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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

7 Comments

  1. Eileen Wu

    Hi Annie,
    Thank you for your thoughtful reflections! I also found the articles “Do We Need Libraries” and “The Unquiet Library Has High-Schoolers Geeked” very interesting and informative. The change you have gone through regarding what type of librarianship you will engage in, is great! This past year with Covid has changed all our perspectives on librarianship. You made a great post!

    • Annie Papy

      Thank you, Eileen! I don’t know where I will end up, but COVID has definitely been a catalyst for a lot of changes in my life (and I’m sure most everyone else, too!). Thank you for reading. 🙂

  2. Trilby

    I agree with you. I worked in a public library for several years before moving to an academic one. When I first made the move, I loved it and thought I would never go back to public library work. Over the last year of this MLIS program, I have been feeling very frustrated with the academic library. I feel like we don’t really help people and the community. Not in the ways that we’ve learned about in our readings. I am now recalling how much I enjoyed helping and connecting with people. Whereas the academic library feels like it is filled with barriers and restrictions. Library laser tag! How fantastic is that!!

    • Annie Papy

      Trilby, I can imagine your frustration and I’m sorry that your academic library has become a source of frustration. I really never saw myself taking up programming again, but it can be really gratifying when you’re reaching your intended audience and helping people.

      I am going to be the first one signing up for library laser tag!

  3. Michael Stephens

    @annie It’s very cool you are drawn to programming in the PL setting. One of my favorite pandemic examples has been from my former employer – the St Joseph County Public Library. Joe – a friend from back in the day – has recorded “Saturday Night Stories” every week:

    https://www.facebook.com/watch/126581663534/549850815664139/

    • Annie Papy

      @michael What a neat idea! We watched a lot of library story hours early in the pandemic, but one for adults is fun. I just listened to one and my older kids (teens) are intrigued.

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