Well all we’re finally here, I have left all my reflective thoughts regarding INFO 287 and The Hyperlinked Library in my Virtual Symposium which was posted to my blog just last week! I will continue to take what I’ve learned from Dr. Stephens and The Hyperlinked Library and apply it professionally and personally!
This class was my favorite class thus far as it really hit home and had so much to do with having a heart for others! Listen to my Virtual Symposium Podcast miniseries titled My Super 5 if you want to learn about my top five course takeaways! It’s been a blessing to work with you all, please do keep in touch and best of luck in the program and life moving forward!
For my Virtual Symposium I wanted to challenge myself in the area of Podcasting. I thought of approaching the symposium by highlighting my “top five” takeaways from “The Hyperlinked Library” and Dr. Stephens, each showcased in a podcast installment. This past Saturday, I started brainstorming and selected my top five takeaways taught by Dr. Stephens. I wanted these installments to center around one of my favorite facets of The Hyperlinked Library and that is having a heart for others.
Once I had my subject matter down, I put on my “content creation hat.” Over the course of five days I wrote out themes and scripts; contacted and interviewed work colleagues, classmates from INFO287 (Ismael & Abraham), small business owners, and friends for the podcast; got in touch with local musicians to ask if I could include their music; I even got in touch with the Communications Department of San Mateo County Libraries to vet one of the podcasts to make sure it aligns; in the end, it was ALL worth it! It’s been a journey these past few days, most nights I’d sleep around one in the morning, but it was fun and I’d do it again!
It’s a blessing to have an audio engineering background as I had the tools (microphone, audio interface, Pro Tools) needed to record and edit the podcast (shown in the photo above). I conducted most interviews over Zoom, except one; I decided to use the internal microphone on my iPad to interview my wife. This assignment was all about learning and application; incorporating what I call “The Follow-Through.“
I don’t want to bombard you with text in this blog post, but rather it’s my hope that this podcast miniseries will illuminate my journey and outlook regarding “The Hyperlinked Library” (just hit play).
I hope you enjoy my podcast miniseries called My Super 5!
My Super 5 Installments:
1) “Hyperlinks Are People Too” with DJ Loot (note: he was my Hyperlink), DJ Loot (Small Business Spotlight), Music from Myself & DJ Loot
2) “Power of Stories” (a self-reflection of my journey to and through public librarianship) Music from “CG”
Hey all, as I sit here and think of the power of stories, it seems like each day while we shelter in place something different is emerging. Something happy, something sad, something worth sharing and even something worth documenting. For example: today I attended a distanced barbecue, yesterday on a walk with family we ran into a sidewalk “social distancing hang-out” among neighbors; it was pretty cool!
Each of our recent journeys, though vastly different, could be shared with others easily by way of podcast! As a community we can learn from one another, help one another, and build with one another by sharing out. The scripture reading from St. Paul: “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things…” comes to mind.
Creating a podcast is one digital way of sharing with the world who we are, what we’ve done, and where were going to next! Believe it or not this could be you, and you most likely have all that you need to record and publish a podcast from home now; it doesn’t take much.
In my Director’s Brief shared below, I explore the idea of podcasting as a new participatory service for San Mateo County Libraries. Dr. Michael Stephens mentioned in the “Hyperlinked Communities” video lecture earlier this semester that “hyperlinks are people too,” and I feel like that statement is the essence of podcasting right now!
Here’s a snippet from my Director’s Brief:
“Public libraries today are all about embracing change and putting patrons at the forefront. At San Mateo County Libraries we offer a plethora of great options for our staff, library branches, and system as whole to communicate with the public. We have strong partnerships with community members, local businesses, organizations, and even our schools; but we have yet provided an opportunity to let our everyday patrons have an active voice at our “systemwide table.” Offering patrons a platform to be heard systemwide is something we need to explore. Not to mention, this participatory style service addresses a main point listed in our Strategic Plan: “Spot opportunities to deliver services beyond buildings” (para. 3).”
This blogpost highlights Professor Michael Stephens’ teachings on professional development and PLE’s (Professional Learning Experiences). In addition to, I will share several professional experiences of mine while working for San Mateo County Libraries that tie in nicely. Last, I’d like to reiterate one very, very, important step Stephens (2018) states should be accounted for after learning: “What can you do now?” (para. 8). I like to think of this step as “The Follow Through.” (side note) Professor Stephens (2019) video lecture “Infinite Learning: Professional Learning Experiences” sums everything up quite nicely, as this was my inspiration to write this piece.
I started my professional library work back in late 2015, I was interviewing for my current position “Community Technology Specialist” with the library staff of the branch I’d end up working at (it was blessing). Seeing that I would be the potential Technology Specialist one of the main questions that needed to be addressed was:
“What is your experience with 3D Printers? “
Note: several staff were familiar, but this would be a main duty of the tech specialist to provide direct customer support.
My answer was “none.” 🙁
I emphasized to the group that if given the opportunity this area would be a focus and priority for me. Lone behold after waiting several weeks and with answered prayers I was able to land this life changing position.
As soon as I started, I went to work on learning how to 3D Print, I had brief trainings from branch colleagues Alex and Marsi; all of which seemed to go in one ear and out the other. It was nice to ask them questions here and there, but I knew I had to spend time on my own with our Ultimakers to get acquainted. In my first week I was able to learn how to use the 3D Printers to print downloadable 3D models from Thingiverse. YouTube is one resource that can be used for Professional Development for FREE, and was instrumental for my information needs. I was so proud of being able to print a boat or Darth Vader helmet and was seriously showing off!
To my surprise I was made aware that San Mateo County Libraries had a 3D Printing committee that meant monthly to make 3D Printing decisions system wide and to form partnerships with those around the community; I was assigned to join. This committee essentially was like a monthly on going PLE mixed with professional development (quite the blend). I was able to meet with colleagues in person, learn about new initiatives we’d implement, get training on trouble shooting the 3D Printers, and work in partnership with the College of San Mateo (CSM) to help students 3D Print. Similarly, Dr. Stephens (2018) shares out from a survey he conducted on professional development: “A majority of the respondents specifically stated they wanted a chance to talk face to face with others: to share ideas, engage, and talk about their learning” (para. 2).
Pressing forward I was able to gain confidence and was learning new facets of 3D Printing like 3D Modeling with Tinkercad. Experiential learning played a big part of my professional development of this skill, getting hands on with the web-based software was extremely beneficial! It was a blessing my manager Kathleen granted me this time to learn and “tinker.” Once I became proficient with the software, I was ready to teach patrons of all ages what they could do with 3D Modeling. Stephens (2016) states: “A mantra I use in my talks and in my classes is ‘Learn Always’ ” (p. 141). This clearly was the case for both parties (employee and patrons).
We implemented a service for 3D Printing called 3D Reservations at my branch, this allowed patrons to reserve time to 3D Print. I was always on hand to help patrons if needed it. I also implemented a monthly 3D Modeling program for students in which I created 3D Printing curriculum, hosted the classes, taught students in real-time how-to 3D Model, and even printed out their files (since time was limited). This was quite rewarding, practical, relevant, and generated a good turnout; patrons loved it! This for me was “the follow through,” I was afforded months to build up this program and now I was ready to share out!
One month during a 3D Printing committee meeting it was brought up from our director that staff could attend conferences (PLEs) to learn more about 3D Printing. I jumped at the opportunity and attended the Inside 3D Printing Conference in San Diego in 2016. There were plenty of 3D Printing tracks like healthcare, business, etc. My greatest takeaways were learning about the various types of 3D Printers available and stories of how 3D Printers are improving the lives of others. Learning from a humanitarian standpoint that 3D Printers were being used in Sudan to print limbs for people in an effort called “Project Daniel” nearly brought me to tears (see video here). I shared these stories with as many patrons as I could back at the branch.
Stephens (2018) also found from his survey on professional development that: “One respondent wanted ‘personalized experiences with feedback and follow-up’ and ‘connections that last’” (para. 7). In 2018 I was able to take a Makerspace certificate course at Foothill College, it did just what the respondent asked for above. One of the courses in the program was on 3D Modeling in Tinkercad. My cohort met once in person with an instructor who taught us design in Tinkercad, it was neat to meet my peers who had similar roles and experiences. After the in-person class we were given course work online via Canvas for an entire quarter in which we were graded and received feedback. In the words of Dr. Stephens (2018), Foothill college helped to “Make It Real,” and super fun!
“If libraries call themselves learning organizations, setting time aside for staff to explore and reflect is mandatory” (Stephens, 2016, p.142). The profound statement mentioned in the sentence above really reflects the culture of the library system I work for (San Mateo County Libraries). During my entire journey as Community Technology Specialist I’ve always felt supported by my manager, team, and administration. By implementing professional development and professional learning experiences employees can really thrive in their roles; I know this first-hand.
Just remember this ideology doesn’t only apply when at work, it should be practiced in all aspects of life. Just be sure afterwards to implement “the follow through.”
When thinking of the “New Horizons” module and pondering on the thought provoking articles Professor Michael Stephens has shared, one “hits home” for me today. This article not only sparks curiosity, but instantly turns the imaginary lightbulb on in my head. A possible upcoming reality so bright because of potential the lumens emitted can’t conceivably be measured. The article I’m referring to is titled: “Is Virtual Reality the Future of Field Trips?”
The genius article was written by Mike McShane and really highlights how the developing technology of Virtual Reality is allowing patrons access to experiences that transcend physical boundaries. Imagine living in the middle of nowhere, off the beaten path, or off the grid for that matter; access to Virtual Reality allows patrons to experience destinations that weren’t reachable before (just virtually). Socioeconomic standings, no matter where you fall in the scale, can’t be accounted for once you have access to the technology. Once you put on the headset and hold those wands in your hand, it’s an even playing field. Mobility limitations can be temporarily alleviated, and new possibilities can be achieved.
Now the direction McShane (2018) explores is in the area of schools benefiting from Virtual Reality and pondering if it can be a suitable substitute for field trips. There are many great points McShane (2018) makes:
“Outside of a few major cities, access to classic works of art and historical artifacts is much more limited” (para. 4). (VR could solve this.)
“Virtual reality can also take students to places that they could never go in person” (para. 7).
“There is something about getting a permission slip signed, packing a sack lunch, piling onto a bus, trundling through unfamiliar streets, and descending on a museum or theatre like locusts that made the experience seem important and worthy of remembering” (para. 8). (In VR you’d miss out on many of these hallmarks.)
I think this article was fascinating, but I want to use this as starting point to talk about what’s really been affecting my life and the lives of others worldwide: COVID-19. A pandemic that has massively altered the way we interact, live, work, shop, etc. Our world is rapidly changing, where “sheltering in place” and “social distancing” has become the new norm. Ponder with me, could VR make life better during these troubling times?
Imagine if Virtual Reality was now a necessity, everyone had a VR set at home, the way many today have a television, microwave, telephone, Social Media, and a computer. If VR software was robust when it comes to collaborating with others over the internet, similar to the way XBOX and PlayStation allows users to play together now, mixed reality rooms could be functional. Could public schools reopen in Virtual Reality while their physical doors remain shut? Can our children that are forced to learn online (from home) today be assigned to a virtual/augmented classroom that allows them to still be in school with their teachers and friends?
I can totally envision this in my head. I’m sitting in my school desk virtually, listening to my teacher lecture right in front of me while my peer behind me is passing me virtual notes in class. Not much has changed, just instead of wearing my usual baseball cap, I’m now wearing a VR headset. I think this would totally aide in preventing or at least reducing social isolation. The vibe is similar to Ready Player One, I know, but could really be a helpful option for public schools.
Could this be an appropriate answer for library book groups, varieties of programming, and storytimes in our current state? Just imagine it taking place through virtual reality lens: although we may be physically bound to the walls of our residence, we’d still have the comforts found in the “third space” or what sociologist Eric Klinenberg dubbed “Palaces for the People.” Imagine a VR experience so sophisticated it could create hologram avatars for each patron currently using the technology, storytime at the Belmont Library would “more or less” feel like a normal “in the library” storytime. All this simultaneously happening while “sheltering in place.” You could see your library friends, interact with them, tell a joke, etc. The storytime virtual room would react to your movement, allow you to sit cross-legged on the floor, high-five your neighbor, even dance along with the librarian leading the program to the “Hokey Pokey.”
I was inspired by the HoloLens 2 that was shared in the “Things to watch,” segment of the “New Horizons” module, and instantly imagined a mixed reality space that allows you to not only interact with neat software tools and people, but allows users to jump into everyday routine settings like public schools, libraries, the gym, you name it! I think author Mike McShane captured lightning in a bottle with his article, but when faced with today’s problems of living with a pandemic McShane’s focus can easily be shifted. I imagine a simple title change, “Is Virtual Reality OUR Future Now?”
Cline, E. (2011). Ready Player One. Penguin Random House LLC.
Klinenber, E. (2018). Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life. Penguin Random House LLC.
McShane, M. (2018, June 13). Is Virtual Reality the future of field trips? Forbes https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikemcshane/2018/06/13/is-virtual-reality-the-future-of-field-trips/#427e5d7f1809
Stephens, M. (2020). New Horizons [Module]. INFO 287: The Hyperlinked Library. https://287.hyperlib.sjsu.edu/module-9-new-horizons/
Upload VR. (2019, February 24). HoloLens 2 AR headset: on stage live demonstration [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIHPPtPBgHk&feature=emb_title
What sparks joy for me in the rapidly changing world of library is sheer innovation, especially around access. From eBooks to laptops and hotspots, libraries worldwide are looking to get with the times, and they’ve been doing a great job! Leferink (2018) states, “Clearly, in today’s world, the library competes with other places, such as restaurants, cafés, concert halls, and parks to name a few, to be the preferred Third Place…” (para. 6).
As patrons continue to become occupied with everyday life, or even currently “socially distancing” themselves, libraries should think of additional ways to accommodate this population. One service that’s currently practiced both in retail and among libraries is Curbside Pick-Up. The service does not require costly technology or even infrastructure; just mostly staff buy-in and time. I have a feeling most patrons are already “in,” as this is a service, they are already accustomed to here in the United States. Patrons are already using “curbside” at Target, or similarly to the likes of Uber Eats and Amazon Delivery. To me, this service just makes sense to have, especially in urban areas where parking is a hot commodity.
With Curbside Pick-Up, the library system I work for (San Mateo County Libraries) institutes a new service that keeps its collection equitable, accessible, and ultimately puts the needs of its patrons first. The book The Heart of Librarianship has a great line that really puts things in perspective: “And one of the things that we always need to keep thinking about is how we can connect with our users, find ways to be present in their lives, and let them know what we can do for them” (Stephens, 2016, p. 41).
Description of Community you wish to engage:
This is an empathetical approach to accommodate and better serve a population of patrons that are unable to set foot into the public library, for whatever the reason, in order to pick up items on hold. The circumstances can vary depending upon the patron, but Curbside Pick-Up can remove access barriers for many.
I’d like to highlight groups of patrons that can benefit from this trending service:
Patrons that have physical limitations or restrictions.
Patrons that have “on-the-go” schedules, that are unable to set foot inside the libraries.
Patrons that may be sick but are still in need of their materials.
Patrons that are unable to get to the library during most hours of operations (business professionals, rideshare drivers, educators, etc.).
Patrons that can only visit the library during peak times and are unable to find parking.
Patrons that are unable to currently set foot in the library due to worldwide pandemic.
Action Brief Statement:
Convince patrons that by using Curbside Pick-Up they will discover the library is looking to keep up with consumer trends by making its physical collection even more accessible which will improve the daily lives of its patrons by removing obstacles because the library is all about improvement, equity, and accessibility to high quality information.
For library administration:
Convince library administration that by allowing Curbside Pick-Up they will improve customer service and user experience which will attract new customers, aide in retention, and improve circulation statistics because the library is now adding a new stream of “access.”
Evidence and Resources to support Technology or Service:
Archibald, E. (2020). Bringing curbside delivery to your library [PowerPoint slides – PLA 2020]. Tulsa City-County Library.
Mission, Guidelines, and Policy related to Technology or Service:
By implementing Curbside Pick-Up, the library removes additional barriers in terms of access and stays current by offering a service that’s quickly becoming an industry standard. This new service nicely aligns with San Mateo County Libraries’ strategic plan, one point being: “Spot opportunities to deliver services beyond buildings” (para. 4). Initial guidelines can be developed and instated by a library employee or employees that’ll spearhead the initiative, and then guidelines can be reviewed and refined by library administration. The library administration team can add the service’s policies onto the website in order to stay transparent.
When looking for examples of policies for Curbside Pick-Up, since the service is well practiced around the nation, many library websites publicly list their policies. Inspiration can be drawn from visiting these websites. One of the best ways to learn what has worked and what has not is by calling libraries that are currently offering the service and asking. It’s well worth calling three or four libraries to get a well-rounded opinion.
Guidelines that are easy to understand and well thought out can aide in any service running smoothly. Curbside pick-up guidelines should consist of:
Hours of service operation, including the days service will be provided
Contact method for patrons
How to place a curbside hold
What can be delivered curbside and what can’t (collection wise)
Address of library and instructions on where to park
A step-by-step list of instructions that patrons can follow when using Curbside Pick-Up
Funding Considerations for this Technology or Service:
Funding should not be so cumbersome in the implementation of this service. Funds can be set aside if the library deems it necessary to purchase a telephone service exclusively used for Curbside Pick-Up. This can come by way of a cellular carrier or traditional land line. Voice Over IP is a viable option today, since the library is almost always connected, Google Voice has enticing plans for businesses that are relatively inexpensive. By adding an exclusive telephone line for this service, the library’s existing phone lines can avoid new traffic.
Parking lot signage will need some funds set aside; this can range anywhere from painting designations on parking spaces or adding placard style signage in front of spaces. Luckily this should only be one-time cost, and if the library building is owned by a city this may be covered (partially or in full) by the city.
The library may look to purchase more book carts that can be used specifically for curbside pick-up, this generally would be a one-time purchase as well.
Aside from what’s listed above I do not see the need to fundraise, receive grants, or donations for this service.
Action Steps & Timeline:
In order to kick-off Curbside in my library system, we’d need our library administration to say yes. If this happens, either the selected employee or group can start working on a timeline for the service to launch. I’d estimate planning would take no more than two to three months for this project. This gives time to decide what library would be the best to pilot the service, a telephone service can be selected and purchased, signage for parking can be made, staff can be trained, the Communications Department can help create a vision for the service, etc.
After three months all should be in place in order to launch Curbside Pick-Up, at least in pilot phase. After gathering data via staff and patron feedback for let’s say a period of two months, guidelines can then be refined and polished. Then a discussion with library administration can happen to discuss the service, while additionally considering if they’d like to move forward to adding this service to other libraries.
Staffing Considerations for this Technology or Service:
This service will require staffing, but most likely only for a limited window, daily. When starting off the service going “small” is key; be it only having one or two parking spaces allocated, which can most likely can be handled by one employee. I envision a staff rotation instituted for the branch, where a staff member is assigned to oversee the service for just one hour.
Let’s say the service is only provided four hours each day, you can have four different staff members assigned to this duty on a given day, each working just one hour. Then the next day, you can have a different four staff members overseeing the service. For smaller branches in our library system, the service hours of operation may not need to last four hours, perhaps only one or two hours is necessary. Hours of operation for Curbside Pick-Up can really be gauged in the first month or two, then the library can adjust accordingly.
Training for this Technology or Service:
Library branch training can initially come from the group or employee that worked on developing the service. Since the group/individual has already met with administration, knows the service guidelines, and may have trained other libraries that are currently providing the service. Designing a training for libraries should come easy.
At my branch, training for this fun service can be provided during our biweekly staff meetings. I think it is essential for all staff members to receive training. The more staff familiar with the service, the greater the odds are for staff buy-in. Providing patron feedback and even photos of happy patrons can help encourage staff about a soon to launch service.
Promotion & Marketing for this Technology or Service:
Any new service will need stellar graphic artwork with catchy wording to get people excited. Our Communications Department has an amazing team of employees that work hard in the area of library branding. They’ve launched numerous campaigns that have been seen by hundreds of thousands. Working with this department is essential when it comes to generating a creative vision for Curbside Pick-Up.
Promotion for new services, resources, and collection items come in a multitude of ways in our library system. We have a rotating banner on our website’s homepage that any visitor will immediately see, showcasing the service here will be worthwhile. Creating a blog and a webpage that lives on our website will be an easy way to disseminate information pertinent to the service. Physical signage can be strategically placed in the given library that has added the service. Media outlets can be sent a press release about the service to see if they’d be interested in covering Curbside Pick-Up.
Promoting within the organization would be easy to do. Library administration can send out an all staff email that discloses the new service, where it will be happening at, and provide the essential guidelines to the service. The team spearheading the service can develop infographics or a video to give staff members a clearer picture of how the service works. These documents and media can be shared in all staff emails as well.
I’ve seen many businesses send off a series of email announcements leading up to a product launch date often giving consumers a small slice of the “pie.” Then on release date, they spill the beans on the revolutionary new thing. Fun ways to promote Curbside Pick-Up outside the organization can follow suit; we could send out a series of catchy initial email blasts to patrons saying:
“Something new is coming to the _________ library on (enter specific cate).”
“Curbside Pick-Up is now available at __________ Library, click here to find out how to participate!”
Additionally, a short video can be made showcasing an example of one using curbside pick-up. This should not be hard to make and can be easily shared on our Instagram and Facebook social media pages making Curbside Pick-Up visible to the world!
Initial benchmarks can consist of measuring use of service statistics which can be accounted for in several ways: either by referencing the number of holds set for Curbside Pick-Up via the libraries’ ILS or checking call log history via Voice Over IP history log. Then ballpark figures can easily be provided for determining how many unique users have taken advantage of the service.
Customer testimonials can be very impactful and can remind library administration, staff, and the public why this service is so important to keep. This information will not only encourage library staff but will help the library further refine the service for the better. Testimonials can come from in person conversation, service feedback forms, social media (Yelp, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter), and even by way of word of mouth. Capturing these success stories can even be shared in the libraries’Annual Report.
Professor Stephens (2011) states, “The participatory library is open and transparent, and it communicates with its community through many mechanisms” (para. 9). By keeping open communication lines on social media with the public, this can aide in seeing if we are hitting our benchmark goals. Not to mention, it will hold the library accountable for providing the best Curbside Pick-Up service it possibly can.
It only makes sense in terms of expansion to have more of our libraries on board with participating in the service. Understanding which libraries would greatly benefit by the addition of Curbside Pick-Up is important. This may not include all 12 of our libraries, therefore the library should have its ear open to feedback from patrons at the branch level. Perhaps seeking community feedback or hosting focus groups could help determine if this is necessary for a specific library branch.
Given the opportunity and encouragement from Professor Michael Stephens to “choose your own adventure” by way of reading about hyperlinked communities, exploration of hyperlinked public libraries resonated well. As learned from earlier modules, in a hyperlinked environment “access” takes on a hybrid approach: being both physical and digital. Public Libraries today are investing time, research, and money into providing the best experience possible for patrons. Some hyperlinked library key terms that come to mind are: “equitable”, “accessible”, and “inclusive.”
With patrons in mind, many public libraries have added non-traditional circulation items like WiFi hotspots, laptops, instruments, tools, and cameras to name a few. These items that could have been out of reach are now equitable to patrons of all socioeconomic backgrounds. The Pew Research Center (2014) states, “One major finding in our research into Americans’ use of public libraries is the extent to which libraries are synonymous not only with knowledge and information, but with the tools needed to acquire it in the digital age” (para. 1).
Thinking of access, both physical and digital collections come to mind. Public Libraries are the gate keepers of information, constantly scanning to think of new opportunities to ease the burden of access for its patrons. Online resources like eBook applications are now user friendly, contain a wide variety of options, and are becoming more popular for many users.
A new innovative service initiative that I keep hearing about is “Library Curbside Pick-Up.” While attending the 2020 PLA Conference, Regional Manager Emily Archibald of Tulsa City-County Library discussed how this revolutionary service eased access of her patrons. She listed some of the distinct reasons for instating curbside service:
“Library customers expect the library to keep pace with innovations they experience in their daily lives” (Bringing Curbside Delivery to Your Library, slide 2).
“Library customers are increasingly growing accustom to conveniences offered at local businesses, like grocery stores and restaurants” (Bringing Curbside Delivery to Your Library, slide 2).
Emily shared that research went into this service by way of a pilot committee that developed the scope of the service, then three pilot libraries were eventually established. This service proved valuable to the patrons of Tulsa City-County Library and still is offered today.
The article “A Look at the Evolving Role – and Shifting Spaces – of Today’s Public Libraries,” written by Evie Hemphill literally “blew my mind.” For this blog post I want to share just one facet of her thought-provoking article: the golden nugget of information being “… the concept of “third place” comes into play” (para. 10). Libraries need to strive to become the third-home or “place” that patrons choose to visit both physically and digitally. Hemphill (2019) shares that JEMA’s John Mueller states, “the first place being our home, the second place being our work and the third place being this place in society where we go to make community,” Mueller explained” (para. 11).
This profound concept makes total sense to me. Libraries need to be the elusive “third place” that their patrons and community members choose to visit. The library system I work for implements out-of-the box programming and outreach opportunities, has inviting spaces, offers an inclusive collection, has non-traditional collection items like laptops and bicycles available, a plethora of online resources, and makerspaces; all to improve the livelihood of our patrons. This is just the “tip of the iceberg” when it comes to becoming the “third place.” Strategies for retention and inviting new patrons to our public libraries must be accounted for.
Hyperlinked public libraries are real, improving, thriving, and trending. I’d like to leave you all with a question: “How is your library striving to become the ever so coveted ‘third space?’”
Archibald, E. (2020). Bringing curbside delivery to your library [PowerPoint slides]. Tulsa City-County Library.
Hemphill, E. (2019, February 5). A look at the evolving role – and shifting spaces – of today’s public libraries. St. Louis Public Radio. https://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/look-evolving-role-and-shifting-spaces-todays-public-libraries#stream/0
Pew Research Center. (2014, July 9). Public libraries and technology: From “houses of knowledge” to “houses of access”. Pew Research Center. https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2014/07/09/public-libraries-and-technology-from-houses-of-knowledge-to-houses-of-access/
Stephens, M. (2020). The hyperlinked library: hyperlinked communities . https://sjsu-ischool.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=74c82b0d-bd96-4e81-9894-aab40123a319
Good afternoon fellow readers, today I’d like to share with you my thoughts regarding hyperlinked communities. Some of you may be thinking: “What’s a hyperlinked community?” or “Why do we even need them?” It’s my hope shed some light on what a hyperlinked community is and the massive benefits that come from being a part of one. The fact of the matter is, you’re probably already affiliated with a hyperlinked community – you may just not recognize it yet.
The premise of any hyperlinked community is to allow users with a common interest an avenue for discussion. Michael Stephens further explains in his lecture video titled Hyperlinked Communities that: “It is also about bringing people together to share, to have conversations, and to connect with each other.” Hyperlinked communities can be held both, in person and/or online; the latter allows for communication to happen on a global scale and makes time no barrier.
To elaborate on the sentence above, when a hyperlinked community allows its users an online platform for communication; two users from entirely different countries now can chat at any time of the day. Implementing a digital platform for communication really compliments any established hyperlinked community, not to mention it allows the community to become much more inclusive.
In reading the shared articles from Module 5, several come to mind that really provide strong examples of what the hyperlinked library should look like (both online and in person). First, let’s talk about hyperlinked communities that meet in person. There are some great outcomes that arise from meeting face to face, especially when those meeting share a common interest. In the article “Convening Community Conversations | Programming” written by Dixon (2017), we learn about multiple reoccurring programs held within libraries nationally, which provide patrons a platform for discussion regarding various topics. Dixon (2017) states, “Libraries are doing just that, training staff as facilitators, organizing thought-provoking discussions, and going out into the community as well as bringing users inside” (para. 2).
Providing a space for patrons to congregate and discuss amongst one another is necessary for hyperlinked communities. “Group discussions can flourish when the patrons develop programs with local staff and feel empowered, coming up with ideas that matter to them” (Dixon, 2017, para. 23). Allowing trained library personnel to act as organizers/mediators can really help elevate discussion outcomes and allow for everyone to have a voice. In any hyperlinked community, whatever the platform, we run the risk of patrons dominating the conversation.
Dixon (2017) shares that Austin Public Library holds well attended film screenings before their community conversations happen: “On each occasion, the film provides a structure for a conversation about hot-button topics, guided by library staffers or local experts” (para. 11). I’ve seen hyperlinked communities flourish even without library staff when there is a distinct group leader that’s both responsible and organized.
At my library we have self-running Mystery Book Club that always generates a great turnout. There is a great sense of fellowship among all its members, club meetings usually linger on because the group is having so much fun; this is exactly what we hope for in a hyperlinked community.
I’d like to swing the conversation toward hyperlinked communities that exist online, be it exclusively or in addition to physical meetups. The greatest perk of a hyperlinked community that’s online is accessibility. Users can participate from anywhere globally, long as they’re connected. Libraries have digitally opened their doors for learning, sharing, and communication to continue around the clock. Stephens (2016) states: “…one of the things that we always need to keep thinking about is how we can connect with our users, find ways to be present in their lives, and let them know what we can do for them” (p. 41).
It’s quite common for libraries to have an Instagram account today. In Williams (2014) article “Five ways libraries are using Instagram to share collections and draw public interest,” we learn that social media helps libraries build interest and form an additional means of communication with its patrons. “Before an event, libraries are sharing photos of event posters, staff preparing for the event, and other related imagery” (Williams, 2014, para. 5). This obviously sparks joy and creates an interest in what’s happening at a given library. Showing-off the libraries physical features and collection via social media could generate some new foot traffic on a slow day. Willams (2014) shares: “Followers might easily be able to imagine themselves curled up with a book working in a quiet sunny corner of the reading room” (para. 4).
In my introductory paragraph I mentioned you may be unaware that you’re affiliated with a hyperlinked community. Outside of library hyperlinked communities, there a plethora to be found on social media. Perhaps you’re a member of group found on Facebook, use Twitter, or Instagram, all of which are digital hyperlinked communities. I’m personally a member of a Facebook Group called “Mix Engineers, Let’s Talk About Mix,” which is all about mixing audio (mostly music). I’m able to constantly seek out information and post questions that I have in hopes of getting help from fellow group members; it’s excellent!
The Context Book Assignment was enlightening to say the least; a fun way to apply relevant life theories to library science. The book I chose to read by Charles Duhigg is titled The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. This mostly enjoyable read provided a plethora of real-life examples regarding implementing and changing habits.In this short reflection it is my hope to share with you all how The Power of Habit aligns with our course content, including takeaways that can be applicable to library staff and patrons, philosophical approaches to library programming and services, and lastly incorporating new habits in the way libraries exchange information.
Before I can address all that’s listed in the sentence above, I’d like to paraphrase what Duhigg (2012) coins as “The Habit Loop” (p. 3). Let’s use the example of one needing to wake up on a workday morning, and in this example my subject is a working adult with a “9-5” schedule. Most likely before bedtime the adult is “cued” to set his/her alarm clock for six or seven in the morning the next day. This is followed by the “routine” of sleeping (resting for the following work day). Last the individual’s “reward” is waking up on time to get ready for work. “Over time, this loop-cue, routine, reward; cue, routine, reward-becomes more and more automatic” (Duhigg, 2012, p. 19). In some cases, one may even wake before the alarm clock sounds off, further supporting Duhigg’s statement above.
It’s shared by the author that not only can new habits form (for individuals, businesses, and societies), but existing habits: be it bad, outdated, etc. can be changed or reshaped. This growth mindset like approach can directly impact libraries and staffing. Loosely thinking of a library philosophy turned habit from the “library of yesterday” is the idea that everyone must be quiet. It’s like the classic skit found on television when the elderly librarian “shushes” the patron! Let’s break this habit down “a la” Duhigg (2012) style:
1) Cue – It’s reported to the librarian that a group of patrons are talking…
2) Routine – Librarian walks to group of patrons talking and “shushes” them…
3) Reward – Librarian can now rest assured that the library is silent…
Thankfully today most public libraries have done away with this archaic habit. The mindset for the hyperlinked library and public libraries is that information needs to be shared within the community, not suppressed. Duhigg (2012) at length discusses ways how to change habits, “How it works: Use the same cue. Provide the same reward. Change the routine” (p. 63). For a library that’s trying to implement a tolerance change to noise level, that being for allowing conversations within the library, librarians would need to change their “routine” when it comes to noise complaints. A hypothetical scenario could be:
1) Cue – It’s reported to the librarian that a group of patrons are talking…
2) Routine – Librarian walks nearby group to listen for noise level and deems it OK.
3) Reward – Librarian can be assured that she did her job and followed the new protocol.
There’s a direct impact when it comes to a library systematically implementing a new vision, be it procedures, practices, values, and even culturally that trickles down to its patrons. One would assume anytime new administrators or mangers step in they are attuned to their community and will create positive change. Often these changes can be met with resistance, at least at first.
Amidst change, Duhigg (2012) shared an example from the book of alcoholics enrolled in Alcoholics Anonymous speaking to the missing ingredient that’s needed for change: “For a habit to stay changed, people must believe change is possible” (p. 92). It was shared by the author that those in AA that achieved sobriety attested the new change came from the highest power, “The secret, the alcoholics said, was God” (p. 84).
To bring the conversation back to libraries; for any systematic change to take shape and be impactful, both employees and patrons will need to “buy in.” This is done by a combination of believing and with keystone habits. “Keystone habits transform us by creating cultures that make clear the values that, in the heat of a difficult decision or a moment of uncertainty, we might otherwise forget” (Duhigg, 2012, p. 125).
I can recall when our library system decided to go “fine free,” eliminating late fees associated with library collection items. Many patrons and staff wondered why the change, asking questions like “how will the library afford to keep the lights on?” Research determined the money received from fine collection was minimal and that it cost our system more to pay its employees to process these fines; employee time was better spent doing other tasks. This was an easy policy for us employees to get behind, and most our patrons loved it. This step-forward in customer service led to other keystone habits being shaped by our organization that ultimately allowed for putting the customer first. Not only was this move great for publicity, but really aligned with our culture!
Last, when thinking of the hyperlinked library and the plethora of ways communication and information spreads; it’s important that users learn to embrace current technology trends. This mindset would ultimately call for a change in routine for users. The example of eBooks comes to mind when thinking of users needing a habit change to keep up with the times. When a patron determines a book is needed eBooks can be especially reliable in the area of access. Learning the simple process of downloading and accessing online library resources is life changing.
Let’s break this eBook scenario down:
1) Cue – Patron wants the latest Tom Clancy book.
2) Routine – Patron now learns to use Libby by OverDrive to download and read eBook.
3) Reward – Patron instantaneously achieves access to eBook.
Habits can make or break individuals, corporations, and societies, instilling these values is of upmost importance.
Duhigg, C. (2012). The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business. New York, New York: Random House.
Reflecting upon the Hyperlinked Library immediately sparks the word “connectedness,” in my mind. From reading the thought-provoking articles featured in Module 3, many provide doses of what a hyperlinked library user would need to know to keep moving forward. Being that we are living in the digital age, the internet is like the “web” that harbors all things linked; in addition I would argue that users (patrons and employees) are the “spiders” dictating/creating the intricate patterns of the spider web. Michael Stephens (2016) says it best, “My model for the “hyperlinked library” is born out of the ongoing evolution of libraries and library services” (p. 1). It’s my hope in this post to share with you just some of the facets of a hyperlinked library.
The hyperlinked library, its employees, and patrons need to all be acceptable of change. Knowing that we may not get a service or program right on the first time may be inevitable but looking to refine is where the true answer lies. Employees need to look for feedback (in person and online) from patrons, patrons need to express their interests to staff (in person and online) when seeking materials, programs, and services that will satisfy their information needs. This is the only way our libraries will truly rise to the occasion of enhancing the lives of its community members.
Stephens (2016) drops a bombshell speaking towards a revolutionary service that Gwinnett County Public Library has implemented, “To extend services even further, the system became one of the first in North America to launch a fully self-service off-hours program that allows the library to open without staff” (para. 3). My jaw literally dropped reading this, I want this for my library! I see patrons arriving early daily only to make a quick U-turn from the entrance when they find out the library doesn’t open for another hour. This incentive was well thought out by GCPL administration and staff, surely looking to provide additional access for its patrons. I surely am hoping more library systems will adopt this forward-thinking approach.
Libraries being “hyperlinked” allow patrons and staff to foster community not only in person, but also online (this is key). Information be it catalogs, courses, online resources, calendars, and communication are now easily accessible via computer or mobile device. Patrons remain connected to their local library without ever having to set foot inside the physical walls of the library. In terms of access this makes the library’s collection open around the clock, this is just one of the many benefits of the “hyperlinked” library.
An article transcribed from a keynote speech by Michael Stephens (2009) advocates for how the web is a social place, “Its impact on every facet of our lives — home, work and school — would be difficult to measure but the ‘always on, always available’ Internet is certainly a game changer” (para. 1). Surely this game changer effect also affects the way our patrons learn and perceive the world. Stephens (2009) goes on to mention how today’s youth (born digital natives) learn differently from the rest of the world and then poses the question, “What tools could you use to extend the reach and potential of your library services?” (para. 21). Stephens (2009) then points toward blogging, social media, video conferencing tools (Skype), custom content videos made in-house as being acceptable media that could appeal to fostering a connectedness for this demographic. On the flip side, being that it is the year 2020, this approach is tried, true, and applicable to almost all library patrons; I’d like to see it continue to be a reality for libraries.
Given that we received quite a variety of articles to read, clearly sharing something from each of them would be more appropriate for a more formal paper of some sort; I would like to share one last fascinating article from the bunch that’s a bit more lighthearted. Visser (2011) shares his favorite takeaways from the DOK Library in the city of Delft (Netherlands). He states, “DOK is more an “information community centre” than a library. They have an art library in the building, organize debates about literature but also finance, …” (para. 2). This really seems to be the direction many libraries are moving, being a community gathering center in addition to the vast collections they house. Interaction is encouraged in the hyperlinked library model; Visser (2011) says the same of the DOK library, “At DOK they understand that to increase participation, the entire design should be focused at doing stuff” (para. 4).
These articles have really shed a great light for me in understanding what it means to be a hyperlinked library, but for me it’s just the tip of the iceberg! So, here’s to fostering connectedness among libraries and the world they exist in.