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 technologies. It 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.”Casey & Savastinuk, 2007, p.11.
—Rachel Singer Gordon
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.
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.
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.
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