One thing that stood out to me when reading about the hyperlinked library model was space. Space, as in the area that the library provides for patrons to use. The space provided isn’t always about the physical area. It also reflects the library’s ideas through the atmosphere. Libraries who abide by strict rules and require a certain level of silence don’t always have a welcoming atmosphere. Libraries who have created a community space are much more welcoming. More and more I think about libraries as a place for doing things, for learning how to 3D print in a maker space, collaborating with friends, or taking a cooking class. Libraries can be that “third place” for the community to gather and learn.
I really liked reading about the “unquiet” library at Creekview High School in Georgia. This library has provided a space that reflects what the students at the school need. Technology isn’t always isolating. For the students at Creekview High, the use of their cell phones in library activities has brought them together and allowed for more conversation.
What stood out to me about the “unquiet” library was that these school librarians were creating a space that reflected how the students were learning and communicating. The students were used to using their cell phones for communication, so why not create a library activity that used their cell phones? It shows that libraries and librarians can grow and change with their communities in order to create a space that reflects how information is exchanged through technology and beyond. Students and young people are used to using technology in all aspects of their lives. Prohibiting them from using it for education only hinders their creativity.
The physical space provided by libraries matters, whether in the library’s building or through outreach . Librarians create an atmosphere through their rules and attitudes. I have the opportunity to go out to elementary schools and work with students directly through my library’s mobile van. For me, our van rules are more like guidelines. I’d much rather let the students check out what they want then tell them they are only allowed 2 books at a time. Being more relaxed has allowed me to create a relationship with the students that has them coming back each week and participating in my activities. Many of them can’t get to our main library and I have plans to start bringing more of the library to them. (We have a mini MakerBot that is perfect for taking on the road!) I think that welcoming technology into the fold and creating a space that moves beyond the traditional silent library is important in building a community space.