The Hyperlinked Library – Reflection 1

“Every link by a person with something to say is an act of generosity and selflessness, bidding our readers leave our page to see how the world looks to someone else.”

New Clues

How easy would it be to switch out the word “link” with the word “book”. Inherently, the quote above is describing what libraries have done for centuries: Inviting our patrons and all readers to see how the world looks from another perspective. 

Books have been the method of sharing perspectives for ages, and libraries have always facilitated access to books. But a quote from Redefining Library Services: a Manifesto, stopped me in my tracks.

“The purpose of and justification for libraries should not be confused with techniques and technologies adopted as MEANS for providing service.” 

Redefining Library Services: A Manifesto

Books have been the technique for sharing viewpoints for so long that library patrons, and perhaps the librarians themselves, have conflated books with the purpose and justification of the library’s existence. Librarians are now faced with redefining library services while also trying to shift away from the perception of the library as book warehouse. 

Enter here the Hyperlinked Library model. Reinsert “Link” back into the original quote but continue to think about libraries. While you might get stuck on the word link and think of it as just a little blue underlined word…we are invited to expand the definition of link to services that bring people together.

The example from the lecture that really brought this into focus for me was the storywalk example from Johnson County Library, right here in my home state. Their storywalk in a park brought together county departments to provide a new service that brought people together. The walk in a park was hyperlinked with a Pete the Cat story walk, providing an unexpected library service to reach users outside of the library space. THIS to me, is a hyperlinked library.

“I know it surprised people,” he said. “Stumbling upon a reading component in an unexpected setting – especially one that is as well-loved as the Antioch Park playground – helps people blend the idea of active play with reading readiness. There may have been park visitors who were inspired to visit the library because of Storywalk. I know there were library visitors who went to the park when they found out a new Storywalk was posted. Additionally, I’m hopeful the adults who accompanied children around Storywalk picked up a few simple tips & tricks for making the most of the time they spend reading with their child.”

Links are not just little blue underlined words, but they are services, they are collaboration, they are people. The end this post, I would like to you read the following quote. Instead of “web”, insert “Library” and just give yourself a minute to let the idea sink in. 

“But the Web is about links that constantly reach out, connecting us without end. For lives and ideas, completion is death. Choose life.”

New Clues

Choose libraries. 

1 comment
  1. @britten Your rumination on the nature and purpose of libraries is well presented. I am glad the Pete the Cat example resonates – thanks for pulling that quote!

    Books has been the library brand for so long but I really believe that is changing the tiniest little bit.

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