I loved the readings for this module, along with the excellent lecture ending with finger guns caused by iced tea consumption. Truly incredible, and the humor made it all the more engaging.
I’d like to talk about my own personal experiences with hyperlinked communities in the library. A couple years ago I used to volunteer regularly (once or twice a week, every week) at the local public library. I live in Oakland, California, so as you can imagine in a large city, there’s several libraries. At the main branch I assisted in planting, watering, maintaining and cleaning the container gardens outside the children’s room. I truly enjoyed this experience, as I love gardening, but when I started volunteering at the Cesar Chavez library branch in the Fruitvale district, I noticed some significant differences. For one, the Fruitvale branch has a much higher population of latinx folks than the rest of Oakland, and the library reflects that. They’re the only Oakland Public Library branch to have a seed library in the building!
I would come in weekly to maintain the seed library (a card-catalog re-purposed to hold seeds of culturally appropriate foods for the community), replenish the flyers, water the container gardens, harvest some tomatoes, beans, peppers, and basil. It was great. But what I noticed at this library was the community engagement surrounding it. On every Wednesday, a group of mothers, grandmothers, and women would come in, sit near the children’s play area, and make crafts together. Sometimes it was sewing, other times it was making puppets for Dios de la Muerte, and other times it was crafts. Every week I came, regardless of it there were children there or not, those women were there, sitting together, talking with one another, and building things together. It’s obviously stuck with me because it was one of the first times I really recognized the library as a community meeting spot, as a place where those that live in the community come to gather, share stories, and participate. The library felt more alive than the other branches to me, as I was seeing a hyperlinked community in action, and to me it became a real and essential part of the library’s identity.
Bonus photo from their facebook page: