It is time for libraries to think like a start up. Brian Matthews (2012, April) provides ten major points to begin thinking like a start up, and many of the suggestions line up well with the concept of the Hyperlinked Library. In Matthews’ third point, he describes startups as being ready for constant change, ready to put things to the test, and to act as a platform to meet various kinds of information needs of the library’s community.

Hayes and Storey (2013, May) give various examples of how the Hyperlinked Library meets its community’s needs in various ways. The Columbus Metropolitan Library, for example, saw a need for early literacy development in its community, and it responded by sending an Early Reader van to areas in need and provided free books and learning toys to help their community be kindergarten ready. That is thinking like a startup, as per Matthews’ (2012, April) methodology. The Music Library and Sound Recordings Archives at Bowling Green State University thought like a startup too and managed to connect with their local community and a broader audience through their usage of the Internet and social media. Using Pinterest, the staff shared the visual side of their audio archives and created a social media trend known as “sleevefacing,” an artistic pose making clever use of album covers.

Connecting through sleevefacing
Havens, A., & Storey, T. (2013, May). “From community to technology…and back again: The networked library.” NextSpace: the OCLC newsletter, 21. 4-10. Retrieved from https://library.oclc.org/digital/collection/p15003coll11/id/20

Amy Stolls (n.d.) writes about “The Healing Power of Libraries” in a so-named article, and brings back the idea of simply being surrounded by books. She talks of libraries being places of refuge, and that the books themselves have so much to offer a community. This too is part of the Hyperlinked Library because the stacks themselves are reaching patrons every day. A library can’t abandon its current patrons for those yet to be reached—the library is a place for all, and physical books will continue to be an important part of meeting a community’s information needs.

Being a successful library today takes creative thinking and a willingness to take risks. It involves thinking like a startup while also maintaining the services that currently work. It’s a special balance, like Matthews (2012, April) says, of learning from past endeavors while looking to new opportunities to be able to reach as much of the community as possible.

References

Havens, A., & Storey, T. (2013, May). “From community to technology…and back again: The networked library.” NextSpace: the OCLC newsletter, 21. 4-10. Retrieved from https://library.oclc.org/digital/collection/p15003coll11/id/20

Matthews, B. (2012, April). Think like a startup. Ubiquitous Librarian. Chronical of Higher Education. Retrieved from https://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/bitstream/handle/10919/18649/Think%20like%20a%20STARTUP.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

Stolls, A. (n.d.). The healing power of libraries. National Endowment for the Arts. https://www.arts.gov/article/healing-power-libraries

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