One of the two public libraries I work at resembles a Hyperlinked Library in many ways. For example, managers welcome input and new ideas form both staff and patrons. Overall, human connections and conversations are present. The library is active, especially in our makerspace area which includes 3-D printers, an engraver and other machines and gadgets for adults, teens and children to make stuff with. There is an emphasis on programming/events where people from the community gather and interact with each other. Programs are created and hosted by Librarians and Library Assistants (like myself). No matter what their position at the library though, staff are always encouraged to be creative and work together in teams.
Our organizational chart has flattened within the few years that I have been working there. Library Pages use to only work behind the scenes tasks (shelving, event set-up/break down, processing holds, etc.), but now they also work alongside Library Assistants at the service desks carrying out circulation, reference, and computer/tech assistance duties. And at the same time, Library Assistants now share some of the duties that were once exclusive to Library Pages. Librarians no longer have shifts at the service desks, as they focus on things like creating/hosting programs, making flyers, maintaining our website, grant writing, etc.
There are challenges to this model though. One of the main ones being the constant need for staff to be at service points. During any given moment, we have two people at the main desk and one person at a stand-alone desk near the teen and children’s area. One additional person is usually staffed in our makerspace.
Our managers are currently thinking of ways to free up staff from our service desks so that they can focus more attention on programming and other things that add value to the library. The idea was mentioned of eventually having one person at one service desk and the rest of the staff out and about in a “floating” role where there would be even more opportunities to interact with and assist patrons. It would take a while for many patrons to get used to these kinds of changes since they are a big shake up to the traditional way of doing things.
All in all, I’m happy to be working at a place where the higher ups have 21st century libraries in mind and are not afraid of change.