Hyperlinked Loria

December 2, 2020

A Work of Heart

Filed under: Uncategorized — by @ 2:13 am

The Reflective Practice module really hit home with a lot of emotional points for me, which I suppose has truly been the underlying premise of the Hyperlinked Library course. As many others will confess, 2020 has been particularly grueling. For much of the year, I felt that rather than coming together (in a socially-distanced manner) and overcoming the challenges, many felt pitted against one another. There was anger and frustration, and I believe a lot of that was (and continues to be) fueled by fear. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, let alone the next hour, but the risks scare us and so we act defensively- it seems only natural. Listening and reading about soft skills reminded me just how important these skills are in simply being a good human being, but also how they can and should be applied to being a good leader.

In Livia Gershon’s article, “The Future is Emotional,” she writes, “A growing real-world demand for workers with empathy and talent for making other people feel at ease requires a serious shift in perspective. It means moving away from our singular focus on academic performance as to the road to success. It means giving more respect, and better pay, to workers too often generically dismissed as ‘unskilled labor.” Working with the public comes with all sorts of uncharted territory. As we have said several times before, libraries are safe havens for all, including people who may have specific emotional needs. Being compassionate and understanding how to approach people is key to maintaining that safe haven environment. It’s not something we can learn from a textbook- the soft skills are something that go much deeper than a text can. It comes from experience, it comes from patience, but most importantly, it comes from the heart. 

What shook me to my core in reading this article is Gershon’s point about police training. She writes, “Police officers, for example, spend 80 percent of their time on ‘service-related functions,’ according to George T. Patterson, a social work scholar in New York who consults with police departments. Every day, officers arrive at families’ footsteps to mediate disputes and respond to mental-health crises. Yet training at US police departments focuses almost exclusively on weapons use, defence tactics, and criminal law. Predictably, there are regular reports of people calling the police for help with a confused family member who’s wandering in traffic, only to see their loved one shot down in front of them.” It’s painful to note that this article was written three years before the horrible events that have taken place in just the last few months.

Tapping into our emotional skills and connecting with people in that way is a way to remind them that we are so much more than a title or a job. We’re people who go through similar things, feel similar feelings, and think similar thoughts. Approaching difficult situations with a level head, understanding, and compassion could quite literally save lives. In the midst of this pandemic, I think remembering that this is something everyone is going through is important. Everyone deserves some patience, a listening ear, and maybe even a headnod to show you understand. The simplest things go such a long way.

I will not be walking away from the Hyperlinked Library course empty-handed. I truly feel like I needed this course at this point in my life. I found that exploring the modules were moments in my week that I looked forward to. The articles (and all of my classmates’ thoughtful discussion posts!) reminded me why I’m working so hard to be in this field. It’s easy to get frustrated with work and bogged down by depressing news, but it’s important to immerse yourself in positivity, and that’s truly what this course offered. I guess this is just my way of saying thank you 🙂

I also wanted to include a very quick note about librarians being dog-people and just how true a statement that is. Making sure a pet is happy, loved, and taken care of so they can live their best life- is that not the perfect way to approach a service-oriented job? (I also can never resist an opportunity to mention my sweet pups- pictured below with my husband and me, in what was a rough attempt at a timer-set family portrait this Thanksgiving. Note Beesly’s tongue!).


“The Future is Emotional” by Livia Gershon: https://aeon.co/essays/the-key-to-jobs-in-the-future-is-not-college-but-compassion

“Talk About Compassion” by Michael Stephens: https://287.hyperlib.sjsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/StephensWholeheartedDozer.pdf


  1. I feel the same way, Ashley, about the optimum timing of this course and the injection of positivity from the content and interactions with classmates. And may I say, you have some handsome/adorable pups! We had a Pembroke and he was such a good doggie. Great photo!

    Comment by Kay Wolverton Ito — December 2, 2020 @ 5:15 am |Reply

    • Thank you, Kay! I just love corgis- they have such sassy little attitudes.

      Comment by Ashley Loria — December 2, 2020 @ 10:20 pm |Reply

  2. I am right there with you, @ashleyloria. These articles hit me quite hard — the reminder that even if we are in a service-oriented industry, we have worth and value, and that we need to treat each other with kindness, as we never know what others are going through or have been through.

    I needed this class this semester, its positivity and empathy, and its community with fellow students. I will really miss this class and our connections next semester.

    Comment by Joanna Russell Bliss — December 2, 2020 @ 2:08 pm |Reply

    • Hi Joanna,
      I totally understand- this has been a very special course. I hope to keep this mentality throughout the rest of the MLIS journey and into our careers!

      Comment by Ashley Loria — December 2, 2020 @ 10:23 pm |Reply

  3. The articles were something I looked forward to when I wasn’t working. I just started my MLIS adventure and I hope there are more classes like this one. This was a one of a kind opportunity that let me venture off into an area that I felt comfortable exploring. Best of luck to you and thank you for your posts!


    Comment by Stratos Xanthus — December 6, 2020 @ 2:12 am |Reply

    • Hi Stratos! Thank you for reading my reflection post. This was such a great choice for classes for the beginning of your MLIS journey. I think it really touched on the best parts of library and information science, and it gave a lot of unique people a platform to voice their thoughts. I hope your future classes are as enjoyable for you! Best of luck as you continue through your degree!

      Comment by Ashley Loria — December 6, 2020 @ 2:44 am |Reply

  4. So happy to see the pic of your family! 👍🐶🐶💜

    Comment by Michael Stephens — December 7, 2020 @ 10:33 pm |Reply

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