Library as civic square – Hyperlinked Libraries

While doing the readings for this week I was reminded of an idea that came up in a previous class. The Library as the Civic Square came from reading the Aspen Institute hosted a leadership roundtable on library innovation which you can read here. The idea being that libraries can offer a space for people to gather and do activities other than read or study. If libraries want to stay relevant they need to adapt to the fast pace of change that has been brought about by the computer age and Denning (2015) agrees that libraries need to innovate and find new ways to delight patrons. While not going into specifics Denning lays out a 5 question framework for how to spur innovation in the library.

Visser (2011) described the Amsterdam library which seems to be very innovative. They have embraced current technology and looked at the needs of their community to create a space for sharing information from a variety of different types of media. Apparently, in Holland they are banning people from working on their laptops while at a cafe, so the library has introduced cafes to appeal to that crowd. Currently, my library system has three libraries with Cafes inside them and another being built now. It makes sense that if the library wants people to spend their time studying or working in them then they can extend the amount of time people are able to stay by providing cafes.

In my library system the traditional parts of library service are becoming more automated allowing staff more time to engage patrons. Weinberger (2001) described the hyperlinked organization like the web, and I looked at my library system to see how hyperlinked we have become. The interlibrary loan service that we use allows fairly quick and easy loaning of materials from a few dozen library systems, multiple online databases and an electronic catalog allows several library services to be available 24/7, and I often find myself communicating with employees from other branches to get their ideas for library programs. These services correspond to several characteristics of the web that Weinberger mentioned; being decentralized (patrons can get items brought to their branch or even access some services at home), allowing open and direct access (patrons can use the library website to access all library services without going through a staff member), and being borderless (being able to use Link+ to order books from libraries all across the state).

In conclusion: cute cat picture

Denning, S. (2015). Do we need libraries? Forbes

Garmer, A. (2016). Libraries in the exponential age. The Aspen Institute.

Visser, J. (2011). DOK Delft, inspirational library concepts. Buildings, Inspiration, Thoughts About Museums.

Weinberger, D. (2001). The hyperlinked organization. Chapter five from The Cluetrain Manifesto.


2 thoughts on “Library as civic square – Hyperlinked Libraries”

  1. Kittens in computers!

    I appreciate your alignment of ILL and other services with Weinberger’s concepts of openness and access. Working with staff across systems to plan programming is an excellent example of working against the silo effect.

  2. 😮 I agree with your concluding statement!

    Thank you for linking that interesting summary from the Aspen Institute!

    I liked the three “ways to accelerate the transformation of public libraries:
    (1) new narratives about the library’s role in society,
    (2) a culture of innovation that promotes new relationships, new networks and new forms of participation, and
    (3) committed, transformative leadership within the library profession as well as from other community partners including government, media, technology and civic stakeholder groups.”

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