Reflection: The Hyperlinked Library Model

The idea of a Hyperlinked library took me a little time to understand. I was having trouble reconciling the idea of a hyperlink in my head only dealt with computers and the internet to the one being discussed in the lecture and readings. It wasn’t until after listening to the lecture that my brain started to assimilate the notion of the hyperlinked library being a structural model and not solely rooted in the internet. The idea that this model focused on linking people and services in the real world and using technology to create open and inclusive institutions that focus on user feedback and creatively really resonated with me. I have spent my entire life with a learning disability that made reading very difficult. It impacted the way I learned and the way those around me treated me, the library was not my friend because there really weren’t that many services that weren’t reading heavy at the time. I grew up when the internet was just becoming popular, and school libraries at the time still tended to focus on books as a resource until I was in high school. The idea that using user suggestions and opening up the way libraries work and help people would create a window for people who sometimes get left behind, those with different kinds of disabilities, those who are unsure about what they need or what to do inside a library. Letting them come to the forefront and help create their community spaces creates opportunities. People need to be involved, and the idea that a hyperlinked library is working towards inclusion and connecting people through different technologies and services is inspiring.

I really love to see the inclusion of technology in the teen and children spaces of the library, especially those that encourage girls to try science and hands on coding activities. Supporting women and children, informing them of their options and helping them to learn about things they may later love or hate. We have so many digital spaces that focus on connection that people forget to go out into the world to find connections, the hyperlinked library model and services can help to bridge the gap and help digital  connections overflow into the real world into a safe space for learning and discovery. I am just old enough to have started my life outside of the fully digital age, I didn’t have a cellphone till high school, we had one computer in our house for general use until I was in college, and my school assignments didn’t need to all be typed until I was in high school as well.  The idea that children younger than me have had access to tablets, laptops, cellphones, and other technologies from birth changes the way they interact with technology. It isn’t a new and fun tool that is supplementary to books and reference librarians, it is the answer to everything. Books are electronic not real to most of them, answers can come from a small box that can also be asked to turn on the lights and play music without any real effort. Double checking sources and knowing what is “fake news” and what is a reliable vetted source is a taught skill that we must remind the digital generation to do.

As with everything there are external and internal challenges. What I connected to the most, as a library employee was the internal challenges of archaic rules, institutional culture, and staff members fear of change. I have dealt with this a lot working for a college that has been around for 125 years, on a satellite campus that has been around for 40 years. It has been hard for us because as a satellite campus, we must do things the way the larger campus wants us to. Things that work in their large library that caters towards thousands of students don’t always work for a library who caters two 350 students at most, and averages about 40 students a day. The old rules also make it hard for us to acquire new books, propose new events, and fund new technology additions. The institutional culture is a very interesting one for us, inside the library, the culture has been good. The director and higher librarians are very friendly and open to communication with the rest of the staff. However, because we are part of the university as a whole, we have a lot of separation between us and the administration in charge in Davenport, Iowa.

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2 thoughts on “Reflection: The Hyperlinked Library Model

  1. It took me awhile to wrap my head around the “hyperlinked library” too. I had a similar belief that “hyperlinked” solely referencing tech. I’m glad I’m not the only one!

  2. @desijaser I read the description of your workplace with interest. Perhaps some ideas from this class will find their way to your library?

    I appreciate your thoughts one what “hyperlinked” means for our class and how young people respond to technology of all kinds. I agree – we should be teaching critical info literacy skills to combat fake news. I also call these things life literacies. 🙂

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