the popularity of such activities as adult coloring books has made it more accepted that adults should additionally be offered the tools and opportunities for exploring their creative endeavors. Yet the possibilities of adult creative programming can extend beyond just coloring activities. No matter at what age, everyone deserves the chance to explore, discover, and express their creative possibilities. The proposed arts and crafts creation lab of AnySpace will do just that.


Library as a Creative Classroom

It’s possible for libraries everywhere to be creative classrooms for not just the patrons but for library staff as well. But the administration must support this initiative. In his article Beyond the Walled Garden: LIS Students in an Era of Participatory Culture, Professor Stephens discusses his concept which represents a barrier to participation and experiences. As he states, learning leads to sharing which leads to teaching which leads to more learning” (pp 5). Thus, by moving beyond a closed environment (aka: a walled garden) this will allow people a broader experience and understanding of community participation that just cannot be imparted within a closed environment. For example, receiving encouragement to engage and evolve with various forms of technology can thus encourage artistic expression helping information professionals and library staff to “learn from everyone and everything”. Such artistic expression can create new possibilities and opportunities for creative ideas of all kinds to be fashioned. Encouraging and supporting creativity from ourselves and each other will help libraries remain relevant to the community.

Professor Stephens further discusses in his Office Hours article Learning to Learn how it’s possible for administrators to create a “healthy library” by making it a priority initiative to promote a culture of learning all year long, providing encouragement and support so that all library staff may continually expand upon their knowledge and opportunities. His suggestions of mandating weekly times to explore something new related to jobs such as social tools, web services or to read articles and books is spot on! And I agree with his advice that it’s necessary for staff to keep track of their activities and progress. Doing this through an exploration blog is a great suggestion! I love this idea as it would not only help staff to feel professionally engaged but could also help connect them with their fellow library professionals, creating a more connected and engaged culture within the library staff itself. Wonderful!

The longer I work in libraries the more I see just how library staff, no matter the position they may hold, are themselves lifelong learners. We need to make sure that creativity of thought is encouraged so that our staff members can continue to thrive. By making sure that all library staff from page to Director have the opportunity to explore and learn, we’ll be doing good for libraries, our communities, and ourselves. We need our patrons and the community to dream big, but how can we do that if we ourselves are not doing the same? Supporting a culture of always learning, library staff will be open to knowledge and changing trends, helping the library become a welcoming community space for all to discover, create, and thrive. Becoming truly a learning organization that will be around for generations to come.



Learning To Learn | Office Hours. (n.d.). Retrieved April 19, 2017, from

Stephens, M. (2011). Beyond the walled garden: LIS students in an era of participatory culture. SLIS Student Research Journal, 1(2).

New Models, New Horizons: Encouraging Creativity in the Library

The 2017 library edition Horizon Report states that library patrons are becoming creators as they are “learning by making and creating rather than by simply consuming content” (pp 14). Creativity is increasingly the means for active, hands-on learning. With the growing maker culture developing in more and more libraries around the world, people are now looking to libraries to assist and provide them the tools for skill-building and making, with libraries being the ideal environments to serve as such creation hubs. The report states that this function is a natural extension of libraries traditional role as facilitators of knowledge creation and as spaces where people can connect.

Most of us, at one time or another, have come across someone with the idea that only children can explore and have fun, and that when you’re over 18 you’re supposed to be more serious.  Fun is often an accepted idea for the very young or for those who are of retirement age, but adults aren’t supposed to have fun. What about those ages between youth and being elderly? When you’re building and living your life? The idea that we’re too old to do fun things is so sad! Have you heard anyone say, “when you’re retired THEN you can take a painting class”… No! Don’t wait to try your creative endeavors! Do them now. Artistic people get this kind of pressure and reaction all the time. It’s normal for everyone to be creative. So I thought it was extraordinary when I read about the idea of encouraging creatively of library staff. The more creative library staff can be the better for library users, the community, thus, for society itself.

Everyone has the inclination to be creative. I agree with the Anythink library model and the ideal that by supporting creativity of staff and community libraries will be ensuring that they’re places filled with ideas and curiosity which will help foster creative individuals and communities. Coming to work every day with a positive attitude towards being able to express ones creative ideas and interests sounds like a dream job to me! If only more businesses would give their staff such tools to explore their own creative ideas and to be able to encourage that of their community of users as well. By creating and offering such learning spaces we’ll have the power to influence lives and open doors for curious minds of all ages while helping to create a welcoming place for the entire community.

In his lecture, Professor Stephens showed us a sign the Anythink library had posted in their library, quoting Maya Angelou: “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use the more you have”. I love how encouraging that statement is and the fact that the library is using it as an encouraging communication tool for their community of library users.


In Pam Sandlian Smith’s Tedx presentation What to expect from libraries in the 21st century she states, “you can learn anything if you make it playful”. She continues by stating that libraries can be places that support creativity, community, innovation, and entrepreneurship, treating everyone with the same respect and dignity, and stressing how libraries can be on the patron’s side by providing the spaces patrons need “to create, to think and fulfill some dreams”. I just loved this! Libraries really are points of inspiration and happiness where people can dream to become anything they want.

In our module 8, Professor Stephens describes hyggethe concept of making people feel comfortable, having a feeling of being cozy and of being with people and a community.

By providing creative programming a library can develop, unleash, and encourage creative actions and thought from their staff, patrons, and the community itself, helping individuals to develop, grow, and improve while making it normal and accepted for people to be creative. Fun should be something that people always have the opportunity to do and to strive for. With the idea of hygge we have the power to change the role of the public library in society, which literally can change the way libraries are thought of. It’s a very positive perspective that can take libraries into the future, hopefully taking us far from the stereotype of the hushed librarian’s of the past. Libraries should be places and spaces where the community can feel welcome to explore, discover, and create. An environment that should allow for people, no matter age or educational level, to feel that sense of hygge, while offering the opportunity for people of a community to explore and know the world, and to live their most abundant lives.

I love that there are some libraries who are designing their facilities with this idea in mind. Anythink is certainly an extraordinary example of the hygge ideal as they promote comfort, community, and the feeling of being a part of something. By promoting access to information and encouraging people to play, they are additionally encouraging creativity as well. I certainly agree that people learn through playing!


In his article Open Libraries: Self-service libraries – The Danish way, Jan Holmquist stated that the ultimate goal is to have more people using the library. With libraries becoming more of a community space, libraries can thus certainly expand on what patrons can do at the library.

I also loved the nudging theory Jan mentioned in his article. Having witness this in my own library I’m so glad to have a name for it finally! Often, there are times when I’m assisting patrons and from a distance and I’ll see another patron who is clearly having issues with something such as how to release their print jobs at the printer or adding money to their library card at our Pay-for-Print station. It’s common for patrons to have difficulty with such processes so library staff always try to keep an eye out to help those in need, but sometimes before library staff can get to a patron to assist, another patron will  step in, offering help to the confused. I’m always so grateful and happy when I see patrons helping each other along the way to information, and will make an effort to thank the “nudging” patron for their compassion. It’s so endearing to see such acts of good deeds being offered, for they truly are good deeds! Some library patrons have real anxiety regarding accessing library equipment and technology so it’s nice to see the community of library users working together. It really does make the library feel like a place for the community, and being treated with such respect and dignity by all is always a good thing and something that most patrons never forget.



Holmquist, J. (2016, April 06). Open libraries: Self service libraries – The Danish way. Retrieved April 07, 2017, from

Stephens, M. (2016). The Hygge State of Mind.

T. (2013, December 16). What to expect from libraries in the 21st century: Pam Sandlian Smith at TEDxMileHigh. Retrieved April 07, 2017, from

Emerging Technology Planning: Using Instagram to Promote the Library


Libraries need to adapt to changes and technology for the purpose of communication, and the amazing tools of social media make this possible. Instagram is a free image-based social media curation tool that gives the user the power to collect, organize, share, and interpret content, while telling a digital story to their audience. By utilizing this curation tool it’s possible to connect, engage, and expand library communities while also highlighting and promoting areas of the library collection, events, programming, and its people.

Instagram was created in 2010 and was acquired by Facebook in 2012. Captured through an app on a smartphone or tablet, it’s used to post photos and 15-second videos which allow users to bring the visual language of digital storytelling to life with their narratives. Users can also post short captions with their photos (up to 2,000 characters) which can help in further engaging with the library community while showcasing the libraries brand. Additionally, Instagram posts integrate seamlessly with other social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr, with its functionality being similar to these other networks in that the user can “Like” and comment on others’ photos, using hashtags to discover and connect with like-minded users. Hashtagging photos also makes it easier for people who are online searching for specific terms to find posted photos, so if the right hashtags are used within photos, it’s possible to reach new users and to be discovered by even more users in the process. As stated on the website Tentacle Inbound, “This participation differs from other social media platforms, where it’s more about pushing OUT to your audience, rather than pulling them IN to your business and your brand”.

Other popular features of Instagram include editing features that allow users to apply digital filters to so they can edit and change the look of their images. Visual content dominates our screens today. Photos allow people to express themselves in any language. The world is fluent in photos and videos, with the platform of Instagram allowing digitally connected individuals to connect and come together, serving as a place where teens and adults can go to discover what’s new, what’s next, and what their friends are doing while providing an instant connection to a community.



By implementing and maintaining an Instagram account and continually posting new, interesting and engaging photos the library will engage with and grow followers in its community of library users.

Through Instagram photos and videos the library can showcase their spaces, displays, architecture, collections, events, staff, and users, telling a collective story of the vital role that the library plays in the community. As stated by Public Libraries Online, an Instagram account can be “a powerful marketing tool that has the potential to inspire visitors to view the library as a destination”.


People go to social media to get instant content at their fingertips. Social media is fun and popular. Around the world there are more than 500 million Instagrammers with more than 300 million daily users with people openly capturing and sharing their world in visually creative ways with one another. Instagram can thus benefit the library and the community in remarkable ways by helping it to stay current and relevant, and by allowing for people everywhere to connect and engage with each other.

Three quarter of teens (13 to 17 year olds) are online almost consistently due to having access to the Internet via smartphones. With social media naturally engaging students, an Instagram account can help them to explore and be part of the online library community as well.

The Pew Research Center Social Media Update 2016 states that 32 % of Internet users (28% of all U.S. adults) are using and engaging with Instagram, to a greater extent than the other social platforms of Facebook and Twitter, and that Instagram use is especially high among younger adults. Roughly six-in-ten online adults ages 18-29 (59%) use Instagram, nearly double the share among 30- to 49-year-olds (33%) and more than seven times the share among those 65 and older (8%), with female internet users more likely to use Instagram than men (38% vs. 26%). Roughly half (51%) of Instagram users said they access the platform on a daily basis, with 35% saying they do so several times a day.

Instagram thus plays a significant role in the lives of Millennials and Gen-Z. As they learn about the world, discover their passions, connect with friends, and find more communities to tap into, they consistently rely on visual language and storytelling.

The ways we communicate have changed so much. Humanity has had a variety of communication tools over the centuries from books, journals, and articles, to the Internet and email, electric devices and texting. In the 21st century our communication tools have underwent further sweeping changes with online ejournals, ebooks and the media-sharing platforms of websites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. With such a variety of communication technologies, libraries need to establish and foster a professional online presence using media-sharing platforms to expand their online visibility, connecting with people of similar interest and making an impact in and beyond the community of library users connecting with an external audience. By becoming more skilled at communication and using new technologies, the beneficial impact on the libraries ability to acquire funding and community support could additionally greatly be affected in positive ways.


CONVINCE the Library Director and Library Board THAT BY engaging with and supporting an Instagram initiative THEY WILL expand the libraries community and visibility WHICH WILL benefit the library, its mission, staff, and community of users BECAUSE it will encourage priceless engagement and participation.


The following are informative online articles and resources:


The primary mission of implementing this social media technology is to be able to expand the libraries reach by communicating and engaging with the community of library users, and possibly extending it to more users.

The Social Media Librarian who would be the point person of this initiative would connect with library staff to inquire who would be interested in participating and maintaining an Instagram initiative. They would then develop a social media committee with interested staff and appropriate IT support staff. The committee could additionally research the experiences of other public libraries to help design the scope of the libraries Instagram initiative. Keeping up with Instagram trends is essential to better reach, and ultimately grow an audience. Great Instagram content is great for a reason–it’s fun and hip and people enjoy viewing it. And if you’re lucky, users will share it with others which will further help build the libraries brand on Instagram.

The library can then start simple by telling its story, sharing photos from its archive, behind-the-scenes photos of the cataloging room or book drop, programs and events, covers of books and displays. By beginning with posting at least once a day, the library will build an audience, gaining a valuable online presence. Also, by following other libraries and library lovers we can further our online Instagram community. By using this new technology and engaging with library users, this effort will keep the library relevant and up-to-date with emerging technologies and trends.


With Instagram being a free platform, all we really need is the Social Media Librarian and any interested staff member to share their creativity and a few minutes a day to make meaningful, fun, and lasting connections with the community. But, to be truly effective using social media connections, graphics, caption copy-writing, conversation, and photography skills should strive to be, positive, professional, and on point.  Staff participants will need to teach themselves such skills. Perhaps even providing training sessions for those interested in participating and contributing to the curated posts. Using social media for library, literacy, book, and program promotion is all about storytelling, and we would want the libraries feed to be influential, personal, relevant, humorous, and educational.


Once the Library Director and Library Board has approved the initiative, the Social Media Committee will be created which will include the Social Media Librarian, the Digital Services Librarian, and at least one member of the IT staff. If other staff members show interest and commitment in participating they can be included as well.

  • Begin a 2-3 month organizational and preparation time period prior to launching the Instagram account
  • Research relevant and popular hashtags to be used in our own campaigns from free online programs like IconoSquare or Websta. It’s been established that some popular hashtags for libraries are: #libraryshelfie #bookstagram #librarylife #librariesofinstagram #libraries #librariestransform #bookface #bookfacefriday #libraryinmyhand #librarianwardrobe #librarianstyle
  • Establish types of posts the library will use to engage the community of users
  • Look at what other libraries were following
  • Create video book promotions staged as mini-commercials, trailers, or as book talks
  • During this preparation time ask staff to participate in a contest to determine the libraries Instagram name
  • Begin to market the account by preparing an announcement that will to go out in the libraries email newsletters, on all of the program flyers, and on the website


Get staff involved! Let everyone take turns taking a week to promote the library and providing Instagram content. This will expand the richness of what the library offers by sharing what the people of the library do, information about the collection and programs, who the community partners are, and what services the library offers to the community.


Through information sessions, staff who have interest in taking on the responsibility will dive into the Instagram community getting involved, commenting, following, and liking other library’s photos, and even other Instagramers and people in the community as well. With a willingness and passion to post the library will create a fun and encouraging online environment that will translate into the account, and hopefully people will see this and follow us.


The library will announce the account in our email newsletters, on our program flyers, and on our website homepage. We’ll also make social media bookmarks to put in our patron’s holds, and place them in strategic locations around the library so our library patrons will see them and hopefully pick them up and read them. We’ll also pass them out at author events and programming, and of course use all of our other social media accounts to announce that we are starting an Instagram account as well. We’ll place the social media icon on our email signatures too. There is also word of mouth. We’ll ask staff to spread the word and tell their friends, family, and coworkers. We’ll engage our community of patrons and tell them that we’ll have this account and we’re using it to share events and special moments that happen within our library. We’ll also have the social media committee reach out into the local community to post pictures outside of the library.

We can also begin to follow other library Instagram accounts by liking a lot of pictures and commenting on them. Libraries are changing today and we need to develop and except new ways of reaching out to our community, and just being on a platform like Instagram is a testament to that. So collaborating and reaching out to fellow libraries in our system or just in general, and being open to working on projects together is a good thing to do.


Once the account is up and running, staff will make a point to log what trends and posts are the most popular, and which ones have the most interest. By managing the account we’ll make sure that there are consistent posts that the public find engaging.


Instagram is a very important social media platform that libraries can easily utilize and populate showcasing what’s going on in the library with fun photos which can result in ways to engage and expand our community of users. It also has the power to build awareness by fostering a community of library lovers, and reaching out and engaging a younger generation of readers. Millennials and teens are the future of the library so we must engage with them where they are. By taking the time to build a community where they hang out the library will be ensuring that the library’s community never stops growing, remaining relevant to its community of users.



And, A. K. (2016, January 01). Amanda Kraft. Retrieved March 17, 2017, from

Becker, T. (2016, March 09). How and Why 13-24 Year-Olds Use Instagram. Retrieved March 18, 2017, from

Greenwood, S., Perrin, A., & Duggan, M. (2016, November 11). Social Media Update 2016. Retrieved March 18, 2017, from

Holzer, M. (2016, April 28). 20 Ways to Make People Fall in Love With Your Instagram: A Guide for Libraries and Other Cultural Institutions. Retrieved March 17, 2017, from

Horizon Report (2016):

How To Build A Massive Following On Instagram – Shopify. (n.d.). Retrieved March 18, 2017, from

Libraries of Instagram. (n.d.). Retrieved March 17, 2017, from

Measuring Progress. (n.d.). Retrieved March 18, 2017, from

Seiter, C. (2016, July 25). How to Gain a Massive Following on Instagram. Retrieved March 17, 2017, from

10 Tips for Small Business Instagram Success. (2016, October 04). Retrieved March 17, 2017, from

The Future of Libraries

Libraries are the doors to information, knowledge, and imagination. A community open space for all. Therefore, the space of the library is for the community and should be developed with their needs in mind.

At the start of my LIS graduate work I was introduced to the idea of libraries being a third place for the community. This space being not home, not work or school, but in fact a third place where people can feel welcome, inspired, and comfortable to engage with the community of users. I loved this discovery! How many times I’ve discussed this idea with my fellow library co-workers I can’t really say. It’s a lot. Let’s just say it made me happy to think of libraries this way. I love being part of offering an open space of information where people of all ages and educational levels can have learning and engaging experiences.

And now through our readings we’re expanding upon this knowledge, moving beyond the idea of a third space to what comes next. This being a community space that truly is an open space for all! A space not limited to what we may think a library is, but instead a new community space that becomes a living place and hub of knowledge for the community where minds can truly gather and meet. A space where people can not only have access to literature and information but also a space that enhances the community space where people feel they are welcomed to learn, to explore and discover, to engage and interact, and most of all a space that allows for growth of the community. This flexible library space itself should be continually growing with the living community, offering a space for all to learn and grow, and to share ideas to make things better.

In his article Dream. Explore. Experiment. Professor Stephens highlights Marie Østergård’s groundbreaking ALA conference presentation on the Dokk1, Aarhus Public Libraries, with her stating that “We designed our libraries for people, not books” as innovative places for the changing community. Professor Stephens additionally states that libraries should be filled with life, sound, art, and inspiration, and woven with experience, involvement, and empowerment.

Libraries are the centers where knowledge gathers. Created to house information we want others to have access to, they should then be considered a place where the community gathers as well. A knowledge hub. With the Four Space model developed by Danish Royal School of Library and Information Science professors, this illustrates the evolving library as an inspiration space, a learning space, meeting space, and performative space, all of which overlap and intersect allowing for the community to “Excite. Explore. Create. ­Participate.”


But to do this the needs and ideas of the community need to be met through open dialog, encouraging the exchange of ideas. By engaging with the community and incorporating their needs and ideas, this will keep the library relevant, vibrant, and growing into the future along with the community. As Marie Ostergaard, head of community engagement at Dokk1 describes, the Danish cultural center is the “living room of the city”, alive with a pulse, feeling and knowledge. She also states that “different cities will have different needs so libraries need to be different all over the world”. To create a space not just for books but a place that focuses on knowledge and human needs we should be continually engaging and connecting with the community. This will help libraries to understand the needs and ideas of what the community wants for the future, creating a place that encompasses the whole needs, ideas and energy of the community.



Dream. Explore. Experiment. | Office Hours. (n.d.). Retrieved March 8, 2017, from

L. (2015, April 27). PL2020 Tour – Denmark – A knowledge hub for the community. Retrieved March 8, 2017, from

Moving Beyond the “Third Place”. (n.d.). Retrieved March 10, 2017, from

Connecting in our Participatory Culture

Nearly every article in this module inspired me with many giving me aha moments as I read, but it was the idea of connecting in our participatory culture and how that can influence the future of libraries that I decided to write about.

In his article The Age of Participation, Professor Stephens states how in this era of hyper-connected social participation, “building connection and seeking ways to engage the public and promote curiosity challenge us all”, with libraries becoming centers for discovery, learning, and also creation. Thus, in our participatory culture the library can and should promote transparency, access and enrichment by listening to and connecting with the community of library users. In fact, libraries all over the world are realizing the discovery that in order to develop the public space of the library for our future, there is a need for transparency and openness with our community connections. More and more libraries are adopting the approach of collecting public input through workshops and meetings before the design phase of new library spaces even begin, enabling the library user’s ideas and experiences to contribute and affect design decisions by collaborating with the designers and architects. In the article User-Designed Libraries: Design4Impact the author Ian Chant discusses how teen librarian Erik Berman noted, “We as librarians know what we want and what we can offer. But when we go into the community to find out what they want, we end up with a much better space.” Thus, by making the effort to connect with the community through focus groups and social media avenues and to not just ask what patrons want but to get them involved with the creation of the library as a community space, we therefore succeed at strengthening the libraries place in the community.

This also helps to create a trusted and treasured place and space that feels and functions the way the user needs and wants. It gives the community and users ownership of that third space; a space where users are welcomed and safe, and have trust. They live in it and it helps them to enrich, learn and empower themselves. That may sound like a tagline I know, but it’s true! We want our communities to see the library as a space that belongs to them; a space where they’re welcomed, and a place where they can aspire to do great things. One of the reasons the library exists is in fact for the user, so it makes perfect sense that they should be involved in every aspect of its creation, for making the library better. And in order to accomplish this, libraries need to engage with the community and their users, and to encourage participation and collaboration. By making such efforts to understand what role a library space needs to play and what resources it needs to offer its users will certainly help the library to bridge the digital and communication divides of today, to strengthen the future of the library tomorrow.

As stated by Professor Stephens in his article Collection Bashing & Trashing, taking efforts to “building services and planning for the future with participation and feedback from all stakeholders” will give all those involved, including the community, a sense of ownership to the library as a space, creating a priceless sense of support by all who have advocated for the library, and conserving its place as a community space. With such tremendous efforts we will be safeguarding the future of the library. Furthermore, by creating, connecting, and providing more meaningful services, public libraries will continue to be an important institution as part of a well-functioning society.

The library is a free place that offers amazing services to its community and users. Services which help to educate users in ways that can better lives by providing programming that includes indispensable topics such as job hunting resources, financial and resume workshops, computer skill classes, and even new educational movements such as MakerSpace’s, STEM and STEAM programming, all of which have the power to expand what the library offers to the community. It all helps to educate people of any age group and education level. Such services are priceless especially to those who can’t afford to pay for such services.

Therefore, in order to design the future of the library the community of library users should be fully involved in the libraries planning and development, playing the role as innovator of the libraries future. Because of our technology, access to the Web and social media, like no other time in history we’re truly connected with the world and with each other. Our library users are so well informed and thus should be involved and given the opportunity to participate in the development of our libraries. By engaging and connecting with our participatory culture, such efforts and actions will surely benefit us all for generations to come.


Chant, I. (n.d.). User-Designed Libraries | Design4Impact. Retrieved February 27, 2017, from

Stephens, M. (n.d.). The Age of Participation | Office Hours. Retrieved February 25, 2017, from

Stephens, M. (n.d.). Collection Bashing & Trashing | Office Hours. Retrieved February 25, 2017, from

Leading with Kindness

Context Book Assignment: Leading with Kindness: How Good People Consistently Get Superior Results by William Baker and Michael O’Malley

Stressing that the development of kindness as a leadership trait is often overlooked if not scorned outright, the authors explore that the best leaders in fact lead with kindness, stating that being kind is truly one of the most crucial attributes of some of the world’s most successful business leaders. The book point’s out that true kindness can demonstrate a powerful confidence in oneself which can then expand to those you lead. Thus, the elements and ingredients of kindness necessary are a combination of quantifiable, learnable, and refinable traits and skills which are not just optional character traits that are simply nice to have, but instead “are required if you want to be an effective leader”. These traits being: compassion, integrity, gratitude, authenticity, humility, and humor.

I found the authors description of compassion very compelling, stating that it’s necessary for organizational effectiveness because it provides employees with that extra amount of strength they need to perform, whether it’s overcoming their personal problems or job specific challenges. The leader must have empathy and to understand what another person is feeling, and to care enough to do something about it. It is the leaders who must believe in a meaning in life and wish that for others. By keeping employees engaged and performing, leaders come to realize that productive employees are in fact happy employees.

I liked that the author’s further postulate that leadership is in fact an art, making the connection between leadership and art being grounded in basic human truths and filled with humanity. The author’s state that both leadership and art have the same goal of asking us to look at the world in a different way, and to engage and live in the world which will then “challenge us to think more deeply and fully about the human experience, what we want for ourselves, and what we hope to be” (pp. 136).

Another trait necessary for of kindness that truly stood out for me was gratitude. Personally, I had a boss who never thanked his staff members. I recall a conversation we had when I shared my experience as a supervisor, stating that I would often thank those I worked with. He responded saying he would never do that. I didn’t probe further, but I thought this was so sad because I’ve always felt it’s a supervisor’s responsibility to develop a good relationship with staff and co-workers, and that this can certainly be accomplished by showing gratitude. By not showing appreciation and gratitude, people never know if they’re doing a good job. Part of being a leader is caring about those you lead, and if that can’t be expressed, then perhaps that person shouldn’t be leading. By never giving praise people are left wondering and possibly never knowing if they’re doing a job well. Therefore, positive feedback is good for so many reasons! It supports the mission of the business itself by making sure those doing the work are being taken care, having a sense of making a difference. Without feeling worthy and appreciated who would want to do the work? People want to be inspired to put real pleasure into their job, but to do this they must get something out of it as well. As the book reminds us, leadership is “achieving success by making other people successful.” (pp. 55).

I truly wish that everyone could experience kind leadership in the workforce. Imagine working for someone who works collaboratively with others, who believes in you and wishes the best for you, encouraging you to express an idea or to challenge a convention. Imagine working for someone you trust. We should all be so lucky.

I recently read an article published in the curious mind magazine titled Harvard Psychologists Reveal: Parents Who Raise ‘Good’ Kids Do These 5 Things in which the findings state the importance of teaching children that “caring about others is a top priority and that it is just as important as their own happiness.” I know were talking about kids here, but shouldn’t this ring true for adults as well? Sharing is caring after all. And that’s what we do at the library. We share information, we share knowledge, and why? Because we care.

It’s often said that working in public libraries, one must also be empathetic towards library users, their daily lives and what they’re trying to accomplish. From Steve Denning’s article Do We Need Libraries?, the author discusses forward looking libraries and how in this Creative Economy of self-organizing teams, they can deliver value directly to customers by getting constant feedback from them. The customer then becomes the center of the organizations universe rather than being on the periphery, with management’s central goal changing insuring that customers are delighted and have an added value. The manager’s role can then change from controller to coach by providing encouragement and supporting the values of enablement, self-organization and continuous improvement.

Library users can be those who don’t have 15 cents to pay for a print job or two dollars to pay a book fine, or someone whose printer just broke down and they need to print a copy of their resume for a job interview. I’ve helped many patrons who are all dressed up and on their way to an interview and are desperate to print a copy of their resume, not realizing that it costs 15 cents per page to print. I’ve had patrons panic when I tell them this, and if the library worker isn’t empathetic towards their situation, our actions can actually cause damage. We could cause the patron to miss an important chance to perhaps change their life for the better. They need the services the library offers, so staff must additionally offer kindness and empathy towards their plight. Professor Stephens stated in his lecture The Hyperlinked Library: Exploring the Model that empathy is just one of the senses that will increasingly “guide our lives and shape our world” because the library is participatory. It allows us to have a social connection that helps people make sense of the world by also promoting lifelong learning. Policies are of course important to establish and follow, but you can still always find ways to help and serve the patron the best you can. This is just one reason why being able to communicate kindness is so important. We certainly need to build cultures in which participation and inclusiveness are emphasized.

The book concludes with an interesting quote by Albert Schweitzer referring to preparing the next generation of leaders in which he said, “Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it is the only thing.” By developing the skills of kindness in ourselves we will not only have the power to become effective leaders ourselves, but we will also pass on the necessary traits of compassion, integrity, gratitude, authenticity, humility, and humor to a new generation of effective and kind leaders.


Baker, W. F., & O’Malley, M. (2008). Leading with kindness: how good people consistently get superior results. New York: American Management Association.

Denning, S. (2015, May 01). Do We Need Libraries? Retrieved February 6, 2017, from

Segal, S. (2017, February 12). Harvard Psychologists Reveal: Parents Who Raise ‘Good’ Kids Do These 5 Things. Retrieved February 19, 2017, from

Insights gleaned from our Foundational Readings

The foundational readings showed us practical, progressive, and forward-looking ways and efforts to improve libraries and library services. Focusing on new insights and ideas on how change can occur in librarianship, I thought that Michael Buckland’s “Redesigning Library Services: A Manifesto” illustrates this perfectly. First of all, I was incredibly surprised by its published date of 1992, for it’s such an insightful document of its time. In his Foreword, Michael Gorman states that “Libraries exist to serve and to be used”, pointing out that there are too many in the librarianship profession who have lost the sight of this simple purpose of libraries; to serve as many people as they can. He then highlights that to redesign library services we must therefore adjust with the changing times to remain relevant to the user. The author continues that libraries, their collections, and technological improvements and advances should in fact be viewed as the mere starting point. The continuous library mission to provide communities access to knowledge and information, while also supporting the interests of the community, and always with the goal of “raising and maintaining the quality of intellectual and social life” should be of utmost importance.

Describing how library service could be re-designed with changes that can improve the handling of paper materials, computer-based processing, and electronic document storage and access, the “Manifesto” details the great opportunity that library services have to move into the future, changing and adjusting with the world, and stressing that we should always be thinking of the mission of the library, the role of the library, and the means of providing such services. I also liked the author’s statement that creative planning should be of importance, because it offers us the “chance to create the future” instead of merely reacting to events, which as stated in the document, just isn’t good enough if our goal is to affect lasting and appropriate change.

In Steve Denning’s article, “Do We Need Libraries” the author highlights that “the computer age is about the change in management mindset enabled by computerization”, and that the balance of power has shifted from the seller to the buyer, with the customer being in charge. The customers have “choices and good information about those choices”, and unless the customers and users are happy, they can and will take their business elsewhere. The author states that emerging from this, we now have a new Creative Economy with different management principles where the customer becomes the center of the organization’s universe. No longer are the main values of businesses “efficiency, predictability and telling people what to do”, but instead with a Creative Economy the values change to “enablement, self-organization and continuous improvement to add value to the user”. This different management ideology is certainly forward-looking since it asks “how can we delight our users?” The author states that to answer this question will in fact “require all the capabilities and ingenuity of talented library staff”, with libraries needing to imagine the services and values that users want now and into the future. A future of libraries for which librarians must be the artists and creators of.



Denning, S. (2015, May 01). Do We Need Libraries? Retrieved February 5, 2017, from

Buckland, M. (1993). Redesigning library services: a manifesto. Chicago: American Library Association.