A Hyperlinked State of Mind

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. 

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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. 

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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.   

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Stephens, M. (2010, March 02). The hyperlinked school library: engage, explore, celebrate. Tame the web.  

Stephens, M. (2016). The heart of librarianship: Attentive, positive, and purposeful change. Chicago: ALA Editions, an imprint of the American Library Association. 

Stephens, M. (2016, November 17). Open to change. Library Journal. 

Visser, J. (2011, January 22). DOK Delft, inspirational library concepts. The museum of the future. 

One reply on “A Hyperlinked State of Mind”

David – Thanks for synthesizing your takeaways from the module into this snapshot of what the Hyperlinked Library can be. Do you think the Hyperlinked School Library is showing too much age. Everything is suddenly a decade old now! 🙂

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