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




Introduction: Lisa

Hello all!

My name is Lisa and this is my 2nd year as a MLIS student. I hope to graduate by fall of 2018.

I became a library page with San Jose Public Library a few years ago, and recently I got promoted to a library clerk. Working in the library field sparked a deep interest for me in helping people access the resources they need, whether it be in print, electronic resources, or learning about the community resources available to them.

I live near the Campbell area and I’m Mom to 2 teenagers and 2 mischievious Beagles. (One was a rescue from Beagle Freedom Project, I was a foster fail!). I love to read and binge netflix, love to travel and hike and bike.

This is a typical day around here when I have any downtime and can study–Dudley is like velcro to my side;-)

I’ll be tinkering with the design of my blog–still wasn’t sure what to call it and I just realized I missed the intro due date! I don’t know why but I was thinking it was due Wednesday.

I look forward to this class and getting to know all of you!

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