“Using a library has been a very solitary activity.”Michael Stevens
When I heard this sentence, I paused. Not because the quote was revolutionary or shocking. Instead, I paused to contemplate how far we’ve come. Libraries used to be a be a place of isolation but now, viewing libraries with the Hyperlinked Library in mind, we can see how collaborative they are! I used to manage a makerspace and, in that space, people would come in and sew, 3D print, and play with our VR machine all at the same time. The person who was 3D printing would then talk to the person sewing, and the VR gamer would chime in. It was a place to ask questions, learn and give input. Then those people, would write in various online forums and share their learnings with others.
The type of collaboration that is described above isn’t by accident. By creating spaces with the user in mind, library patrons will find it easier to start conversations and continue to share information. If libraries continue to think this way, and keep change as their goal, other communal areas might follow suite and change their ways as well. We should always keep users in mind and learn to figure out ways to create communal. So how do we do this and what can we do differently? I think we can start by observing the spaces that humans currently interact with each other and see how and why they do so. Are people most likely to make friends at a park? A school? A beach? Chatrooms? What’s the set up like? Is food encouraged? Is sharing encouraged? The readings take me to some of my favorite places as an extrovert and as a text lover. How can I create the same atmosphere and vibe that is found at Dolores Park in SF, in a library? How can online collaboration be like #Slack or Reddit? Hyperlinked library services are all about the positive and intentional changes made after taking the time to plan. I think questioning is the first step!