Reflection 1: A Tale of Two Hyperlinked Libraries

As I’ve been learning about Library 2.0 and the Hyperlinked Library model, I’ve wondered — just how much of the model being described is actually being put in practice in the local libraries I use as a patron?

I decided to find out!  I called and talked to a librarian at a branch of each of my local library systems, Santa Clara County Public Library, and San Jose Public Library– and asked!

Just how much do staff member interact with their colleagues using technology, such as email–and can they reach out to their highest director without going through levels of supervisors—are they really connecting by tech?

At both libraries, email is freely used to interact with colleagues. Librarians in both systems get a lot of informational emails daily, and a lot more when a new program is being set up.  They don’t have to answer all of them, but they do have to read them and know the content, as well as respond when required.  At San Jose, personnel are allowed an hour a day just to deal with email to stay well connected and functioning as a cohesive team with everyone on the same page.  While Library 2.0 suggested in 2007 that more instant messaging might be preferred, these libraries seem to prefer email (Casey & Savastinuk, 2007).

Just as we would expect from learning about Library 2.0 and the Hyperlinked Library model, both organizations have staff of every level interacting freely with one another in an ongoing, networked conversation, including supervisors and administration, making constant use of technology, and email is written in an informal style, with a flatter, more team-based organization the result, as described in our Hyperlinked Library model lecture (Casey & Savastinuk, 2007; Stephens, 2019).

You can see some of the programs the staffs have been busy emailing about here: Events | Santa Clara County Library | BiblioCommons and here: Events | San José Public Library | BiblioCommons.

Does the acquisition of new innovations and new tech advances really include library users’ input?

Well, on this one, not so much and sort of.  The decisions about tech come from staff and headquarters, or city administration, and a lot depends on budgets, which is why the input of library users isn’t leading in this particular area.  However, the San Jose system has an “Ask For” program in which patrons can answer a posted question with a post-it note request about things they want, and these are recorded quarterly and sent to the main library to be considered. The San Jose staff person I spoke to also mentioned that in response to the pandemic, the library swiftly increased its e-book collection to meet new user demand, and has yet to determine whether to keep the collection of e-books at that level or reduce it to non-pandemic level, but this is clearly an example of Hyperlinked Library services being born from thoughtfully adapting to change based on the mission of the library (Stephens, 2019).

While Library 2.0 and the Hyperlinked Library model envision users being an integral part of the process of decision making, we learn from Library 2.0 that that doesn’t mean users have direct control of the evaluation of everything in a library, so the lack of user input into new tech may be an example of that (Casey & Savastinuk, 2007) but user ideas and feedback are being included in the overall scheme of things in at least one system.


What about blogging—do the librarians really interact with each other and their users with blogging?

At the County library branch, I was told they do write a blog, but no one really has time for it–although their Facebook page is used more by patrons and updated more by staff (Casey & Savastinuk, 2007).  This is interesting in that it shows that this library changed focus from one platform considered an exceptionally useful tool for library staff in Library 2.0, to another platform based on customer demand, something also described in Library 2.0 (Casey & Savastinuk, 2007). At San Jose, though, the staff member I talked with, Ila, is avidly blogging, and not only internally, but externally, which are both recommended by Library 2.0 (Casey & Savastinuk, 2007).  One blog focuses one post monthly spotlighting “Pathfinders”a staff member who has created an innovative program in the overall library system, which gets regular feedback from library staff members.

Another blog is Ms. Ila’s Middle Grade Reading Club,” which cleverly uses book plots to make kids aware of available library databases in which they can find useful related resources–one blog post focused on a book about a rescue dog, and hyperlinked to a database about emergency preparedness.  Kids may be reading the blog, but they never respond, she said–possibly a sign young digital natives are changing how the world works–moving on from blogs to some other way of sharing as described in our Hyperlinked Library model lecture (Stephens, 2019).  Ila also has done a blog about picture books, and a more “random” blog that has included a special focus on the autism spectrum community, showing that the library is making an effort at reaching out to everybody in the community to build relatedness and bring them into the library (Stephens, 2019).

While Library 2.0 envisions blogging as an exceptional connection between staff and other staff and users, we can see that in some cases blogging without a lot of response isn’t very motivating when there’s a lot of other work to be done and more popular platforms, but in other cases, the feedback and the goals of the blog seem to keep the staff blogger blogging away.  And sometimes, the library realizes its users prefer another platform and change what they’re using to connect with the community (Casey & Savastinuk, 2007).

You can see all of Ila’s amazing blogs here: Ila Langner | San Jose Public Library ( and Cupertino Library’s Facebook page here: Cupertino Library | Cupertino CA | Facebook.


What about being–or trying to be–a library-as-community-social-hub with all sorts of activities going on besides the traditional ones, such as maker spaces and cafes?

The County library does have programs, including very popular craft programs, but no ongoing maker space sort of activities, and that’s about it as far as the community hub model.  The San Jose librarian really liked this question, mentioning a bus-sized Maker Spaceship that visits schools, a seed library program branching out from the original library where it started, a branch library with a soldering workshop, and monthly Fandom Swaps where people can bring any kind of fandom memorabilia to swap with others for free.  She said she was excited to be asked about this kind of programming because she likes knowing MLIS students are excited about bringing new creativity into libraries based on the Library 2.0 and Hyperlinked Library model.

As an MLIS student I was really excited to hear that!

I’m glad I asked and found out that libraries I use in my area are already implementing the Library 2.0 and Hyperlinked Library model, and would welcome new staff who are excited about it and have the interest and energy to bring more of that model into libraries. It’s great to know that libraries are thinking like startups by embracing innovation, as suggested in our foundational readings (Mathews, 2012).

How is your library implementing the Hyperlinked Library Model?  What signs do you see?


Casey, M. E. & Savastinuk, L. C. (2007). Library 2.0: A guide to participatory library service. Information Today.

Mathews, B. (2012). Think like a start up.

Stephens, M. (2019). Hyperlinked Library Model [Panopto Lecture]. Hyperlinked Library Master Lectures. 

(Art by Cindy)


6 thoughts on “Reflection 1: A Tale of Two Hyperlinked Libraries

  1. @cindy I want to go to a fandom swap!

    I really appreciated this post and all the links and information you gathered. It’s very interesting to think about the 2007 tax and what is happening now and maybe what has changed. I really like that you highlight those blog like systems for the staff to communicate directly with the audience.

  2. @cindy I appreciate you going and finding out what’s what!

    So often, we’re reading about this or that change in libraries, and it seems (at least to me) that many of those changes are taking place in faraway places. It’s excellent that you spent time seeing how local libraries are integrating Library 2.0. I enjoyed reading your findings!

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