Reflecting on Hyperlinked libraries

This class was truly a blast. I wish I wasn’t as crazy busy–taking a full load of classes which included the challenging 285 class and adjusting to a new position–so I had more time to mull everything over. I learned so much though. Some takeaways I’ll share with you.

Connecting: One of my “elevator pitches” would have to be the connection I always strive to make with others; whether it be a co-worker who needs help or a patron who needs assistance on finding services like immigration classes, or where to go for homeless services, or a mother new to the area who is looking for activities for she and her kids, I make it a point to go above and beyond to get the information they need.

I love learning about community resources and connecting people to the services they need. 

It’s so crucial to connect with other students as well. I’ve made some great friends in this program, and I can’t tell you how many times they saved me by offering suggestions on assignments or lending a sympathetic ear while I was going through a major-stress out (which by the way, happened A LOT). 

Learning: as Stephens kept reiterating, we never stop learning. And, things change so quickly, take e-books for example, you need to stay abreast of new technology and services. 

Decompress:  Stephens’ reflective module which discusses the need to balance really hit home with me. I felt myself on the verge of grad burnout.I’ve really appreciated the ice-breaker sessions where we discussed “binge-worthy” shows. I have my queue fully loaded. 

One thing I think is very crucial (I kept nodding my head while viewing Professor Stephens’ lecture on reflection and balance) is striking a balance.

Oh, and Stephens talks about walking dogs and I find myself stopping to take the time to cuddle with mine, what a big stress-reliever right there! 

Here is one of my Beagles, Dudley (as I mentioned earlier, I was a foster-fail).

And here is Ella

Good bye all. Dogs, Netflix and Amazon Prime await me…



Mobile learning and libraries


Pew research studies show that smartphone ownership is almost universal, and device ownership reaches across all demographics; even those “less well off” are inclined to own mobile devices. Further, those in lower income brackets tend to rely on their smartphones for information or surfing the internet (Anderson, 2017).

Given such widespread mobile device use, libraries can tap into mobile learning, appealing to patrons. Video tutorials can teach patrons how to access and download eBooks; patrons can use their mobile device from anywhere and access eLearning sites like ABCmouse and, mobile-friendly tutoring services, job related development classes, and so on.

Stephens (n.d.) explores in the “infinite learning” module, the idea of “learning everywhere.” Today, learners can listen wherever they go, in the car, while waiting in line (I even drafted this post on an iPad while I was out). I like the idea of “micro-learning.” As one eLearning site puts it, “through micro-learning, you can deliver bit size content to the learners when they need it” (eLearning, 2017).

Libraries can respond by ensuring their websites and e-learning packages are optimized for these mobile learners on the go. And still, helping underserved communities needs to be a priority. Studies show that a “pattern” of “professional learners” who don’t have internet at home or smartphones have a tendency to rely on libraries and other community outlets or use the internet for training (Horrigan, 2016). Community collaboration has worked for some. Chicago Public Library has successfully partnered with various community institutions and corporations to deliver such services as mobile learning to schools or iPad, WIFI hotspot and chrome laptop checkouts. Tech resources of course, requires funding. Many of these are considered band-aid approaches; for instance, Chicago Public library has a very limited supply of WIFI and iPad/Chrome book checkouts (with very long waiting lists).

Nevertheless, it’s a small step in the right direction. As Chicago Public Library’s commissioner puts it, their STEAM programs (where learning is facilitated at schools) allow them to extend their reach beyond ” library walls and reach children we otherwise would not” (City of Chicago).


Anderson, M. (2017, March 22). Digital divide persists even as lower-income Americans make gains in tech adoption. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from

Horrigan, J. (2016, March 22). “Adults with tech-access tools are more likely to be lifelong learners and rely on the internet to pursue knowledge.” Pew Research Center. Retrieved from

Stephens, M. (n.d.).The Hyperlinked Library: Infinite Learning. [Panotpo Lecture]. Retrieved from

“Top learning and development trends in 2017” (2017, January 16). eLearning, eLearning [website]. Retrieved from

“Mayor Emanuel Announces Mobile STEAM and Early Learning Outreach Services” (2015, June 16). City of Chicago: Mayor Rahm Emanuel. [website]. Retrieved from

Image credit:




Do we really need another app for that? Reflections on mobile devices

Professor Stephens’ lecture on mobile technology and the ubiquitous nature of mobile devices got me thinking of how technology is deeply ingrained into our lives. Pew explains this phenomenon perfectly, “for many people, cell phones have become an extension of themselves, fully incorporated into the rhythm of their lives” (Stephens, n.d.),

Libraries would be wise to recognize this isn’t just a trend, but a way of life. Especially since it’s not just the younger crowd. Today 79% of adults ages 50 to 64 glean their news from mobile devices (Lu, 2017). More and more I see not only young kids, but also their parents and grandparents wander into our library, waving around their mobile devices, asking me where something is located, because they just found it on their phone or tablet. (Surprisingly, a great number of these folks find the resource directly from our online catalogue.)

I have to wonder though, how will apps evolve and if libraries will chose to optimize their existing sites or focus on offering apps. I know San Jose Public Library had an app for awhile, Boopsie for Libraries,  but they finally abandoned it and decided to make their website more mobile friendly. I found the app pretty clunky to navigate, although in fairness this was a few years ago, so things may have drastically improved.

Personally, I’ve reached app overload. I’ve got a slew of apps that really have been counterproductive (not to mention them being data hogs). Although I have many of my apps organized in folders, lately I find myself taking way to long to locate them. And studies have shown that app fatigue is a problem (especially on the job). I inform a lot of customers about our electronic resources, like eBooks, audiobooks, streaming etc., if they are new to this experience, I usually suggest they start with one eBook app, Overdrive (since it has the largest selection), so as not to overwhelmed them.

Some analysts profess that browsers will only continue to improve, so much so that some businesses have done away their apps, as they claim they aren’t needed anymore; while other pro-app advocates claim that apps will only continue to proliferate.

I do like the idea of alerts and how this is being explored by some libraries on notifying patrons of events and other resources, like Bluesmart and the CapiraMobile app for libraries notifying patrons of items ready for pick up, is pretty amazing. I have patrons who always grumble that they no sooner arrive home from the library then they receive a phone call or email stating that their hold item is ready for pick-up, so this service would probably be welcomed with open arms. However, I still wonder if we need to always need to jump on the app bandwagon, especially if the website can be optimized.


Enis, M. (2014, November, 18). “Beacon” Technology Deployed by Two Library App Makers. Library Journal. Retrieved from

Lu, K. (2017, June 17). Growth in mobile news use driven by older adults. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from

Stephens, M. (n.d.). The Hyperlinked Library: Mobile Devices & Connections. [Panotpo Lecture]. Retrieved from

Image credit: Marketing Land

Facebook Live in Libraries: Emerging Technology Planning

Picture this:

A fun DIY craft brewing how-to session, in conjunction with a small cooking demo that includes some appealing appetizers.

A graphic novel contest, where winners are announced from the audience.

A discussion on estate wills and planning, or tax preparation tips.

A battle of the Band day, where local tween and teens compete for SJPL’s best new band contest.

Storytime that features readings by children’s authors.

All the above events are streamed live, on San Jose Public Library’s (SJPL) Facebook page; patrons are allowed to weigh in, ask questions, engage with us, but most of all, it is our hope that they will MARK THEIR CALENDARS for the next big event.

Action Brief Statement:

Convince San Jose Public Library’s patrons that by engaging with us in virtual space, they will be more inclined to visit our physical place, which in turn, will strength community bonds, because the library is SO MUCH MORE THAN BOOKS! It’s a fun, and engaging place where patrons can learn, share, or just hang out.

Plan: Facebook Live Streaming from San Jose Public Library

Goals/Objectives for Technology or Service:

The goal is for San Jose Public Library to use the video live feature on Facebook to broadcast events as a way to connect with its patrons. Live streaming events will serve to engage community members by promoting awareness of library events and services. Aside from spreading awareness, another benefit of the service is to offer patrons a “behind the scenes” look at libraries in action, and this provides a human touch. As San Jose State University Professor Stephens points out, it’s crucial for the public to see the “human face” behind the library (Stephens, n.d.). It also adds a dimension of transparency and authenticity. One librarian, who regularly uses Facebook live, explains: “it’s staged but not scripted, and feels authentic because it is” (2017, Koerber). Moreover, the public will see the library as so much more than “books” (Stephens, n.d.). Using the idea expounded by the Denmark director at the Dokk1 library, libraries are “designed” for “people, not books” (Stephens, n.d.)And.… space is changing and virtual space changing and we’re welcoming everyone in” (Stephens, n.d.).

Another goal is to establish ongoing dialogue—and it cannot be stated enough. Communication should be two-way, not merely broadcasting, one-way. SJPL  should take great aims to answer patrons’ inquiries and listen to feedback on Facebook or any other platform. Patrons can provide valuable input on events or other types of planning aspects of the library. As Casey (2011) asks: “…how are you involving those Facebook fans in your library’s planning process? Are you asking them to participate?” 

Lastly, Facebook streaming live is a way to reach NEW patrons. The ones that have yet to set foot in a San Jose library.

Description of Community: San Jose Public Library customers

San Jose Public Library patrons are a diverse group with varied interests. The plan is to offer a broad array of events and/or services that appeal to different demographics. For instance, storytimes geared for children, author talks and book clubs for adults, teens, and tweens, how-to sessions for technology, health and gardening—any special interest the library feels would appeal to its patrons. Better yet, patrons can tell the library what they’d like to see. In the first “live” event we’ll hold a community meeting and patrons can provide ideas on programming.

Appealing to diverse communities is another goal. Offering bilingual storytime would be a huge draw, primarily as a way to engage bilingual populations, but additionally, parents who want to expose their children to another language/culture wouldn’t have to travel for their youngsters to see it. Another bonus is that if busy parents cannot attend, they can just view the event later on the library’s Facebook page.

With the idea of tapping into San Jose Public Library’s diverse customer base, each of the 24 branches can hone the Facebook live feature to suit their community. For instance, Bibliotheca may have staff members who speak Spanish reach out to their patrons in that language.

Mission Statement: San Jose Public Library believes in fostering community two-way engagement, within its organization and in the community it serves, through outreach, both virtual and physical, to share ideas, play, and learn.

Guidelines/Policy: Policies can include stipulations about patron privacy and guidelines for staff on how to operate in “social media” mode. It’ll be mandatory for staff to thoroughly read the library’s social media guidelines, and other appropriate considerations such as patron privacy. For instance, prior to live streaming an event, staff can make an announcement indicating that filming and/or photography will be occurring. Perhaps staff can ask patrons if they can sign a photo waiver after the event. Jackson County Library, although a bit restrictive on employee social media usage guidelines, has some good ideas on their social media policy. 

Special note: SJPL can do a better job of making their social media policy more transparent to its patrons as it is not easily accessible via a Google search or on the library’s website.

Funding Considerations for Facebook Live:

Existing staff members will be used, and no outside personnel will be needed. All branches have iPads, laptops, Android tablet devices, ipods, etc., therefore not a lot of extra money will be spent on technology. However, minimal cost may include webcams, which can be purchased inexpensively (Webcams can be purchased for around $50.) Each of the 24 branches has a surplus fund (generally within $100 to $200), or a “wish list” they can ask Friends of the Library for, as result of extra funds made from booksales. So, an option would be to use the “wish list” fund to purchase one, at the branch’s discretion. 

The state of California does have annual grants through the California State Library Services and Technology Act, so another possibility would be for the library to apply for the LSTA grant. ).

Action Steps & Timeline: 

Live streaming via Facebook really takes little preparation, but staff can take a week or two to get ramped up, and ensure staff members are familarized with the social media policy and guidelines. Fortunately, branches have some leeway in social media use, and they are encouraged to use new tools–posting photos on Instagram and blogging on the company website are some examples–therefore, getting upper management buy-in shouldn’t be too much of an issue. If there is resistance however, it can be suggested that the library do a few “practice” sessions, and then evaluate its success.

Week one: Have IT staff (or ask library staff for volunteers) to set up webcams.

Week two: Train employees at the 24 branches. Ask staff at each branch for volunteers. Training will involve SJPL’s mission, as well as social media guidelines to ensure all staff members are on board. Also, a webinar on Facebook living streaming will be used.

Week three: Test run: have staff devote a few hours during the week to practice live streaming a “pretend” event. (Staff can set privacy settings to allow only themselves to view the event.) Luckily, Facebook live is pretty quick to learn.

Week four: Each branch decides on what event/s they would like to feature for that week.

Week five: Promotion. Each location will decide how they would like to promote the event. Perhaps by posting flyers, spreading the word on social media like Instagram, Facebook, and on the blog.

Staffing Considerations:

Minimal manpower will be used since webcams require very little attention (once they are set-up). However, it may take a little bit of time for staff members to set up webcams. It’s recommended that IT install them; although install time shouldn’t take too long.  


A few of the library staff members can put together a quick tutorial on social media guidelines and how to operate Facebook Live. There are already employees who actively blog and use social media platforms for SJPL; therefore, those persons would be ideal to help with employee training. One library professional who regularly uses Facebook live offers a suggesion on how she learned to use the platform: “To get up the courage to try Live, I first shot some video of my dog at home using the ‘only me’ privacy setting. Once I saw how easy it was, I was all in” (2017, Koerber).

Promotion & Marketing

One thing that is highly recommended is to announce the Facebook live event a few weeks in advance. This would be done across all social media channels. Promotion would entail pinning the event on the Twitter feed and, also on the Facebook page. With that said, it is not the intention to over-broadcast events. Posts should be evenly spaced out by at least a few days. Also, it may be worth exploring to pay for advertising on Facebook. Also, promoting the event on twitter with the following hashtag: #sjsplive is another way to drum up interest. Another idea is to post a few photos and live videos on Instagram, simultaneously with the same hashtag. Posting flyers in nearby community centers, schools, and coffee shops can generate interest, as well as posting on community online bulletin boards like Nextdoor.


Any new platform takes patience and time; by the end of the first month metrics will be analyzed. How many views did the live events generate? Was there any traction? What events were popular? What times/days worked the best for generating traffic? Any patterns? Or, were the popular events all over the place as far as time/day? Do the library gain a lot more followers? Foot traffic should be measured at the events as well.

Staff Brief:

Streaming media is a logical way for San Jose Public Library to enage its audience and spread awareness of SJPL and its resources. Nowadays streaming service is ubiquitous, and the medium allows us to consume “different landscapes of media consumption” (Stephens, n.d.). Minimal cost and staff time is required, so what does the library have to lose? Quite possibly, outside volunteers can be used for helping coordinate events and help with the intial start-up. Holding Facebook live sessions is easy to do, and it’s is a fun way to connect the library and staff with its community.

Helpful URL’s:

Casey, M. (2011). Revisiting Participatory Service in Trying Times – a TTW Guest Post. Tame the Web.

Jackson County Library Social Media Policy

Live from the Library

Stephens, Michael. The Hyperlinked Library: New Models.

Virtual Author Talks @ the Library! San Rafael Public Library.


Casey, M. (2011). Revisiting Participatory Service in Trying Times – a TTW Guest Post. Tame the Web. [Blog]. Retrieved from

Jackson County Library Social Media Policy. Policy number 232. (2014, May 19). [PDF]. Retrieved from

Koerber, J. (2017, April 10). Live at the Library. Library Journal. Retrieved from

Periscope top tips for using twitters latest app. (2015, July 20). Retrieved from

Stephens, M. (n.d.). The Hyperlinked library: exploring the model. [Panopto lecture]. Retrieved from

Stephens, M. (n.d.). The hyperlinked library and emerging technologies. [Panopto lecture]. Retrieved from

Stephens, M. (n.d.). The Hyperlinked Library: New Models. Retrieved from

Virtual Author Talks @ the Library! (2015). San Rafael Public Library. [Website]. Retrieved from




My own adventure: privacy and libraries

Recently I got a new library card at a local library. I was kind of floored when the worker asked that I come back once I’ve changed my PIN and disclose to them the new number (they use a standard default PIN upon setting up the account).

I recall thinking to myself at the time, Um, like hell I will.

The mindset at this library seemed in stark contrast to the library where I work, which almost appears overzealous in its attempts to eradicate any trace of patronage history. It doesn’t keep any past checkout history (unless it’s related to fines), nor does it keep browsing history on any of the computers. Many times customers express dismay when I can’t pull up a history of their checkout items. However, it’s for their protection. What if someone is an alcoholic or has a drug problem and has checked out materials related to the topic. Do they want that information about them stored somewhere?

I recently attended a privacy basics workshop at my work. The librarian that held the discussion is very up on privacy rights; she even won an award for putting together the library’s privacy tool kit

Something she said really stuck with me: “if we don’t collect anything about our patrons there is no danger of us leaking any of their information.” She stressed the importance of not having sign up sheets lying around (better yet, don’t even have them in the first place) that contain customers’ private information, like emails or home addresses.

She also provided plenty of “what-if” scenarios involving customer privacy issues, for instance, a patron coming in and asking to see another family member’s account information. What if a spouse is living with domestic abuse and checked out books related that subject? Should their spouse view their account? The obvious answer: NO.

I asked the speaker about an instance of a spouse coming in and demanding to see their partner’s account due to some type of chronic medical condition, and having the authority to check out items on his behalf. The librarian suggested that going forward the patron use her own card.

Online privacy is another murky area. Although 86% of people who go online exercise caution, many Internet users claim they don’t know enough and would like to learn more about guarding their online privacy (Rainie, 2016).

Many times patrons are unaware that third parties such as Overdrive, or other eBook or eAudiobook vendors collect their information. Every once in awhile I come across a customer who seems paranoid at the idea, and declines to sign up for Hoopla or another electronic resource. I get it though. Although for myself, I chose to give up some of my privacy for the convenience. As Rainie (2016) observes, “for most Americans who are making decisions about sharing their information in return for a product, service or other benefit, the context and conditions of the transactions matter… Risk-benefit calculations that enter people’s minds during the decision process include the terms of the deal.”

Some takeaways I’ve gleaned from the workshop, my readings, and in my experiences working at a library (I realize some may seem like common sense):

  • Libraries should AND could do better in helping educate patrons about online privacy.
  • If you work in a library, avoid keeping any customer information, browsing history on computers, nor retain checkout history, sign-up sheets,etc. 
  • Shred patron documents scrupulously (better yet, avoid recording any information at all).
  • Don’t discuss patrons’ information or private lives (not related to any specific account/library issue) in the back office at work!
  • Keep privacy screens on hand for computer use and encourage customers to use them.
  • Remind customers in computer labs (especially those who are computer illiterate) to be mindful when sharing their information
  • Hold privacy workshops (and often)
  • Make sure customers are aware that they are sharing their information to 3rd party apps like Overdrive and Hoopla. Share online privacy resources with them.


Image credit 

Pixabay. Retrieved from

Rainie, L. (2016, September 21). The state of privacy in post-Snowden America. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from

Open access

Professor Stephens’ latest lecture, the hyperlinked library: hyperlinked communities, really resonated with me, especially when he makes the point of adapting resources to your community; for instance, don’t spend tons of money on makerspace programs if most of your patrons don’t even have internet access.

But what do you do, if you your community serves both types of patrons: those with affluence contrasted with those who are barely scraping by?

I mull this over in my mind quite often.

Like the parent who comes in and wants AR (augmented reality) events and wants to know if we have tutors to help motivate her child to read. I inform her of upcoming AR events and try to brainstorm ideas on how she can motivate her child. Maybe try for a different genre such as graphic novels? (it helped in my son’s case). I also recommend taping into the reading volunteers we have.

Contrast this mom was another, one who is a non-English speaker, and she doesn’t possess computer skills to help her child do a PowerPoint presentation for a school report on hurricanes. And, to make matters more complicated, the mom doesn’t want to get a library card, even though the library has a policy for granting them with a passport or green card. (By the way, I can’t help but notice the uptick of immigrants who come in fearful in this political climate).

I explain this to mother and child. The mother politely declines.

Her child reads the book there in the library. Unfortunately, she is unable to use the computer without a library card.

Stephens asks us to think about the populations we wish to serve, and asks us to think about how we reach them.

Pewhairangi suggests libraries target their key customers. And, once identified, you become “obsessed with your most valuable members within that community”.

Lately, I find myself obsessing about barriers. And how libraries sometimes fail to reach those patrons they need to reach the most.

The library where I work grants teen cards to kids with student IDs (with teacher or parental permission), and I must admit, I do bend the rules here. I’ve seen my share of latchkey children who come to the library after school. However, they don’t have a parent or teacher with them. Shouldn’t we make exceptions here?

Or, do we automatically make assumptions—hell no, they’ll just act up!

Do we give the teens the benefit of the doubt?

If given the choice, facing the risk of teens possibly acting up in the teen room, versus tossing those kids out into the street, I’d like to think I’d choose the former. With open arms.


Stephens, M. (n.d.) The Hyperlinked liibrary: hyperlinked communities. [Panotpo Lecture]. Retrieved from

Pewhairangi, S., Ingle, M. (2014, May). A beautiful obsession. Weve. [website].

Image retrieved from



Reflections on Infotopia

Image retrieved from

Context Book Review: Infotopia

Cass R. Sunstein, in his book Infotopia, explores sharing and aggregating information, mostly on the Internet. He cites some positives of sharing information online, like discovering that his dog’s cancer is treatable. Yet, there is a downside: some pet owners may fall prey to fallacious “miracle cures” that plague the Internet. The author refers this to phenomena as “information cascades”, when people tend to follow the herd, even if they have doubts. After all, how can the majority be wrong?

Sunstein applies market principles and cites various studies to examine “group deliberation”. He claims that the process isn’t always a guarantee of better results. Take the Columbia shuttle fiasco. It was later determined that the group responsible at NASA failed to use “checks and balances” and didn’t solicit input from outside their immediate circle. According to Sunstein (2006), “the group often does what the majority wants “(p. 64). Another hazard is that online groups can become further polarized, since individuals tend to band together with others who share the same views. (Ever witness a nasty online brawl in the comment section of a highly charged political post on Facebook?)

It’s not all gloom and doom however; Sunstein discusses the merits of Wikipedia, which allows anyone to write and edit articles; it has a high accuracy rate. Sure, there are a few bad apples and “vandalism” can sabotage a particular article—a perfect example is when a prankster recently lumped Paul Ryan in with other invertebrates (think jelly fish) because the politician “lacks a spine” –however, the collective action of others will quickly correct any erroneous information. (The Paul Ryan reference was quickly taken down by the way.)

My takeaways as applied to libraries/library science

How can Infotopia apply to libraries? Sunstein’s NASA example, highlighting the danger of what can happen when institutions can be become too insular, made me think of Stephens’ lecture when he addresses internal challenges that can plague some libraries, like becoming too insular, or personnel who cling to “silos of knowledge”, or those “embedded” employees who hide behind their desks. The outrage over “BookGate”, when patrons discovered that older print materials were weeded out without their consultation, is a good wake-up call of what can happen when libraries fail to think outside their immediate circle (Stephens, 2013).

I once visited a library that had just installed new checkout machines. I couldn’t help but notice some taller patrons were experiencing difficulty. They had to hunch down at an awkward angle to scan their items. I had to wonder how much (if at all) the library consulted with patrons on the design before the new system was implemented. Stephens’ suggestion of libraries needing to continually “evaluate” is a good practice. In this library’s case, I wonder if they are seeking feedback from the community on how well the new machines are working for them?

The Wikipedia example, which illustrates the positives of the collective producing quality work, reminds me of Stephens’ idea of “radical trust”, and how libraries can benefit by allowing open participation on their blogs and social media. Stephens cites an instance of a library that allows the community to participate in a DIY History activity, where they help edit old manuscripts. Like Wikipedia, the library relies on the community to use checks and balances to maintain a high quality resource.

Infotopia opened my eyes to the necessity of nurturing an open and participatory practice in libraries. Los Angeles Public Library says it best when they candidly admit to their patrons: “The library is nothing without its community” (Mack, 2013).


Mack, Candice. (2013, February 17). Crowdsourced design: why Los Angeles is asking the public to create the library of the future. GOOD Worldwide. Retrieved from

Stephens, M. (2013, August 22). Collection bashing & trashing. Library Journal. Retrieved from

Stephens, M. (n.d.). The Hyperlinked library: exploring the model. [Panopto lecture]. Retrieved from

Stephens, M. (n.d.). The hyperlinked library and emerging technologies. [Panopto lecture]. Retrieved from

Sunstein, C.R. (2006). Infotopia: How Many Minds Produce Knowledge. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Beyond Books: reflection post #2

I found myself nodding in agreement with Schmidt’s idea of libraries being a “multiuse facility” which could include a library, a restaurant, co-working space, and a gym (Schmidt, 2014).

Actually, it’s not such a far-fetched idea.

I’ve worked at a library that shares space with the city’s community center; it has a gym, a basketball court, and for a short time, even a café. Granted, it operates independently from the library and under its own budget; however, both city entities share joint responsibility with some of the community events. It is a great partnership in my view, as we’d get overflow from the community center, customers who would eventually meander their way over to the “library side” and express amazement at all the new products/services that the library provides, such as brand new DVD movie releases (hitting the shelves the same time they’d show up at Redbox). It was not uncommon for us to encounter prior patrons who hadn’t used a library in years, but would eagerly re-sign up.

Professor Stephens notes in his lecture that most people associate libraries primarily with books and that books are the libraries’ brand. Aside from eBooks, eAudiobooks and streaming media, increasingly libraries are offering non-traditional items for checkout: iPads, chrome books (noticing an uptick in bike thefts, my local branch even has bike locks available for checkout). San Jose Public Library offers “Wee-Play” kits for babies and toddlers, which includes learning toys and activities, and an energy saving tool-kit. This library isn’t alone in offering unique items, some libraries offer Pedometers, drills, gardening equipment, museum passes, and telescopes. Some libraries even have American Girl Dolls for check out! (Parents, you can save a bundle here.)

Some libraries are starting to offer streaming services and patrons can download music and movies. (Stephens states that a challenge for libaries is streaming media, so it’s understandable why some are exploring this medium.)

San Jose Public Library also offers Virtual reality events at two of their branches where patrons can play with Oculus Rift gear. And some locations even have 3D printers.

As Stephens points out, some of the more “user-centric” libraries are evolving. I like the forward-thinking ideas expressed by Libraries Transform Campaign, an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA), which echoes some of Stephens’ points:

Libraries transform lives.

Libraries transform communities.

Librarians are passionate advocates for lifelong learning.

Libraries are a smart investment.

Libraries today are less about what they have for people and more about what they do for and with people.

In closing, here is a video clip highlighting San Jose Public Library participating in virtual reality:



Libraries Transform. (n.d.). [Website]. Retrieved from

Mikal, B. (2017, July 14). More than books: 9 unusual things you can borrow from public libraries. The Penny Hoarder [Blog]. Retrieved from

Schmidt, A. (2014). Exploring context: the user experience. Library Journal. Retrieved from

Stephens, M. (n.d.). The Hyperlinked Library: Exploring the Model. [Lecture]. Retrieved from

Image credit

Auxier, Jonathan. (2011, April 24). Library of the future. [Photograph]. Retrieved from




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