Reflection #3 – The Hyperlinked Academic Library

I dove into the Hyperlinked Academic Library section and there were a couple articles that really sparked my interest. The first was the Starting a Food Pantry in an Academic Library article. What started out as a snack food drawer for their student workers morphed into a food pantry for all library patrons. “For students to succeed academically, we need to care for them in a holistic manner. If students aren’t living a life of wellness, it’s hard to succeed academically” (Hardenbrook, 2019). These academic librarians began to look at potential barriers students face that might be impeding their academic success and then creatively came up with solutions that had nothing to do with books and academic journal articles. By looking at how the library might serve the student more holistically, librarians helped create the library as third place on campus where students feel welcomed and supported more than just academically.

I then read the Sparking Curiosity article and thought this was a way to cultivate the same holistic view of the student but in the mind. This article was all about how to support curiosity and exploration on a deeper level during their education. The article discussed how many students are stressed about getting good grades and completing assignments that they are often selecting “safer” research topics. These are topics students are familiar with, may have done research on before, or know that there are plenty of published articles to choose from (marijuana legalization, video game violence, body image and the media to name a few). The library can also support a more holistic view of the student and their education with encouraging students to think deeper and follow their curiosity when selecting research topics for class. Research could them become an “Opportunity to learn new things, to explore new perspectives, and to synthesize new ideas into an original argument” (Detering and Rempel, 2017). I think this is a much harder endeavor as librarians are trying to compete with stress in the classroom, over grades, and pushing students toward the unknown…but the skills taught in following your curiosity and seeking out the unknown will be useful in all aspects of their life. 

The Hyperlinked Academic Library can interact with their students and become a third place by supporting students in a more holistic way, allowing them to be more present and focused on campus through programming like the food pantry example. But the Hyperlinked Academic Library can also encourage and guide students to deeper growth and exploration through providing a safe space for exploring through curiosity. 


Detering, A & Rempel, H. (2017, February 22). Sparking curiosity – librarians’ role in encouraging exploration. Retrieved from: http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2017/sparking-curiosity/

Hardenbrook, J. (2019, September 3). Starting a food pantry in an academic library. Retreived from: https://mrlibrarydude.wordpress.com/2019/09/13/starting-a-food-pantry-in-an-academic-library/

2 comments
  1. @britten I love this connection between holistic care for students’ physical and mental wellness! I chose a different adventure for this module (looking into privacy) in part because it was something I was more familiar with–but I’m so glad your post caught my attention and sparked my curiosity to read more about academic libraries. 🙂

  2. Your thoughts on stress in the classroom and good grades resonate. It’s interesting to me to think about students that sometimes “play it safe” and others who work outside the norms on projects and ideas that might not fit the cookie cutter expectations of teachers. Yes – we should have more of that and librarians should encourage it!

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