Annie’s Hyperlinked Library Blog

Just another #hyperlib Learning Community Sites site

Reflection: Choose Your Own Adventure—Museums and Archives

From what I have seen of the blog posts that have started to appear in my feed, it looks like many of us have enjoyed choosing our own adventures for this module (and, I imagine, a lot of us have a hefty dose of nostalgia for the theme!). In my case, I found that this was a great chance to examine technology and participatory services outside of public libraries. It was great fun to look at the way some museums and archives are moving towards the future, both by bringing their collections to the public in a virtual environment and inviting visitors to experience and contribute to their sites in person in new ways.

I felt particularly drawn to the article about the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and how they are incorporating smartphone use for their users through both social media and a revamped, mobile-friendly website. Their digital media manager noted that their efforts to draw people in through their devices have led to increased foot traffic as well as engagement because people are looking for actual experiences, so while it would be easy to think that providing collections and virtual tours online would reduce the number of actual visitors, that has not been their experience. (Titlow, 2016). Of course, that experience was shared pre-COVID; now many museums have been incorporating new opportunities to draw in online crowds during lockdowns, leaving those of us looking for online experiences much to explore. It’s easy to spend hours walking the world’s museums and archives—without any decrease in the desire to visit in perso— but I wanted to share a few I particularly enjoyed, all from my own mobile device.

Now that live options are becoming possible again, there are many opportunities to use personal devices within museums and archives, as well. I am really excited by the prospect of using my smartphone and augmented reality to play seek and find games similar to Pokémon Go in a museum. Another example of the use of AR, the Smithsonian’s Skin & Bones app, allows users to download an app to their smartphones that turns their visit into an interactive experience, bringing their displays to life and letting the user explore additional information.

For me, the most exciting opportunity for engagement in museums and archives is the opportunity to contribute. I have used tools like the National Archives Citizen Archivist Dashboard, which invites users to participate in the tagging and transcription of records in order to increase access, to take a more active role in my own research interests. There is also potential to use mobile devices for this kind of community activity. Smartphones are being recognized as tools to increase digital access, as the number of smartphone users in the world could potentially be a powerful force for digitizing material and modern smartphone cameras can produce images near the quality of professional digitization equipment (Leetaru, 2015). Encouraging the use of technology in this way not only advances the mission of the archive, it also engages the users in a different way and gives them a deeper connection to the archive and the community. The future of museums and archives will see users as both as visitors and as contributors and prioritize ways to include them.

References:

Leetaru, K. (2015, November 8). Digitizing the world’s libraries using smartphones. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/kalevleetaru/2015/11/08/digitizing-the-worlds-libraries-using-smartphones/?sh=40710f451b0f

Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. (2015, January 26). Skin and bones promotional video [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7agVb4IG16M&t=21s

Titlow, J.P. (2016, February 29). How a 145-year-old art museum stays relevant in the smartphone age. Fast Company. https://www.fastcompany.com/3057236/how-a-145-year-old-art-museum-stays-relevant-in-the-smartphone-age

Reflection: Hyperlinked Communities

Earlier this week, I made a short trip to Maastricht, Netherlands, with a family member who is visiting from the U.S. It was a timely trip for me because she is a photographer and social media manager, which gave me a chance to talk (through a lot of road trip hours) about the use of Instagram for creating community in the way we read about in Five ways libraries are using Instagram to share collections and draw public interest. That is definitely not an area of expertise for me, but she had a lot to share about the amount of engagement her clients get from social media, primarily Instagram, but also Facebook, TikTok, Pinterest, and even e-mail newsletters for those who are less engaged with social media.

Unfortunately, I can’t embed my Instagram post here,
but I put up some photos today so everyone could see this amazing Maastricht bookstore.
It features books in multiple languages for its very international community
and it also has a coffee shop and workspaces.
On Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/CUAG8ipInI8/

I’m a reluctant social media user, but it gave me some perspective about meeting people where they are rather than where I want them to be, as mentioned by Schneider (2006). The opportunity to serve people who need it in so many different ways is exciting, but it’s also overwhelming; there are so many people to reach digitally, and to build such community online involves intentional engagement. I know it works, though; I love following the Allen County Public Library and both the U.S. and U.K National Archives for images from their collections, especially, but also love the interior photos and hearing about their events.

Of course, the online environment is just part of creating community. There were so many interesting examples in the readings about ways libraries are meeting people where they are and where they are needed, but I found that Do you want to dance? Inclusion and belonging in libraries and beyond especially relatable in so many ways, having been both an international student and someone who has moved to a country where I couldn’t necessarily find buildings by their signage (Lauersen, 2018). I love the ideas mentioned for integrating international students—my experience was exactly as he described, with international students creating their own communities and not participating in the larger one. l found the library’s outreach a wonderful example of inclusion and an amazing way to give students the kind of buy-in that helps build community. It may only be one way to reach potential users, but as was noted, inspiring feelings of belonging is a powerful way to start, online and for in person programming.

References:

Lauersen, C. (2018, June 7). Do you want to dance? Inclusion and belonging in the libraries and beyond. The Library Lab. https://christianlauersen.net/2018/06/07/inclusion-and-belonging-in-libraries-and-beyond/

Schneider, K.G. (2006, June 3). The user is not broken: A meme masquerading as a manifesto. Free Range Librarian. http://freerangelibrarian.com/2006/06/03/the-user-is-not-broken-a-meme-masquerading-as-a-manifesto/

Williams, S. (2014, April 16). Five ways libraries are using Instagram to share collections and draw public interest. London School of Economics. https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2014/04/16/five-ways-libraries-are-using-instagram/

Context Book Review: Quiet

Are you an introvert, an extrovert, or an ambivert?

The way each of us work, communicate, socialize, and recharge is largely influenced by where we fall on this spectrum, but each of these personality types is not viewed equally in the United States. In Quiet, Susan Cain describes the Extrovert Ideal as “the omnipresent belief that the ideal self is gregarious, alpha, and comfortable in the spotlight” (Cain, 2012, p. 4). Introverts, who tend to be more introspective, sensitive, and risk averse, have been reduced to being viewed as a suboptimal personality type. Cain, however, argues that this is a mistake, as seeing extroverts as the exclusive leaders and drivers of creative change devalues and limits a sizable number of people. While extroverts may have a greater capacity to take risks and make quick decisions, introverts have unique personality traits and the potential to make significant contributions to leadership, creativity, and innovation in their organizations, including in the evolving conception of library services, where their personality type can enhance communication and relationships with their community members, contribute to the creation of more useful physical spaces, and be a driving force in implementing change.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Creating Connection with Library Users

Creating a participatory culture in the library “demands that cultural and information professionals play an active, visible role” in their communities (Stephens, 2016, p. 80). While that might seem to be at odds with an introverted personality, some aspects of this personality type are actually ideally suited to creating these human connections. It isn’t that introverts are anti-social, but that they socialize in different ways.

The socializing habits of introverts can be an advantage in hyperlinked library service, as one major way they excel socially is in creating relationships in the digital environment. Introverts are actually more likely than extroverts to embrace the chance to communicate online and are also more likely to share personal details about themselves in virtual conversations. They will often spend time in online discussions and build online relationships that become live relationships (Cain, 2012, p. 63). In a library organization that is trying to create a culture of participation in a digital environment, the tendency of introverts towards expressing themselves openly and sharing in virtual communications is an asset to building relationships with users. An introvert with an interest in social media may be the ideal person to, as Casey described it, “move beyond the idea of just talking to our community to actually engaging them” (2011).

Photo by Anthony Da Cruz on Unsplash

Creating Spaces for Everyone

Despite the library moving into the digital world, research shows that creating attractive physical space is still a critical component in engaging library users (Leferink, 2018). The implications for integrating introverts and extroverts in shared work spaces extends beyond personal interaction; it affects the physical space they share, as well. While the trend moves towards open and collaborative working environments, Cain notes that this is a model that can stifle creativity and is not always suitable for all personality types, as introverts are more likely to prefer working alone (2012).

It is important for anyone designing physical libraries to keep in mind that the way both staff and community members work best will vary, and that any new spaces should facilitate both collaborative and solitary work (Leferink, 2018). This doesn’t benefit only introverts, of course, but flexible library spaces and furniture that can be rearranged to suit differing work styles and evolving needs is important in any new library design. Rather than asking if areas like quiet rooms are still necessary, considering needs of diverse users will lead to spaces that suit everyone.

Making Changes

Library 2.0 calls for the creation of an environment where calculated change is constantly being made, and an important part of creating that change is making sure that staff feels invested in those changes, too (Casey, 2007). But how does one do that with staff members who may not gravitate towards change?

Curiously, while introverts are characterized as being more risk averse, the reality is more complicated than that. While introverts are less likely to take big risks than extroverts, they have proven themselves to be superior at assessing the value of taking risks and are more likely than extroverts to take risks that lead to bigger rewards (Cain, 2012, p. 162). While introverts are overall not smarter than extroverts, their personality type lends to critical thinking and mindful decision making, which is perhaps an advantage in librarianship, where the need to evaluate existing structures, identify trends, and think carefully about library practice are essential in moving libraries forward (Stephens, 2016).

Overall, workplace teams benefit when they are composed of varying personality types in order to capitalize on the natural strengths of each. However, introverted leaders may have an advantage in organizations that are trying to implement change: studies show that introverted leaders are more likely to give their teams the space to create and implement new ideas (Cain, 2012, p. 93).

Hyperlinked Librarianship for all Personality Types

With at least one third to one half of people identifying as introverts, all of us will either work with or serve this personality type, or will perhaps have to learn how best to fit our own personalities into an information organization (Cain herself has some tips for introverts in the workplace in the video below). Regardless of personality type, however, her personal philosophy on relationships is similar to that at what lies at the heart of the hyperlinked library model. As she writes, “Love is essential; gregariousness is optional. Cherish your nearest and dearest. Work with colleagues you like and respect…Relationships make everyone happier, introverts included, but think quality over quantity” (Cain, 2012, p. 264). Communicating, creating and nurturing quality connections, and understanding how we can value each other’s unique contributions will create a more useful and engaging future library for all of us.

References:

Cain, S. (2012). Quiet : The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking. Crown Publishers.

Casey, M. (2011, October 20). Revisiting participatory service in trying times: A TTW guest post by Michael Casey. Tame the Web. https://tametheweb.com/2011/10/20/revisiting-participatory-service-in-trying-times-a-ttw-guest-post-by-michael-casey/

Casey, M. E., & Savastinuk, L. C. (2007). Library 2.0 : A guide to participatory library service. Information Today.

Grant, A. (2018, March 9). Quiz: Are you an extrovert, introvert or ambivert? Ted. https://ideas.ted.com/quiz-are-you-an-extrovert-introvert-or-ambivert/

Houson, E. (2021, February 27). Introvert vs extrovert: A look at the spectrum and psychology. Positive Psychology. https://positivepsychology.com/introversion-extroversion-spectrum/

Leferink, S. (2018, January 24). To keep people happy…keep some books. Next. https://blog.oclc.org/next/to-keep-people-happy-keep-some-books/

London Business Forum. (2017, April 7). Susan Cain – Leading introverts [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiLWwtqunpw

Stephens, M. (2016). The heart of librarianship: attentive, positive, and purposeful change. American Library Association.

Sullivan, M. (2017, July 20). Designing for community: 10 essential library spaces. Demco Interiors. https://www.demcointeriors.com/blog/designing-community-10-essential-library-spaces/

Reflection: The Hyperlinked Library Model

Coming from a youth and community services background, I have been surprised and impressed with the way libraries are reinventing their services and adjusting the way they use their space in order to better accommodate and serve their patrons. The library environment has the potential to be incredibly dynamic with open-minded staff who are willing to try new things.

Our readings have been consistent in their encouragement towards open, collaborative library services and use, but there were some that really stood out to me. The article ”Do we need libraries?” offered a number of approaches for ways to move library services forward, but focused heavily on the importance of finding ways to “delight” library users. Delight actually seems like a high bar, but I was particularly struck with the Unquiet Library concept at Creekview High School in Georgia. Teens are often a difficult group to engage, but their librarians have found successful ways to meet high schoolers where they are and give them a space that meets their needs, while also achieving the instructional goals they have set. Their willingness to alter the traditional school library setting seems to have provided the delight that encourages the students to participate and use their services.

My perception of library and information work has changed considerably in the last year. I did not see myself in public librarianship when I started the program, but I enjoy the kind of relationship building, change, and innovation that happens in community programming and I’m coming to realize that it might be a better fit than I previously believed. Watching libraries pivot and adjust their programs during lockdowns has shown that they are still providing meaningful services to their communities, along with a lot of delight in the form of virtual story hours and programs and delivering books to their patrons in a different way.

While it’s still a bit hard to imagine a return to normal life, I imagine there will also be a lot of delight in finding ways to connect with one another in a physical space in the future. While I was considering ways that might happen, I thought about the after hours library services and wondered what libraries have been doing in terms of adult programming. If anyone is interested, this video is a bit long, but I loved some of their ideas (library laser tag!). Creating opportunity for connection among all age groups is an exciting proposition for the future.

References:

Denning, S. (2015, April 28). Do we need libraries? Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2015/04/28/do-we-need-libraries/?linkId=13831539&utm_campaign=ForbesTech&utm_channel=Technology&utm_medium=social&utm_source=TWITTER&sh=4edea6466cd7

Mathews, B. (2010, June 21). Unquiet Library has high schoolers geeked. American Libraries. https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2010/06/21/unquiet-library-has-high-schoolers-geeked/

Programming Librarian. (2019, May 22). Library after dark: After-hours programming for adults [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ng_n2E41kc

Introduction

Hello everyone!

My name is Annie and I decided to take this course on the recommendation of a friend who really enjoyed it last semester. She told me that this course is what you make of it and I love to explore, so I’m excited to get started.

I am a Californian living overseas, just south of Frankfurt, Germany. I have been there with my family for the last eight years and we think that our time in Germany is coming to a close, so we’re starting to think about what comes next. We have really enjoyed traveling all over Europe, which has included a lot of library visits. The photos in the header are of the main library in Stuttgart, Germany, a bookstore in Obidos, Portugal, and the British Library. The photo above is of my kids (several years ago—they’re much bigger now!) in the children’s section of the main library in Turku, Finland.

We suspect that we will be serial expats, so I’m very interested in global possibilities within the LIS professions. While I have been leaning towards archival work, I have previously worked in community/youth programming and am really open to all paths right now. My husband is a video game developer, so we talk a lot about how technology and creativity can contribute to learning, but I’m really looking forward to exploring how those ideas can be applied to a larger audience through library services.

Looking forward to getting to know you all throughout the semester.