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Reflection: Library 2.0

What struck me as different (and radical) about the Hyperlinked Library is that it emphasizes the core principles of good librarianship but within a framework of constantly evolving new technologiesIt means that what we do today will not be the same tomorrow and the tomorrow after that (Matthews, 2012).

“I think that librarians need to pay attention to trends in the larger society and changing patron expectations. We need to throw out the phrase ‘But we’ve always done it this way!’ and think instead about what we COULD do, how we can reallocate resources and staff time and decision-making power to serve our changing populations.”
—Rachel Singer Gordon

Casey & Savastinuk, 2007, p.11.

Real World Example

My role in Youth Services gives me lots of opportunities to try out different things in the ways we deliver library services and programs. I would say that just about every day, something new pops up for us to consider (or reconsider). Here’s one such scenario:

Problem: Child patrons wanted more Legos (yes, children still LOVE building things with Legos). When we looked at the cost to purchase a huge tub of Legos, enough for 6- 8 children to play together with plenty of blocks, the expense was hard to justify for a small, rural library (over $400). Normally, that would be the end of the road, but the children were so persistent in making the requests, that I felt we had to be more creative.

Solution: Another staff member and I decided to ask the community to donate the blocks to the library instead. We came up with the slogan “Legos for the Library”. We pulled out a big plastic tub, placed it near the check out stations with a sign that read “Lego Donations”. And one patron even took it upon themselves to create an amazing video, which we immediately posted on our Facebook page It was a big hit (over 1300 views) and within a few days, we had received a huge donation from a family that lives 80 miles away and never had visited our rural library! The power of social networks in real time.

Analysis: While this might seem minor in the scope of library services (unless you are a six years old, of course!), looking back I realized that we had employed many of the concepts outlined in the Hyperlinked Library readings.

Legos for the Library

First, we listened to our patrons (Stephens, 2016), in this case very vocal children. Second, we changed the way we usually operate (Matthews, 2012). Rather than saying no (sorry, we don’t have the money), we asked the community for help (which can be really hard because we want to look like we can figure everything out ourselves). Third, our patrons felt excited enough to create a video for us. Fourth, we used the power of social media to spread the word (Shirky, 2008).

When I saw how powerfully this video campaign worked, I asked the parents if they would consider teaching a class on video editing for the library. Even if they decline, I know it will happen, because the idea is now out there, floating in Hyperlinked Library land.

References

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

Matthews, B. (2012). Think Like a Start Up.

Shirky, C. (2008) Here Comes Everybody. New York: Penguin.

Stephens, M. (2016). Introduction to Chapter 1 “Hyperlinked Librarianship” in The Heart of Librarianship, p. 1-3.

4 thoughts on “Reflection: Library 2.0

  1. Nikki

    Hi @desertrabbit,
    The LEGO example is great illustration of a Hyperlinked Library Model. I started this class believing that “thinking out of the box” would lead to emerging technologies, but this sort of problem-solving can also lead to new kinds low-tech solutions, like asking the community for donations.
    Also, I’m fascinated by your location. I grew up in Southern California and lived there for 32 years but have never heard of the Anza-Borrego State Park. How long have you worked in the library there?
    Nikki

    1. Cristin Marie Post author

      Hi Nikki. I totally agree with what you said about the Hyperlinked Library can create low-tech solutions too, glad you gleamed that from the post. The state park is between San Diego and Imperial counties, and gets pretty close to the border. It is about 80 miles from Joshua Tree (a federal park). It is very rough, no trees, just desert, so you have to like that thing, lots of hiking and off-roading (in one area). We get a lot of snowbirds from OR, WA, and Canada in the winter, our busiest time at the library. I will try to share more pictures and stories because it is a very unique library to work (and community to live), but I love it!

  2. Tiffany Song

    Hello Cristin,

    “I think that librarians need to pay attention to trends in the larger society and changing patron expectations. We need to throw out the phrase ‘But we’ve always done it this way!’ and think instead about what we COULD do, how we can reallocate resources and staff time and decision-making power to serve our changing populations.”
    —Rachel Singer Gordon

    Casey & Savastinuk, 2007, p.11.

    I thought you applied Rachel Singer Gordon’s advice beautifully to your library!

    And as a personal fan of lego toys (or throwing them when I was a child) I can personally feel for the kids who wanted legos at your library. It’s a shame because sometimes there are fun events, programs, and other items that would be great to have at a library but often times, we’re faced with the issue of budget. What I liked is that you listened to your patrons and their voice and rather than immediately say ‘no, sorry we can’t afford to do that’ you brought the community together via lego donations. It’s heartwarming to hear that people wanted to help out and even used social media to create outreach efforts.

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