Virtual Symposium: Hyperlinked Readings, Beyond December 2017

  • Throughout the Fall semester (2017) while I was enrolled in the SJSU Hyperlinked Library course, I kept track to articles I’d like to read related to the topic of user-centered design in the library and the issues that hyperlinked libraries face. I’ve been holding onto and curating these articles in Flipboard so that I’d have a place to return to read them once the semester ended. I’ve also used many of these articles in my research projects and Director’s Brief for the course. Can’t wait to dive in and read (and be inspired!) by the ideas that these articles bring to the surface about how to create a thriving Library 2.0!  Classmates are welcome to add articles as contributors and follow this site. I’ll be adding to it in the months ahead.

Director’s Brief: Virtual Reality for All: Transporting Patrons to New Worlds Through VR @ the Public Library

Info 287. Director’s Brief. Mary Finn


  1. Develop an understanding of the teaching and learning capabilities of the emerging technologies related to virtual reality
  2. Dispel the myths and misconceptions about virtual reality
  3. Understand the role that virtual reality hardware, such as the Oculus device, can play in library programming for all ages and demographics

Executive Summary

Virtual reality (VR) is an often misunderstood term. We tend to associate virtual reality exclusively with gaming and fantasy play. We also wrongly associate the technology with being out of reach from a budget and finance perspective. Yet, the emerging technology of virtual reality has tremendously far-reaching capabilities for teaching and learning and the technology is becoming increasingly more affordable with each iteration of the VR hardware that comes to market. Libraries have the ability to use virtual reality to transport patrons into settings where they can learn and experience everything from the architecture of ancient Greece to fairylands for children to the experiences of modern-day Syrian refugees. Librarians ought to embrace virtual reality because of the technology’s enormous potential to build empathy and awareness in users and to cultivate patron’s curiosity. Our library will not be the first to adopt virtual reality or develop programming which relies on the technology. We have a strong model in the public library systems of California where 100 public libraries were granted virtual reality devices and have developed teaching and learning opportunities within branches. We can learn from the California experiment to see what’s worked and how to avoid pitfalls.



The Library As Dynamic Classroom

I was excited to start the module on the Library as Classroom because I am deeply interested in the ways that the library, especially the school library and the young adult/children’s sections of public library branches, can serve as dynamic spaces to engage the imagination of young people. I have been a teacher for the past 15 years and I have seen the ways that less didactic teaching and instructional settings can cause a student to become more open to the learning process and make learning feel more personalized. Prior to taking this course, I have had experiences with what I considered strong examples of librarians and library services whereby students were fully engaged and immersed in learning. I’ve also brought my students to library settings where the opposite is true; where they are told to be quiet, keep still, and where inquiry is squashed. I am planning to transition into school library work and I was curious before starting this module about the differences in approach and structure that a librarian can take to learning compared to a traditional classroom teacher. The resources included in this module did not disappoint and I am leaving feeling even more confident and equipped in my choice to become a school librarian.

First, I think it is important for all librarians to know and understand a variety of theories of learning and be able to take a position on which theory of teaching and learning ought to be most prevalent in the library. My approach, similar to my classroom teaching, is one of constructivism. I believe that all learners, regardless of age, construct knowledge from their experience, analysis, and development and incorporation of new information. As opposed to behaviorists who have an empty vessel mentality of teaching and learning, I believe that patrons learn by doing and that librarians ought to provide as many “doing” opportunities as possible.

There were many references in the readings and videos in this module to wonder, play, and child-driven inquiry. These are all aspects of a constructivist teaching approach that I hope to incorporate into my work. I believe that patrons, especially young people, want (and deserve) to be able to explore the world around them and make choices about areas of interest and level of depth that they want to explore within a particular topic. The 2015 ALA article on the Future of Teaching and Learning makes the case that learning within the classroom walls is an obselete concept and that if we want to encourage true academic inquiry, we need to embrace the “untraditional” learning spaces.

We hear the term “learning by play” more and more frequently in education, but often the term isn’t defined. The Lego Foundation’s video on the concept of learning by play is an incredibly powerful explanation of what play can do to improve learner outcomes and enthusiasm.

My job, as the librarian, is to ask probing questions in the research interview and to guide users to the available tools to help them uncover and discover their passions and delve more deeply into their academic and non-academic interests.

To that end, the Bookey article on 8 Awesome Ways Libraries Are Making Learning Fun provided strong examples of constructivist approaches to learning in the library. In particular, the fairy hunt idea for young children created by the Sacramento Public Library is the perfect example of fun and learning.

The Australian library systems seem to be on the vanguard of libraries as learning spaces in that they’ve developed a cohesive philosophy around learning in the library setting. The 2012 Learning Everywhere: A Roadmap report lays out a step by step guide for how to transform the library and those who work in it, to by user-focused learning spaces. I am visiting Australia in January and after reading the resources in this module I am now inspired to visit Australian children’s libraries.

I feel armed with tools and theories after this unit on the library as a true learning space and I feel much better equipped to design and implement learning by doing/play activities in the library.


Bookey, J. L. (2015). 8 Awesome Ways Libraries Are Making Learning Fun.

Lippincott, J. (2015). The Future for Teaching and Learning.

Stephens, M. (2012). Learning everywhere: A roadmap.

Stephens, M. (2013). Learning to learn.

Stephens, M. (2011). Lessons from learning 2.0.

Lego Foundation. (2016). What do we Mean by Learning Through Play?

What’s new at the library?

Learning everywhere and anywhere!

The course so far has really expanded my understanding of what a library is, where libraries are located, and what a library can be. I know this sounds silly since I am in the last semester of the MLIS program, but these past few units on the new models for libraries, the new horizons that libraries can expose and provide for users, and the increasing mobility of libraries. The intersection of user-centered design, emerging and fast-moving technologies, and the traditional library system structure provide for an incredibly dynamic and rich petri dish for experimentation and prototyping library initiatives and models. After experiencing these units I am just feeling jazzed about the potential for who a library can be in the community. The reading we did on library 2.0 really drove home the point that the librarian can’t be removed, sitting behind a research desk, and unapproachable from the user. The models such as Anythink make this point even more clearly: the librarians can be a catalyst for change and collaboration in her community.

The module that was most compelling and thought-provoking for me was the Mobile Information unit. I was struck by the applications of QR codes to the learning environment and the way that a technology I had previously associated with grocery tracking is now being used to track and improve learning. I am a teacher and I’ve only recently started letting my students use cell phones for quick research in class. I made this decision because I realized that the phone is integral to how students research anything, inside and outside the classroom, and it started to feel artificial to block access to that tool. The Pew research on cell phone use is interesting because it drives home the point that students today are digital natives to a cell phone ubiquitous culture and that as an educator and future librarian I need to adapt to this reality. But, I also know that I need to place norms and limits on cell phone use because of the distractibility factor and the research we have from researchers like Sherry Turkle in her compelling book on teens and technology, Alone Together.  There are some great suggestions for norms and limitations for the sake of moderation on cell phone use, especially in teens, in the Bogost article, Don’t Hate the Phone Call, Hate the Phone.

One of the super exciting mobile learning opportunities are the combination of cell phones and field trips. There are companies like Go Games that build field trip experiences for young people and adults that provide experiential learning on demand at the site of an event or museum.  The theory and practice behind such field trip apps are explained in great detail in Niantic’s the Field Trip App.

As a teacher and budding librarian, I’ve really appreciated the opportunity to learn about how I can combine my love of teaching, my desire to curate resources as a librarian, and my interest in technology in service of future library users.


Bogost, I (2015). Don’t Hate the Phone Call, Hate the Phone

Pew Internet & American Life (2015). Cell Phone Activities

Niantic Inc. (2016). Field Trip App

Turkle, S  (2007) Alone Together

Emerging Technology Plan: E-Reader Check Out and Device Instruction Sessions

E-Readers, E-Reader Apps and Your Library Downloads- Make Better Use of All That Your Library Has to Offer!

Goals/Objectives for Technology or Service:

  • Users/patrons will learn about the different types of electronic books, journals, magazines, and films available for download at the library system.
  • Users/patrons will learn how to use their e-readers to best maximise the library e-resources.
  • Users/patrons will understand how to create accounts for e-resources that match their device capability
  • Users/patrons will understand what an operating system is, where to find the operating system information  on their individual devices and how to upgrade systems to best maximize the library systems downloadable e-resources
  • Users/patrons will understand the library systems’ policies for checking out and, when appropriate, returning (checking back in) the digital resource

Description of Community you wish to engage:

While this series of workshops and instructional guides and videos are applicable to any patron who wants to better utilize and access the e-reader resources in the library, the workshop is particularly geared to those who are new to e-readers, those who may not be digital natives, and those who need extra support when using technology such as the elderly and the visually or physically impaired. As is the case with any strong instructional model, the workshop materials will be useful to a wide audience but they are designed to specifically meet the needs of those with a steeper learning curve when it comes to adopting and using emerging technologies and non-print library resources.

Action Brief Statement:

Convince those users are not digital natives and who may have difficulty navigating new technology that by doing a combination of  attending the workshops in person, watching the video instruction at home, and reading the instruction guides for using e-readers and accessing e-resources they will have access to a far more expansive range of library resources which will reduce wait time for texts and audiovisual resources and allow nearly immediate access, thus making the library a more integrated part of the user’s life because the patron will have near immediate access to library resources on demand and the patron will no longer have to only wait until the library is physically open to check out resources or be placed on lengthy waitlists for physical copies of texts and audio/visual materials.


Evidence and Resources to support Technology or Service:

E Book Reader Program that will be included in the training sessions:

  • Overdrive
  • Axis
  • Hoopla E-books
  • Chinese E-books and news
  • Books 24X7
  • The Classics Open Library

Mission, Guidelines, and Policy related to Technology or Service: (Who might be involved in setting policies? Where might you look for example policies? What do you want to include in guidelines for use?)

The mission of the library system determines all projects and new initiatives within the library setting. The overall mission of the public library system makes it clear that library resources need to be allocated in such a way to promotes equitable access to a wide range of community members from all walks of life. As the library system adopts more and more digital resource and materials, it is imperative that as many community members as possible know how to use the materials, how to access the library resources on their individual devices, and where they can check out such e-reader devices if they don’t have one of their own.

The technology policies that apply to the library system as a whole have provisions for user privacy rights, the protection of children online, and the filtering (or lack thereof) of resources both in the library and online. The library also has a technology policy that governs online harassment. The policies of the library system that apply to technology use as a whole are also applicable in the case of e-readers and e-reader downloadable materials. There are additional protections and copyright restrictions added to e-reader materials to ensure the legal use and sharing of such materials.

The library will provide access to e-reader devices to those patrons who would like to check one out for e-resource use. The checkout policy is the same as any resource in that there are due dates, damage fees, etc. The patron may not be asked to place a credit card or cash deposit for the device because this precludes the equitable access protections in the library mission. Some branches may choose to implement the e-reader check out policy as an in library only project because of high demand or because such a policy is in keeping with other technology check out policies such as laptop borrowing privileges. The library branch may set its own policy around such checkout but the policy needs to be consistently applied and implemented for all users.

Funding Considerations for this Technology or Service:

This project will be funded by a variety of funding sources including library system operating budget, grant funding, public funds which were approved by voter initiative, and the non-profit foundation that supports the library system’s initiatives around technology applications.

  • Operating budget: the operating budget funds will be used for the salary of the system-wide eResources Specialist and the creation and distribution of the instructional materials (video and written guides)
  • Grant Funding: The library development officer will write grants to fund the purchase and maintenance cost of e-readers for every library branch. There will be annual replacement costs involved in this project and these costs will be included in the overall grant budget
  • Public funding: This funding is specifically designed to be earmarked for library initiatives that expand access to under-resourced and underserved populations. The funds will be used to offer the workshops and e-readers at high-need library branches as a priority.
  • Non-profit library foundation: The “Friends of the Library” foundation will purchase the e-reader carts and security system necessary for each of the branches because the foundation funding is meant to augment and support the publically funded initiatives of each branch

Action Steps & Timeline:

  • The emerging technology (e-readers and e-reader apps that are used on phones, tablets, and computers) are emerging in the sense that the underlying technology gets more sophisticated with each generation of app and device and these tools often require updating, syncing, and other specific instruction so that users know how to access the library e-resources
  • The key player who has to say “yes” to this project include the library system’s committee on technology and implementation, the budget committee, and the Friends of the Library board. The development office at the library is also necessary for approval because they will have to approve the fact that grant writing resources can be spent on this project.
  • The alternative to the full-fledged rollout of e-reader check out carts and the instructional component is to put the e-reader check out on hold until funds and expertise are secured and move forward with the instructional aspects because these can be completed by shifting existing resources.
  • The timeline involved in implementation will follow a ROCI cycle of project development and management where a working group will analyze the device needs and training needs at the system level for all library users, identify available and needed resources, implement the program in two stages and at one branch at a time, evaluate each branch implementation, learn from the findings, and start the cycle over again. This will give the working group a chance to engage in a continuous cycle of improvement with each branch launch and training.
  • The timeline will be 1.5 years. The first 6 months will be the analysis and resource development stage. The program will be implemented over the course of a year throughout the entire system.

Staffing Considerations for this Technology or Service:

  • The library has a specialist position (e-Resource Specialist) who is charged with making policy decisions and needs-assessments about the adoption of new technologies. The e-Resource Specialist has a team of five staffers who are each assigned to 3 branches per person. These staff people have an expertise in instructional design and they will be able to work to create the training, guides, and video presentations. The e-Resource Specialist will work with her immediate team, the Technology Adoption Committee, and the branch head librarians on the timeline and user-needs for this project.
  • The branch librarians and library clerks and support staff will need to be trained in using the new technology, understanding the library check out policies, and running site-based training for local users throughout the year.  

Training for this Technology or Service:

  • The Office of Library Technology and New Media will be responsible for the training for the e-reader program. All head librarians and media specialists will be trained in the course of a year. The training will be run centrally and librarians and staff can select the 4-hour training that best fits their schedule
  • A large part of this project is the training of users. The user guides, program manuals, videos, and in-person training at the branches offer a range of options for different types of learners. The training will take place over a one year period and at least one session will be held at every branch in the city. The central library will offer one session per month for 12 months.  

Promotion & Marketing for this Technology or Service:

  • The library will advertise using flyers at local community and elderly care centers
  • The library will promote the e-reader program on the back of the receipts that people get when they check out physical books.
  • There will be posters hung in each branch library
  • There will be a social media campaign to bring in new e-users
  • The library will reach out to local public schools where e-readers are used but where teachers may need additional training
  • The program will be advertised on the local public radio station
  • The library will send public service announcement press releases to all local media in an attempt to spread the word about the program

Evaluation: (What benchmarks and performance metrics will you use to evaluate the technology or service.  What stories are you envisioning telling about it? How might you expand the service in the future?)

  • The library data analysts will design a district-wide tool to be used to measure the before and after. We will survey branch users to learn how many people are using e-readers and what their needs are. We will issue the same survey one year later. One measure of success will be if the total number of e-readers has increased
  • The library will monitor the total number of e-reader resources that are checked out and watch the trends to see if there are more resources checked out after the training sessions and, most importantly, if they are more resources checked out overall using the e-reader tools.
  • We will issue an anonymous survey at the end of every training to get feedback from participants about what they had hoped to learn, what they did learn, and what they would like to see done differently in future trainings.
  • Measures will include the total number of checkouts of e-readers in a year-long period.



The Hyperlinked School Library: The Revolutionary Space Our Children Deserve

I work in public education and I am in and out of school libraries in middle and high schools throughout the district. I have been thinking quite a bit recently, as a result of this course, about the ways that school libraries serve as hubs in their schools of untethered spaces where students can be free of the strict content boundaries of the classroom. For example, the school library can be a space where students are freer to explore an individual interest or a multi-disciplinary approach to a topic they are curious about. The school library also serves as a place where content area classes can have a more differentiated and less homogeneous approach to learning. I’ve seen classes working on a group project, individual pursuits, and research-lessons with librarians. I have also seen libraries that are underutilized and not at all the hubs of activity that I describe above. The hyperlinked library course and the module on the hyperlinked school library have given me food for thought about the potential of the school library and how there can and should be a rethink of the school library similar to the library 2.0 in the general library system.

The first step in a rethink and an embrace of change in the school library is for the community as a whole to accept that the library needs to serve users and meet the user’s research needs and desire. The school librarian cannot exclusively push her ideal of the school library at the expense of meeting user needs. Parents need to accept, as stated by Richardson in his 16 Modern Realities article, that students are multi-modal, were born into a digital landscape, and they may not gravitate exclusively to books.

The Loertscher article on flipping the script provides a necessary kick in the pants to the librarian who may think the status quo is all that is needed to best serve students. I appreciate the framing of the school library 2.0 as a “revolution” and I think the author is correct in her presumption of what the library can be (a hub of learning for young people) but this can only come if the librarian removes her notions of the traditional library as her ideal. There is an excellent example of a young adult library wing, albeit not in a school library setting, that I think highlights the points Loertscher is making about flipping the script.

I encourage readers to check out the San Francisco Public Library wing called “The Mix” which is created for and by young adults. The Mix is described as “The Mix at SFPL is an innovative, youth-designed, 21st-century teen learning space”. Among other resources, the Mix offers a DJ studio, a radio mix lab, and a wide range of devices for young people to engage with content. Not to mention the furniture which is incredibly teen-friendly. There are aspects of the Mix that remind of the library we learned about in the Module 4 lecture, the Rok.

The Mix is a great example of the kind of “learning revolution” that Robinson refers to when describing what is necessary for students to become and sustain a lifetime of learning. The library can and should be such a space that sparks a revolution in the minds of young people and it is disheartening when such spaces languish and go underused because they are less than welcome or they aren’t space that allows students to engage with a multimedia approach to their curiosity and learning.


Maker Space Drop-in. (1970, January 01). Retrieved from

Richardson, W. (2016, May 14). 16 Modern Realities Schools (and Parents) Need to Accept. Now. Retrieved from

Robinson, K. (n.d.). Bring on the learning revolution! Retrieved from

Travis Jonker on October 7, 2017, Brigid Alverson on October 7, 2017, Roxanne Hsu Feldman on October 7, 2017, Lori Henderson on October 7, 2017, Robin Willis on October 6, 2017, Sarah Couri on October 6, 2017, . . . Roger Sutton on October 5, 2017. (2015, January 12). Flip This Library: School Libraries Need a Revolution. Retrieved from

Book Review: The Shallows by Nicholas Carr


Course Context:
One dominant theme of the Hyperlinked Library (Info 287) course thus far has been the tension that arises in libraries and communities over the speed of change, especially as it relates to technology.

We learned from our foundation readings ( Buckland, M. (1992). Redesigning library services: A manifesto, Casey, M. E., & Savastinuk, L. C. (2007). Library 2.0: A guide to participatory library service, Mathews, B. (2012). Think like a startup.) that change in libraries is inevitable. Change can either be embraced as a catalyst to better meet user needs or as the source of seemingly endless conflict and strife within the library organization. The authors of our foundational readings point out that when we resist change we ultimately end up shortchanging library users because we aren’t meeting their needs at the pace that is required. We need to be nimble and one part of being dexterous is accepting and understanding technology.

Prof. Stephens has made the point in various module lectures that technology itself doesn’t indicate change (ie: “hyperlinked libraries are about people, not about technology”) but it is how we choose to employ technology in the library that is the key to the success of the hyperlinked library. Prof. Stephens states that books are the “library brand” of the past and that we need to begin to rebrand our core “product” to include all of the ways that our patrons need to access and analyze information, most notably online.

The Shallows: What The Internet Is Doing To Our Brains by Nicolas Carr has tremendous applicability to the themes we are exploring in the Hyperlinked Library course.  

Prof. Stephen’s introduced the class to a book by John Palfrey called Born Digital which focuses on the implications of technology on a generation of people who have never lived in a world without the internet.

I read Born Digital and it reads as almost an epilogue to Carr’s The Shallows because the Shadows clearly outlines what the internet is doing to all of our brains, regardless of generation, and the changing ways we learn as a result of spending so much time online.

The author, Nicolas Carr, takes on a number of themes and challenges that librarians grapple with as we seek to create the library 2.0 and embrace participatory design in our libraries. Carr claims that society will only become more complex with increased user connectivity in the future and this clearly has an impact on the libraries we are seeking to create.

Carr provides explanation and more in-depth analysis of the impact of the internet on learning a lecture he gave at Harvard in 2012.

In The Shallows, the author asks, “Is Google making us stupid?” and while he doesn’t come down definitively on one side of the question, Carr does present a compelling range of scientific evidence that if Google isn’t making us stupid it is, at a minimum, changing the way our brains work. The book serves, first and foremost, as an account of the brain science related to memory and attention in our increasingly technology-laden world.

Carr presents two disparate understandings from the field of neuroscience on how the brain functions. First, Carr explains and dismantles the long-held notion that the brain becomes fixed at a certain age (long before adulthood) and is unchangeable in its ability and form after it calcifies.  Carr then contrasts this view to the recent conception that the brain is plastic and that this plasticity creates a mental environment that can respond to trauma (in the extreme cases) but also can be rewired in relationship to new activities and oft-repeated mental tasks.

Carr provides evidence of the brain’s plasticity by providing examples of studies done over the past 50 years on lab animals and humans; he presents striking examples of taxi drivers in London who have visibly larger segments of their brain where spatial memory is held compared to those brain areas of the general population due to the overuse of spatial reasoning of the taxi drivers. He writes about stroke victims who, after eight-hour days of constantly repeated tasks, end up regaining sensation and movement in limbs due to the fact that the patients have essentially re-trained, and even more significantly, physically reshaped, their brains. 

Researcher Michael Merzenich provides more information about the internet and brain plasticity in this Ted Talk from 2004.

While the brain science and subsequent studies on plasticity are interesting, what do they have to do with technology, literacy development, and library science work? It turns out, the rise of technology and the near ubiquitous use of the internet, has fundamentally altered the brains of many library users. Carr claims that the tools we once employed for reading in a linear fashion or the insularity of spending time alone with a book are no longer the tools we employ when we engage with text on the internet, especially hyperlinked text.

Carr makes the necessary distinctions between digital natives and those who migrated from the analog world to the digital world and he claims that the adult brain (the non-digital native) has gained some proficiencies but not without cost. John Palfrey’s Born Digital explains the implications of technology on learning when the learner hasn’t experienced any other conditions whereas Carr focuses more on those of us who have transitioned from a pre-internet to the post-internet world.

Carr examines the constant need for a “hit” of information and the ways we’ve adapted our reading to be fast moving the way we approach reading without the intention of wanting or needing to read long and detailed text passages. Carr interviews graduate students who rhetorically ask, “Why would I spend time reading the entire book when I could just read the summary online? It is more efficient that way.” Like many non-natives, Carr laments the fact that he feels he has lost his ability to concentrate deeply and spend sustained time with one idea or one text. Carr presents digital natives as having brains that are wired (due to repetition and constant interaction with technology) to read in nonlinear ways and to scan text rather than read deeply and for complex meaning.

Carr finds a correlation between the studies of brain plasticity and the fact that we using our brains in new and unchartered ways when we use technology. He claims that we can’t help but be reshaping the chemistry and connections in our brains in response to the technologies we spend so much time with. Carr frequently refers to Marshall McLuhan, the self-proclaimed father of Media Studies, when pointing to the ways that the “medium and the message” are intertwined. Like McLuhan, Carr comes to the conclusion in The Shallows that we are not as able as we may think to separate from our machines because we may actually be altering our biology and brain chemistry in response to technology and, as a result, we may be shifting to act and “think”, or at least mirror and emulate, our tools.

The Shallows pulls the cover off many of the essential questions and challenges of the hyperlinked library:

  • How do we encourage participatory design while holding on the importance of analog resource in a high-tech culture?
  • How can the internet foster “radical transparency” in the library?
  • How can librarians incorporate and embrace technology without abandoning over modes of learning and interaction?  What can the analog resources in a library offer what technological resources can’t?
  • How should we adapt our libraries to respond to the fact that library users are re-shaping their brains and mental agility through interaction with technology?

My main take-a-way after reading The Shallows was that I am more convinced than ever that these questions need to be explored head on and that librarians seeking to create a truly hyperlinked library ought to understand and adapt to the reality that the internet is unequivocally changing how each of thinks and learns. Librarians are uniquely qualified to raise these issues in our communities and organizations. We need to use the studies that Carr presents on technology and its impact on literacy and learning from brain science fields to inform our design and implementation decisions for library strategic plans and policies. The fast pace of change online and in our hardware options is not going to change. We need to accept it and, as Casey states in Library 2.0,  we need to view these changes as positive drivers rather than obstacles to maintaining the status quo. We ought to create libraries for the users we have, not the users we want or used to have.


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

Carr, N. G. (2011). The Shallows: What the Internet is doing to our brains. New York, NY: Norton.

Carr, Nicholas. “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” The July/August 2008. 19 August 2008.

Casey, M. E., & Savastinuk, L. C. (2009). Library 2.0: A guide to participatory library service. Medford, NJ: Information Today.

Dr. Michael Merzenich, PhD. (2017, January 23). Retrieved September 17, 2017, from

The Official Site for the Estate of Marshall McLuhan. (n.d.). Retrieved September 17, 2017, from

Palfrey, J. G., & Gasser, U. (2011). Born digital: Understanding the first generation of digital natives. Sydney: Read How You Want.

Participatory design. (2017, September 17). Retrieved September 17, 2017, from

REED, P. (2015). Technology and the contemporary library. Insights: The UKSG Journal, 28(2), 81-86. doi:10.1629/uksg.244


Foundational Readings: Module 2

Design Thinking and Library 2.0

The foundational readings for modules 1 and 2 left me thinking about a few key themes that I imagine will come up again and again in this course on the hyperlinked library. The readings for these modules included:

The themes and questions that come to mind for me after reading these pieces relate primarily to the intersection of the technological advances of the past decade with the structures of the “analog” library and the role of the user in the design of future library methods and organization. Buchwald states in his manifesto that the “future of library services arouses both excitement and unease.” The ways we deal with our discomfort and accept and welcome change will help us to create the libraries that our users deserve.

I was reminded throughout Mathews’ article Think like a startup and Casey’s Library 2.0: A guide to participatory library service of the concepts of design thinking and user-centered design principles. I currently work in public education and in the past five years or so, the concepts and theories of design thinking have begun to permeate the field. In particular, the Stanford Design School has created a range of industry specific tools for organizations to address challenges such as the use of techniques such as ideation, prototyping, reflection, and enacting a model.  The articles for this module don’t explicitly name design thinking as such but they do highlight that design thinking principles have and continue to inform the work of creating the next phase library (library 2.0).

The Matthew’s article struck me as coming from a design thinking modality in that he argues that a successful library is one that adapts to the needs of users, acts rather than waits for perfection, and learns from challenges and enacted solutions. He argues that similar to a start up culture, libraries need to be ready for and embrace “constant change.”  The design thinking theories require that decision makers get out of the mode of tinkering around the edges (like in the vacuum example that he provides)  and instead be ready to accept that the solution may exist outside of constructs that feel familiar and comfortable. He writes that “evolution is happening” and we can either accept and direct it or we can be victims of change and watch as libraries wither around us. Mathewes provides a few concrete examples of libraries who have approached change from a dynamic and positive perspective. The D. H. Hill Library Learning Commons and the NCSU Libraries are examples of such libraries where the organizations didn’t run from change or, to use Mathew’s vacuum analogy, didn’t try to adapt the solution to the known, but instead welcomed the chance to define and create a new solution.

Another aspect of design-thinking that I found in each of the foundational readings is that of user-centered design principles. The core argument in Casey’s Library 2.0: A guide to participatory library service is that we can’t address user needs if we don’t know what they are and if we don’t have tools to understand and measure user needs we can’t design libraries for the future. The book outlines a number of such tools including surveys, but the authors are quick to point out that administering a user or patron survey is not the same as being responsive to the genuinely expressed needs and interest of users. Often, the authors argue, we try to fit our existing methods, tools, and library organizational systems to match to user needs rather than being willing to fundamentally shift our structures.  The libraries featured in Library 2.0 seek to address the question: “How can libraries support 21st century learners?”

One example of participatory service-oriented design is the Gwinnett County Public Library’s Rock the Shelves band night. The library system determined that users were interested in using the library as a social space and as vehicle to deepening a sense of community.  The Gwinnett Library case study is a strong example of phase two of most design thinking process which consists of generating ideas from users. The Gwinnett County Public Library, and others who consider themselves to be enacting library 2.0 principles, aim to be the “intellectual soul of the community.”

The article that I struggled with this most in terms of finding immediate relevance to the current challenge in creating 2.0 library was Buckland, M. (1992), Redesigning library services: A manifesto. I found the article to be interesting because, in many aspects, it reads as a timeless foreshadowing to the themes and issues outlined in the Library 2.0 book. While I understand that the manifesto is meant to be a more theoretical approach to change and preservation in libraries, I was distracted by some of the examples given because they felt dated in our current context.  For example, the discussion of electronic records does not take into account “born digital” sources and records which, obviously, did not exist when Buchwald was writing. Buchwald’s manifesto does fit into the design thinking paradigm in that the manifesto restates the importance of user-centered library design, in spite of the somewhat antiquated examples he provides. Buchwald’s manifesto presents a clear “emphasis on service to library users. Libraries are, essentially, utilitarian constructs. That which tends toward the greatest happiness of the greatest number is good; that which does not is bad. Libraries exist to serve and to be used.” Again, in spite of the specific examples from 1992 that aren’t as relevant today, the guiding philosophy of the manifesto feels fresh in the context of a discussion of library 2.0.

Buchwald claims that we are “losing the interest of our users. We no longer consistently offer the services our users want. We are resistant to changing services that we consider traditional or fundamental to library service. We are no longer the first place many of our current and potential customers look for information.”  Buchwald’s warnings about not keeping users at the center of our decision making and the organizational structures of libraries are echoed decades later in Mathewes Think Like a Startup.

After reading the foundational texts for these modules, I am left feeling curious about the ways that forward thinking libraries have approached using design thinking, if at all.  I would like to research and learn more about design-thinking informed library policies and programs.



Welcome and Hello Fellow Classmates!

Hello! I am looking forward to this course because I want to become more well-versed in the tools that librarians use to create a more hyperlinked experience for users. I am in my final semester of the MLIS program. I took a semester off last spring and I started in Winter 2016. I’ve done the program full time while also working full time for the San Francisco Unified School District as an administrator. I decided to do the MLIS program because I am interested in the variety of careers that the MLIS degree will allow me to access and I think it will be a good degree to have for any future career change that I may plot in the future. I am particularly interested in archive work and academic libraries. Last spring I moved to Little Rock, AK to do an MLIS internship at the Clinton Presidential Library where I worked as a NARA intern and did preservation work and FOIA processing. I am really interested in the intersection of FOIA (Freedom of Information Act), federal records law, and technology. I am deeply interested in the kinds of questions that arise in the public sector around the balance of privacy and commitment to open access of records to the public.