Something I have been reading about within our course’s foundational readings and in other student’s blogging, is this idea of resistance to change among librarians and library staff. This fascinates me. Having yet to work inside a library, I have only my narrowest impressions and assumptions to build upon, but I suppose it makes some sense. In Into a New World of Librarianship (2006) Michael Stephens outlines important traits of a connected librarian, including one who is both an “embracer” and a trendspotter.” The effective, active librarian of today must be not only receptive to but a facilitator of change. That isn’t to say that we need to adopt every shiny new toy that comes into fashion (whatever happened to all the unused Zunes?!), but rather we need to be making informed, educated decisions about the best technology that makes the best fit for our patrons.
A term that I feel compelled to use here is “digital humanities.” The more I understand about libertarianism in 2017, the more I am tempted to include our profession within this context. Both libraries and the digital humanities are interdisciplinary spaces, and librarianship, at least in the way were are being instructed, is a human process in both research and service, and is ever more reliant on fresh technologies to remain relevant and competitive. We need to understand the human condition to best serve our patrons, and we need to use the best available resources to do so.
I think what we can focus on as hyperlinked librarians, as digital humanitarians, as humanists, is to tell better stories. By that, I mean we need to focus on being the sense-makers in a world that has long since stopped making sense. As Daniel Weinberger notes, “If you want understanding, you have to reenter the human world of stories.” We aren’t just here to dump information – we are here to help our patrons make sense of the worlds they are building in their research and exploration. Professor Stephens remarked in his lecture The Hyperlinked Library Model (2017), “we are not talking about tech, we are talking about people.” The hyperlinked library is not about the technologies we use – it’s about the needs of the people who use these technologies. A hyperlinked library – a humanistic, connected library – anticipates the needs of its patrons and responds accordingly. It can be said then, that the link in hyperlink is about human connection.
Stephens, M. (2006). Into a new world of librarianship. Next Space, The OCLC Newsletter, 2, 5 Retrieved from http://www.oclc.org/content/dam/oclc/publications/newsletters/nextspace/nextspace_002.pdf
Stephens, M. (2017). The Hyperlinked Libaray [Panopto recording]. Retrieved from https://sjsu-ischool.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=2d0f28cc-2337-4aaf-ae88-4f133c509f67
Weinberger, D. (2001). The hyperlinked organization. In C. Locke, R. Levine, D. Searls, & D. Weinberger, The cluetrain manifesto: The end of business as usual (115-159). New York: Basic Books.