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.
Sometimes, it might be best if the library just let go.
In the readings from last week and this week, there have been some amazing nuggets on programming that has not been librarian led. The library is merely serving as a platform and space for users to create and engage on their own. There were two examples from the readings that stuck out to me.
The Idea Box at the Oak Park Library. The library transformed a space within the library and turned it into an interactive exhibit, inviting visitors to engage, create, and interact with whatever was in the space. The librarians may develop prompts, but it was left to the visitors to create the exhibit.
The Library Takeover project at Madison Public library encouraged community led program development. The community submitted proposals to the library for new program ideas. If a program was selected, the team was provided a micro grant to cover the production, marketing, and resources needed to create the programming (Smith, 2017). The teams were given a bootcamp training on programming and project management and then the program was left up to the community to create. Allowing the community to have full control over the programming offered at the library invites community participation.
These examples take me back to a quote from the Module 4 lecture from a PLA 2016 session from a Dokk1 Librarian (Stephens, 2019).
“We designed our libraries for people, not books.”
When the library invites the public to participate in programming and creation, they are inviting transparency and community engagement and the library becomes a reflection of the community it serves.
Smith, C. (2017). Madison’s library takeover. Retrieved from https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/blogs/the-scoop/madisons-library-takeover/
Stephens, M. (2019). The hyperlinked library: Participatory service. [Video lecture].Retrieved from: https://sjsu-ischool.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=35b4e981-cd58-479a-96d3-aab3011b0f24
I live in Wichita, Kansas. Wichita is one of the few cities with a flag all its own. We love our flag. Visit and you will find it on literally everything. It is a borderline obsession.
We love our flag so much we like to take it with us when we travel to photograph its adventures outside of the city.
This summer, I took my flag on my first ever official vacation not on a holiday or work break to Okinawa, Japan.
I came back to Kansas, but my flag stayed with my host to enjoy the island life and food a little while longer.
When I am not on vacation, I am the Director of Library and Information Services for WSU Tech. I am a one person show so I get to do all the jobs around the library which is an exciting and exhausting experience.
I look forward to working with everyone this semester.