Virtual Symposium & Final Reflection: The Ever-Growing Garden of Hyperlinked Librarianship

To conclude our semester and highlight one of our foundational texts, The Heart of Librarianship: Attentive, Positive, and Purposeful Change, I used Canva to create a ticket stub for a fictitious theatrical production (Stephens, 2016). The play, The Ever-Growing Garden of Hyperlinked Librarianship, would be a story of librarians who work together to embrace hyperlinked librarianship and transcend their library—and community—into a realm of limitless possibilities. The ticket stub would not only serve as a piece of memorabilia for attendees—presumably, many of whom would be in the LIS field—but also as an ongoing reminder for show-goers to follow the production’s message by adhering to the “Terms & Conditions to Follow Beyond the Performance,” which entails what a successful hyperlinked librarian should understand in order to navigate our socio-technological landscape and practice hyperlinked librarianship (Stephens, 2016, p. 2). When reflecting on Information 287: The Hyperlinked Library, the course has profoundly impacted my developing philosophy of librarianship; yet, one sentiment stands out amongst all, especially in relation to the fictitious theatrical production’s synopsis: “hyperlinks are people too” (Stephens, 2020). Modern-day, hyperlinked librarianship is multidimensional and the most indispensable dimension is humanistic.

References

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

Stephens, M. T. (2020). The hyperlinked library: Exploring the model. [Web Lecture]. Retrieved from https://sjsu-ischool.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=a0569381-4d66-4e0a-a7fa-aab3010a8f3e

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Director’s Brief:

Dokk1 in Aarhus, Denmark (Dokk1, n.d.)

Redefine the Academic Library, Redefine the Future: Implementing a Danish, User-Centered Trend at the Humboldt State University Library in Arcata, California

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Academic libraries are most commonly known as hubs for addressing the scholarly needs of students and housing massive print-based collections, which they are; however, there is a growing need for libraries—academic, included—to be safe, inclusive, and welcoming spaces for all community members. And while the Humboldt State University (HSU) Library in Arcata, California currently serves as the University’s center for research, scholarship, and collaboration, there are ways in which the Library could adjust its present practices to become a place that not only draws more students in from across the University’s campus, but also people from the greater community of Humboldt County. By implementing an innovative, user-centered trend that has been embraced by the Dokk1 Library, which earned International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)’s 2016 Public Library of the Year award, the HSU Library may work to redefine itself and ensure that community engagement is at the heart of all library planning (Witteveen, 2016, p. 43).

References

Dokk1. (n.d.). Dokk1 Aarhus/ Denmark. Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects.

https://www.shl.dk/dokk1/Witteveen, A. (2016). The people’s place. Library Journal, 141(15), 43.

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Reflection Blog #5: Infinite Learning—Learning Everywhere!

During my undergraduate experience at Humboldt State University, I was a shamefully—especially for being an English major—infrequent user of the Library. In the moment, I attributed my lack of time spent at the Library to (1) minimal free time outside of my full-time schedule of classes and part-time job at a local coffee shop, and (2) not having a library card because there wasn’t an option to have student ID pictures taken on campus. Now, however, when reflecting I see a much different reason: the absence of services that are relevant and/or engaging to students who are seeking to learn life skills outside academia’s ivory tower of quintessential library services. I didn’t feel the need to attend SkillShops for research-related needs or resume writing help, and, honestly, didn’t think much more about the Library—or why I spent so little time there as an English major—after discovering the limited services which were available.

It wasn’t until after viewing, “Infinite Learning: Learning Everywhere,” that it all became clear: the HSU Library is in dire need of services that are geared towards life literacies—not just information literacies or digital literacies (Stephens, 2020). Despite being an academic library with a relatively small budget, especially in comparison to its sister CSU campuses with higher enrollments, the HSU Library has the potential—and most importantly of all, the community—to create services that will support students beyond their scholarly endeavors. The implementation of services that promote life literacies will provide students with additional opportunities to learn skills that will help them in their day-today lives—both during and after their undergraduate studies—as well as enable them to make connections and network with like-minded individuals who are seeking to expand their skillsets.

Humboldt State University—and the surrounding community of Humboldt County—is continually make efforts towards helping people live a more accessibly-sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle. The farm-to-table movement and local Farmers’ Markets events are wildly popular, but not every patron has the means to attend or pay for fresh produce. Perhaps, the HSU Library could draw inspiration from the University and greater community to create a bi-monthly event in the Library will help educate patrons on how to start an at-home vegetable garden. Even those who don’t have enough space to create their own personal garden space could attend the Library’s gardening events to learn basic principles that could be applied elsewhere. There is even a Community Garden on HSU’s campus that the Library could partner with to potentially expand and create more in-depth, high-level gardening events.

There are endless opportunities for libraries to support learners, and as Dr. Stephens sagely notes in The Heart of Librarianship: Attentive, Positive, and Purposeful Change, “[p]roviding opportunities to gain knowledge—either formally within networked courses delivered across multiple channels by the university, or via services, collections, and access made seamless and available to anyone wherever they may be—is key for both LIS professors and librarians,” which demonstrates the ongoing need for the implementation of unconventional library services to support people in as many varying wats as possible (2016, p. 125).

Academic libraries shouldn’t limit their scope of library services to those that directly relate to the scholarly endeavors of students. Libraries are supportive hubs for those who seek information and limitations shouldn’t be placed on the types of services that can be created to help people become more literate—in whichever way(s) that may be. Information and digital literacies are important to master, however, they aren’t isolated from—or useful without—life literacies. The implementation of programs that are based on life literacies (e.g. introductory cooking, garment care (sewing and laundering basics), travel tips, etc.) support people in all areas of their being, proving that libraries are an essential component of the global classroom and that learning truly is everywhere.

References

Stephens, M. (2016). Learning everywhere. In The heart of librarianship: attentive, positive, and purposeful change (pp. 123-125). Chicago: ALA Editions.

Stephens, M. (2020). Infinite learning: Learning everywhere [Web Lecture]. Retrieved from https://sjsu-ischool.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=e38d4a22-9626-4b29-a038-aaef0124ee52

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Reflection Blog #4: Mobile Devices & Connections

I was born in 1993, which I consider to be a unique place within our technological timeline. I recall using the landline, patiently waiting for dialup, and communicating via AIM (AOL Instant Messenger). But I also fondly remember receiving a magenta Motorola Razr for Hanukkah in eighth grade, noticing the increase of wireless hotspot availability throughout the years, and transitioning from general text messaging to iMessaging. As time presses on—and as I enter the field of Library and Information Science—I’m becoming much more grateful for the era in which I was born, as I’m able to assist people from varying technological backgrounds and levels of comfortability. I can easily relate to and help those who feel overwhelmed by the introduction of new technologies, but I can also experience excitement with—and offer additional support to—someone who is mastering a complex computing project. I’m optimistic that my friendly and relatable approach to the mobile-driven aspects of librarianship will be compatible when helping patrons and will aid me in convincing library stakeholders to invest in ensuring highly accessible, mobile-friendly library platforms.

Much like Dr. Stephens and the other authors featured throughout Module 10: Mobile Devices and Connections, I’m fascinated by the seemingly limitless nature of mobile technologies, especially when considering the bartender in South Carolina’s all-encompassing statement: “I have everything I need here: I have my web, I have my e-mail, I have my text, I have my video, and I have my music: I have the world of information in my hand” (Stephens, 2016, p. 44). As a soon-to-be librarian, I’m inspired to help libraries create mobile-friendly services and applications that engage patrons beyond the standard, quintessential library experience of checking out books and requesting reference services. My primary focus will be connectivity beyond the books, as inspired by the past three weeks of isolation:

During the past few weeks of California’s COVID-19 shelter-in-place order, I’ve spent a shameful amount of time on my mobile device, especially with what Stephens’s (2015) “Serving the User When and Where They Are: Hyperlinked Libraries” refers to as, “‘me time,’ or accessing relaxing or entertaining content that will help to pass the time,” and, in conjunction, have dedicated hours considering its relation to my studies of Library and Information Science (2015, p. 4). I’ve spent hours connecting with loved ones on my iPhone as a form of escapism and can’t help but think of how a post-COVID-19 era of mobile phone services in—and outside of—libraries might be inspired to create similarly captivating applications. Perhaps, for example, libraries will consider testing mobile-based book clubs that patrons can access from anywhere and at anytime. An application that enables patrons to connect with others who enjoy reading similar genres or authors could prove to help community members establish connections, and, potentially, life-long friendships with those who share similar values. After being paired with others who share similar reading preferences, various chatrooms/forums could be established for asynchronous discussions that correspond with each book. Regardless of how much patrons choose to interact with others, the mobile book club could offer a new way for patrons to connect with their libraries and fellow community members.

References

Stephens, M. (2016). Mobile at the library. In The heart of librarianship: attentive, positive, and purposeful change (pp. 43-48). Chicago: ALA Editions.

Stephens, M. (2015). Serving the user when and where they are: Hyperlinked Libraries. Retrieved from https://tametheweb.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Stephens_ServingtheUser_HyperlinkedLibraries.pdf

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Emerging Technology Planning: “Once Upon a Queen” & “Dress the Queen” Participatory Services at the Humboldt County Library

Photograph by Adam Pulicicchio, (Bloom, 2016).

Introduction, Purpose, & Institutional Details:

In an effort to expand upon the existing services for children, the Humboldt County Library’s main Eureka branch wishes to diversify its roster of events by featuring highly inclusive, interactive, and engaging participatory services for children of all ages. The family-friendly, bimonthly “Once Upon a Queen” storytime service will feature local drag queens who volunteer to read—or, more accurately, perform­—picture books to children and their families. The drag queen storytime has been successfully implemented in libraries internationally and we anticipate similarly positive outcomes (Naidoo, 2018). The “Dress the Queen” follow-up crafting activity is inspired by Mariah Smitala’s (2019) “Once Upon a Wall: Storytime Mural Project Increases Engagement, Attendance,” that features an interactive crafting project for younger patrons to engage in, valuing their input and artistic expression. Likewise, our “Dress the Queen” adaptation of the storytime mural will enable children to create something of their own to be proudly displayed, which, in turn, helps them feel invested in the Library (Smitala, 2019). While doing so, children (and maybe some of their accompanying family members) will simultaneously be learning to develop an appreciation for the counterculture of drag, but more importantly, will become more culturally competent individuals who respect and value people from all walks of life. The Humboldt County Library may be serving a rural community with limited resources, but that doesn’t mean the Library won’t attempt to continually expand its services to reflect the growing community of patrons—if anything, we’re more dedicated than ever to push for such diversifying services. Libraries are places for people from all places, and it’s our number one priority to ensure that all people feel safe, welcome, and celebrated in the Humboldt County Library.



Goals/Objectives for Technology or Service:

1. Encourage patrons (both new and well-established) to become allies of Humboldt County’s growing LGBTQIA+ community.
2. Support younger patrons and their guardians by providing fun, engaging, and interactive services that enables them to meet other like-minded people (e.g. those who also visit libraries for weekend activities with their children), thus helping them build connections and befriend people from the community who they might not have met otherwise.
3. Inspire young patrons (and their family members!) to develop a love of reading while simultaneously becoming more culturally competent individuals.
4. Increase overall engagement and usage of library services, especially those that are driven by community-building activities and local artists.
5. Provide a safe and welcoming space for drag queens to share their artistry and love for reading with younger audiences, thus creating an environment that fosters a community built on empathy and the celebration of diversity.

Description of Community to Engage:

The Humboldt County Library’s “Once Upon a Queen” storytime and follow-up “Dress the Queen” participatory services plan to primarily engage younger community members (roughly, ages 3-8) and their families, however, with the ever-growing popularity of RuPaul’s Drag Race (2009-present) and its various spinoffs, we anticipate that the storytime audience will become more diverse as the service becomes more well known throughout the community. We’re hopeful that the implementation of such a service, which celebrates diversity, will help the Humboldt County Library distinguish itself as a safe and inclusive space for all people, thus affirming its place as a pillar of the community.

Despite Humboldt County’s rural location, there is a somewhat sizable community of drag artists who perform at local bars. Unfortunately, such restrictive locations prohibit certain audiences (i.e. anyone who is under the age of 21 or who is sensitive to environments containing substances) from viewing drag artist performances. The inclusion of a bimonthly “Once Upon a Queen” storytime service will provide local drag queens with a platform to showcase their artistry, while sharing their love for art and literature with younger audiences. The inclusive, family-friendly event will include 45 minutes of storytime and 30 minutes of crafting time. After the children have crafted their items and they’re added to the paper doll queen on the wall, Diver City (a play on words: diver-sity), a librarian will post a picture of Diver City’s “Library Lewk of the Moment” to all social media platforms, along with photos of the volunteer queen—both promoting her and protecting the identities of under-aged patrons—to promote the new service.


Action Brief Statement:

Convince Humboldt County Library stakeholders that by introducing bimonthly “Once Upon a Queen” and “Dress the Queen” events to the roster of library services they will proliferate the overall engagement and attendance of community members, which will increase the overall usage of the library because it will become well known as a fun, safe, and inclusive space for all people to gather.


Evidence and Resources to Support Technology or Service:

Bloom, J. (2018). Inside drag queen storytime, the Toronto library’s fiercest kids’ reading series. Toronto Life. Retrieved from https://torontolife.com/culture/books/inside-drag-queen-storytime-toronto-librarys-fiercest-kids-reading-series/

Condren, C. (2018). Far from a drag: How one library embraced drag queen story hour. Children & Libraries: The Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children, 16(1), 21-22. doi:10.5860/cal.16.1.21

Naidoo, J. C. (2018). A rainbow of creativity: Exploring drag queen storytimes and gender creative programming in public libraries. Children & Libraries: The Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children, 16(4), 12-20. doi:10.5860/cal.16.4.12

Smitala, M. (2019). Once upon a wall: Storytime mural project increases engagement, attendance. Children & Libraries: The Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children, 17(3), 3-4. doi:10.5860/cal.17.3.3

Staino, R. (2017). Storytime gets fabulous. School Library Journal, 63(7), 14-14. Retrieved from https://web-b-ebscohost-com.libaccess.sjlibrary.org/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=5&sid=4b4b19cb-5cce-4902-85d0-9d60d3c00447%40sessionmgr101

Townend, C. (2019). How drag queen storytime in libraries helps early years children develop multi-literacies, empathy and centres inclusion. Humanities Commons. Retrieved from https://hcommons.org/deposits/item/hc:24871/


Mission, Guidelines, and Policy related to Technology or Service:

Other than the Library’s administration, the Humboldt County’s Board of Supervisors are likely to be involved in setting policies. Although there aren’t any examples of policies available that relate to the library services for children, the Board of Supervisors’ General Plan Update (approved on October 23, 2017) should be consulted. The values of the Library’s mission statement should also be upheld: “The Humboldt County Library provides resources and opportunities to support lifelong learning, local heritage, and the cultural, recreational, and information needs of our communities.”


Funding Considerations for this Technology or Service: 

Thankfully, the bimonthly “Once Upon a Queen” storytime service requires very minimal funding. The Library will create both an online and print-based volunteer form for drag artists to submit, which will cost virtually nothing. Materials for the “Dress the Queen” follow-up crafting activity will also be acquired through donations—from both patrons and staff—as well as miscellaneous library resources that aren’t being utilized. If the service becomes wildly popular and attendance grows, additional funding will be requested from the Board of Supervisors to pay for employment and a wider range of crafting materials.


Action Steps & Timeline: 
 
A prototype of the service may be developed and then tested by the families of librarians and library staff. If the first reading is well received, then the following action steps may be taken:

Action Step #1 (Beginning of January 2021): Present proposal of service plan to library administration and stakeholders.
Action Step #2 (Middle of January 2021): Begin drafting website and creating online forms (volunteer and survey).
Action Step #3 (End of January 2021): Print and post flyers around library and make website live.
Action Step #4 (Beginning of February 2021): Generate schedule which includes queens and the books they’ll be reading.
Action Step #5 (Middle of February 2021): First “Once Upon a Queen” and “Dress the Queen” service. Take photos and post on social media.
Action Step #6 (End of February 2021): Second “Once Upon a Queen” and “Dress the Queen” service. Take photos and post on social media.
Action Step #7 (Beginning of March 2021): Third “Once Upon a Queen” and “Dress the Queen” service, take photos and post on social media, as well as begin to compile data for assessment.
Action Step #8 (Middle of March 2021): Fourth “Once Upon a Queen” and “Dress the Queen” service, take photos and post on social media, collect more data for assessment, and begin generating schedule for upcoming months.

If the Board of Supervisors rejects our current, diversity-based proposal for services, we will propose another (more traditional, less progressive) storytime service. Our hope is to slowly transition to the original, diversity-inspired services as time progresses. We won’t give up on trying to expand and diversify our services to reflect and meet the ever-changing needs of our growing community.


Staffing Considerations for Technology or Service:

There will be no additional staffing needed to implement the “Once Upon a Queen” storytime and the follow-up “Dress the Queen” art-based activity at the Humboldt County Library. The Library staff will continue to work their existing hours as usual, and the activities will end well before closing, which eliminates the need for an increase in employees or hours.


Training for Technology or Service:

Due to the nature of the volunteer-based storytime program, there won’t be the need for additional training. Drag queens are performative artists who won’t require training to read aloud, especially because they have input in the book selection process and are given plenty of time (a minimum of two weeks) to prepare. We have the utmost respect for the queens and recognize that they are performative artists who won’t need formal training to read aloud.

Librarians and staff who are working during storytime and the crafting activities will be quickly briefed with where the art cart is located, at what time they will need to start winding things down, and a reminder to take photos for social media accounts, but there’s no additional—or elaborate/time-consuming—training that will be required to get the service in motion.  


Promotion & Marketing for Technology or Service:

The promotional and marketing strategies for the “Once Upon a Queen” and “Dress the Queen” participatory services will utilize print-based resources (flyers around the library), electronic resources (the Library webpage), and various social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) to ensure that the service will be known throughout the community prior to its official premier.

Once the services begin, librarians and/or library staff will document the queens as they are reading and Diver City’s “Library Lewk of the Moment” by taking photos to further promote the participatory service. We’re hopeful that continually updating social media platforms with photos of successful events will continue to draw in new attendees.


Evaluation:

The participatory service will be evaluated through observation, as well as both electronic and print-based surveys for attendees, volunteers, and staff to complete. While the children are crafting items for Diver City, guardians will have the opportunity to fill out a paper survey, or they will have the option to fill it out at home so they may craft along with their child. We deeply value the feedback, but we prioritize their experience over assessment. In such cases, librarians and staff will be asked to observe closer than if the parents are less engaged in the activity. Library staff are trusted to use their discretion.

Ideally, if the event is successful and attendance continues to rise, it would be wonderful to expand by adding a third element to the mix: a fashion show! The Library will encourage its “Once Upon a Queen” storytime attendees to don their most fashionable, drag-worthy attire. Whether it be a feather boa, a colorful wig, a pair of fun sunglasses, or a full-blown ensemble, the Library is thrilled to have “Once Upon a Queen” audiences express themselves, but would be even more thrilled to provide them with a safe space to strut their stuff and celebrate diversity. The fashion show would also be a wonderful opportunity for attendees to mingle and befriend each other.

While there are many stories that we envision telling about the “Once Upon a Queen” and “Dress the Queen” participatory services, we’re most hopeful that our attendees will learn to celebrate—rather than fear or question—those who don’t adhere to our society’s rigid gender norms. Instead, we hope that attendees will learn to appreciate the counterculture of drag artistry and, in turn, associate the Library with their foundational development of cultural competence.

As RuPaul Charles frequently says, “we’re all born naked and the rest is drag.” Libraries are spaces for people from all places, and the Humboldt County Library is no exception (TEDx Talks, 2013).  


References

Bloom, J. (2018). Inside drag queen storytime, the Toronto library’s fiercest kids’ reading series. Toronto Life. Retrieved from https://torontolife.com/culture/books/inside-drag-queen-storytime-toronto-librarys-fiercest-kids-reading-series/

Campbell, J. N. (2018). A rainbow of creativity: Exploring drag queen storytimes and gender creative programming in public libraries. Children & Libraries: The Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children, 16(4), 12-20. doi:10.5860/cal.16.4.12

Condren, C. (2018). Far from a drag: How one library embraced drag queen story hour. Children & Libraries: The Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children, 16(1), 21-22. doi:10.5860/cal.16.1.21

Smitala, M. (2019). Once upon a wall: Storytime mural project increases engagement, attendance. Children & Libraries: The Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children, 17(3), 3-4. doi:10.5860/cal.17.3.3

Staino, R. (2017). Storytime gets fabulous. School Library Journal, 63(7), 14-14. Retrieved from https://web-b-ebscohost-com.libaccess.sjlibrary.org/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=5&sid=4b4b19cb-5cce-4902-85d0-9d60d3c00447%40sessionmgr101

Stephens, M. (2020). The hyperlinked library: Participatory service & transparency [Web Lecture]. Retrieved from https://sjsu-ischool.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=35b4e981-cd58-479a-96d3-aab3011b0f24

Stephens, M. (2020). The hyperlinked library: Planning for participatory services [Web Lecture]. Retrieved form https://sjsu-ischool.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=0f55e5f3-e6dc-411b-9e8c-aad6011842c1

TEDx Talks. (2013). What to expect from libraries in the 21st century: Pam Sandlian Smith at TEDxMileHigh [YouTube Video]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fa6ERdxyYdo&feature=emb_logo

Townend, C. (2019). How drag queen storytime in libraries helps early years children develop multi-literacies, empathy and centres inclusion. Humanities Commons. Retrieved from https://hcommons.org/deposits/item/hc:24871/

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Reflection Blog #3: Hyperlinked Environments

Humboldt State University Library, third floor.

THE HYPERLINKED ACADEMIC LIBRARY: Whether it be a highly-funded research university in an urban city, or a small community college in rural town which has primarily low-income students, there’s one thing that’s certain across the board for all academic libraries: everything’s changing and it’s our responsibility as LIS professionals to meet the ever-changing, information-related needs of our patrons for them to succeed both academically and professionally. From providing a range of makerspaces, to ensuring that patrons are having their basic, everyday living needs met, it’s our duty as LIS professionals to help the academic library become more than just a place for those who seek scholarly-related assistance.

In Barbara Fister’s “The Boundaries of ‘Information’ in Information Literacy,” she discloses the growing importance of ensuring that students are able to successfully navigate our ever-changing information landscape by stating that, “[s]tudents need to learn how to use academic libraries to do academic work. But not all information is academic, and students will need to know something about the wider landscape of information to function in a world that’s highly driven by networked and powerful information systems” (2017). By understanding that our goals as academic librarians shouldn’t be solely based on developing the most up-to-date collections of scholarly materials, but–more importantly–to provide students with the necessary makerspaces and help them learn how to utilize technologies required for academic and professional success.

Likewise, Keith Webster notes the shift in academic library environments in, “Reimagining the Role of the Library in the Digital Age: Changing the Use of Space and Navigating Information Landscape,” where he asserts that: “[w]e see two fundamental differences, though: firstly, the majority of today’s students are not using libraries in a traditional sense. They pass by our collections and rarely interact with librarians. Secondly, the form of student work today is very different from the past. It often requires collaboration with other students, the creation of tangible objects using technology housed in the library, the pursuit of interdisciplinary debate, and all of that has to be accommodated alongside a continued demand for quiet study environments,” both of which further supports the other trends in LIS literature for additional makerspaces in all sizes of academic libraries (2017). We, as modern-day LIS professionals need to advocate for services and the changes of current library spatial configurations to support our patrons is the most effective ways possible.

And while there’s much that can be solved through the implementation of makerspaces, we, as LIS professionals, shouldn’t limit place any restrictions on how we can further support our patrons beyond the standard, quinessetnial library services. Joe Hardenbrook’s blog, “Starting a Food Pantry in an Academic Library,” sheds light on a less-than-talked-about matter—which LIS professionals can play a part in combating—that plagues many modern-day university students: food insecurities (2019). Between finals, the stressors of living in foreign environments, the balance of school-work life, and maintaining one’s sanity, the very last thing students should be concerned about is where their next meal is coming from—yet that’s, sadly, not the case for a growing number of students. My beloved alma mater, Humboldt State University, has had an ongoing issue with food insecurities within its student population (and the surrounding community). Thankfully, Hardenbrook introduces an unconventional approach to the issue: an open-access, non-judgmental, “take what you need, give when you can” pantry (2019). And while the most predictable items (e.g. granola bars, dried fruits/nuts, ramen, etc.) may be found in the pantry, other high-demand everyday essential items (e.g. tampons, toothpaste/toothbrushes, soap, etc.) are also accepted (Hardenbrook, 2019). The philosophy held by Hardenbrook and his colleagues has wholeheartedly inspired me to work towards implementing a similar program at whichever academic library I end up serving. Regardless of whether or not a campus is known for its students suffering from food insecurities, the implementation of a “take what you need, give when you can” style of pantry will surely support patrons in more profound ways than many might be able to imagine.


References

Fister, B. (2017). The boundaries of ‘information’ in information literacy. Retrieved from https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/library-babel-fish/boundaries-information-information-literacy

Hardenbrook, J. (2019). Starting a food pantry in an academic library. Retrieved from https://mrlibrarydude.wordpress.com/2019/09/13/starting-a-food-pantry-in-an-academic-library/

Webster, K. (2017). Reimagining the role of the library in the digital age: Changing the use of space and navigating the information landscape. Retrieved from https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2017/02/15/reimagining-the-role-of-the-library-in-the-digital-age-changing-the-use-of-space-and-navigating-the-information-landscape/?platform=hootsuite

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Reflection Blog #2: Hyperlinked Communities

The task of crafting library services that cater to a diverse—and sometimes misunderstood—community of patrons may seem daunting, yet there’s a simple and effective means of creating engaging, meaningful services: just ask. And while there are numerous philosophies that could be taken into consideration when creating relevant library services, my favorite (and the most straightforward) approach featured throughout numerous readings from Module 5: Hyperlinked Communities is to thoughtfully inquire about their lives, both inside and outside of the library. Some people in the earlier generations of Library and Information Science professionals have grown accustomed to the divide between librarians and patrons, but it’s our responsibility as modern-day LIS professionals to bridge the gap and strengthen the library’s relationship with its surrounding community. In doing so, we may establish meaningful, lifelong relationships with our patrons and strengthen the community as a whole—something that can’t be done without personalized, one-on-one conversations with individuals.

In Aaron Schmidt’s “Asking the Right Questions: The User Experience,” he urges that, “[i]nstead of asking people about libraries, we need to ask people about their lives,” something that may feel unconventional for some, but is absolutely necessary for the development of progressive and personalized library services (2016). Likewise, in Michael Stephens’s (2016) “Reaching All Users” he encourages his audience to be actively engaged with the community and states that: “[i]t starts with some questions. Whom do you reach well? Who uses your library passionately? Take care of them and keep them. Who doesn’t use the library? Who in your community could benefit from access, services, assistance? Find them. Go to them, ask them what they want and need” (p. 42). Both Schmidt (2016) and Stephens (2016) inspire up-and-coming LIS professionals, like myself, to embrace the often overlooked opportunity to have purposeful and transformative conversations with our patrons. Libraries have a longstanding reputation as being a foundational pillar of their communities, and it’s our duty as today’s LIS professionals to be the leaders of the ever-changing information dance—as Christian Lauersen would say, “[d]iversity is being invited to a party. Inclusion is being asked to dance” (2018).


References

Lauersen, C. (2018). Do you want to dance? Inclusion and belonging in libraries and beyond. Retrieved from https://christianlauersen.net/2018/06/07/inclusion-and-belonging-in-libraries-and-beyond/

Schmidt, A. (2016). Asking the right questions: The user experience. Library Journal. Retrieved from https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=asking-the-right-questions-the-user-experience

Stephens, M. T. (2016). Reaching all users. In The heart of librarianship: attentive, positive, and purposeful change. Chicago: ALA Editions, an imprint of the American Library Association.

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Planning for the Unplannable: An Exploration of Peter Morville’s Planning for Everything: The Design of Paths and Goals

Figure 8-4. Planning for Everything (Morville, 2018).

I’m a fatalist, and a planner—a fatalistic planner. Perhaps that makes me an oxymoron, but I’m more than content with my unorthodox position, especially after reading and reflecting on Peter Morville’s (2018) Planning for Everything: The Design of Paths and Goals. Now, I’m even more certain than ever that my unconventional approach to, well, everything, will aid me in developing a well-rounded philosophy of librarianship that values kindness and compassion over productivity and measurability. We, as soon-to-be Library and Information Science professionals, must approach planning by thoughtfully considering how to manage all known factors, yet we must also plan and prepare for what’s out of our control. By recognizing the inherent uncertainty involved with planning, we’re better able to respond to situations that don’t go accordingly and may recover from our mistakes without feeling entirely defeated. Participatory library services might sound daunting for those who focus on older notions of media spectatorship, but proper planning proves otherwise (Stephens, n.d.).

Morville (2018) introduces his own real-life applications of planning by beginning the first chapter, “Realising the Future,” with an anecdote about exploring Actun Tunichil Muknal, a subterranean cave in Belize, on an adventurous holiday with his family (p. 2). Even after disclosing how he built flexibility into the itinerary and carefully considered the needs of his family, Morville concludes his surprise-related sentiments by asserting that: “[s]urprise is inevitable. Both the plan and the change need to happen. To manage disruption with grace and a sense of humor is part of the challenge. That’s why planning is about more than a plan” (2018, p. 2). Anyone who has ever traveled anywhere—even if it’s just a small daytrip—knows that surprises are always part of the journey, but we still choose to travel. Why? Because we don’t want to limit ourselves and experiences.

We shouldn’t limit our plans on holiday, or in the library. And just as travel plans are often more successful when collaborative efforts are made (who wants to vacation with no involvement in what’s to be seen or done?), planning for participatory services are more successful when done so collectively. Morville (2018) emphasizes the importance of collaborative planning by noting that, “[i]n particular, exercises in planning together help people get better at problem solving, decision making, and metacognition. When we share the responsibility for planning, we share strategies, insights, tools, and tactics that improve our ability to design paths and goals” (p. 10). Furthermore, Morville encourages his audience to push the boundaries when planning and states that, “[w]e should not limit ourselves to efficiency metrics when it comes to organizing the future” and that we must “embrace a more expansive definition” of planning (2018, p. 11). While library statistics are essential for assessment and gaining awareness of trends within the library to better serve patrons, we can’t base our decisions on or limit ourselves—and our library services—to such rigid figures. Instead, we should opt for experimenting with diverse methods of planning. I wholeheartedly agree with Morville’s (2018) sentiment that, “[p]lanning is enhanced by diversity,” and consider it to be an essential component of creating participatory services that will truly engage a diverse community of library patrons (p. 13).

Since change and surprises are inevitable, we must consider—and work to evolve from—K.G. Schneider’s “The User Is Not Broken: A meme masquerading as a manifesto,” where she, much like Morville, chooses to emphasize of focusing on what we do have control over, rather than what we don’t, as she states that: “[y]ou cannot change the user, but you can transform the user experience to meet the user” (2016). In the early stages of developing participatory services, we must begin by investigating what’s most engaging to patrons and then adjust accordingly. Morville (2018) would, likely, suggest that we remind ourselves that, “the path to ‘helpful help’ begins with ‘humble inquiry,’” something which humbly reminds us that even though we are information professionals, our expertise isn’t enough and that we must open the lines of communication to better serve our patrons (p. 54). Without explicitly asking our library users what will help them become more engaged, we won’t be equipped to create effective services. Morville puts it simply: “[w]e won’t fix what we don’t see” (p. 100). On a similar note, in Michael Stephens’s (2016) The Heart of Librarianship: Attentive, Positive, and Purposeful Change, he proclaims that, “[i]t’s not out of the question to imagine these service models based on community enrichment and building connections,” which offers a promising glimpse into how LIS professionals can—and should—plan to become more involved with the surrounding community to create new participatory library services (p. 56).

Above all, Morville’s(2018) Planning for Everything: The Design of Paths and Goals has influenced my ever-evolving philosophy of librarianship by affirming that no matter how disrupting of an era we are in, or how many obstacles may interfere with our original plans, “[w]e will answer with truth and hope” (p. 113). And although surprises are inevitable and planning has its limitations, Morville reminds us that, “[k]indness and compassion are everything on the well-trodden path to joyful, meaningful life,” and any librarians who chooses to embody such life-changing qualities when crafting services for their patrons will, hopefully, be remembered as the pioneers in developing participatory library services (2018, p. 105). Kindness and compassion are the gateway to planning library services for lifelong engagement.

References

Morville, P. (2018). Planning for everything: The design of paths and goals. Ann Arbor, MI : Semantic Studios.

Morville, P. (2018). 8-4. Planning for everything. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/morville/25819013767

Schneider, K. G. (2006). The user is not broken: A meme masquerading as a menifesto. Retrieved from http://freerangelibrarian.com/2006/06/03/the-user-is-not-broken-a-meme-masquerading-as-a-manifesto/

Stephens, M. (2016). The heart of librarianship: Attentive, positive, and purposeful change. Chicago : ALA Editions

Stephens, M. (n.d.). The hyperlinked library: Participatory service and transparency. Retrieved from https://sjsu-ischool.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=35b4e981-cd58-479a-96d3-aab3011b0f24


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Reflection Blog #1: The Hyperlinked Library Model

As someone who was born and raised in a Victorian farm home that was built just three years after the Library Bureau’s 1890 catalog, I can’t help but be drawn to the images of dictionary stands featured in Shannon Mattern’s “Library as Infrastructure” (2014). It’s challenging to begin to truly fathom how much the field of library and information science has evolved over the past century (or even decade!), and it’s even more unfathomable to imagine where we—and our libraries—will be in another hundred years. The international libraries featured in Module 3’s readings, namely those in the Netherlands and Denmark, appear to be the most accurate indicator of what future libraries may look like (highly inclusive, interactive, user-centered, versatile spaces for both collaborative and independent activities), but we’ll just have to observe and wait for further developments. Another side note: Mattern’s (2014) discussion of the early Carnegie buildings also deeply resonates with me, as my beloved childhood library, the Ferndale Public Library, was built in 1910 with a grant from Andrew Carnegie and is one of the few Carnegie libraries that still functions as such today.

Dictionary stands from the Library Bureau’s 1890 catalog (Mattern, 2014).

And although most of the examples from Module 3’s readings featured libraries in well-populated cities, I can’t help but be wildly inspired by their bold and innovative efforts to consider how I—as someone who is interning at a rural university library—may one day implement such practices on smaller scale with limited funding. Mal Booth’s (2013) “People and the UTS Library” includes a robust amount of inspiring recommendations that I can easily imagine benefitting the Humboldt State University (HSU) Library and its surrounding community, but I’m especially thrilled with her assertion that, “[i]ncreasingly, I think we need more people around us who will help us to challenge the norm for library practice, particularly for academic libraries” (p. 8). The HSU Library uniquely stands out amongst both the CSU libraries, as well as the other libraries in Humboldt County, making it an excellent candidate for experimental and unconventional policies which may, in turn, help Humboldt State University reinvent itself as a smaller institution that’s not afraid to challenge the norm. Even if it’s one small step at a time, I’m certain that many of Booth’s (2013) recommendations may be applicable (and beneficial!) to the HSU Library and its growing population of users.

Booth, M. (2013). People and UTS Library. INFO 287 – The Hyperlinked Library. Retrieved from https://287.hyperlib.sjsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Booth_PeopleUTSLibrary.pdf

Mattern, S. (2014). Library as infrastructure. Places Journal. Retrieved from https://placesjournal.org/article/library-as-infrastructure/

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A Brief Introduction

Hi, all!

My name is Eleanor Hill, and I live in Humboldt County—a rural area along the coast of California, about five hours north of San Francisco. Currently, I’m a full-time student in the MLIS program and a part-time library intern at my beloved alma mater, Humboldt State University. I received my Bachelor of Arts in English: Teaching the Language Arts—with the intentions of teaching at the secondary level—but quickly realized after a day of classroom observations that it wasn’t my calling. To make a long story short, I’m beyond thankful to be a graduate student at SJSU and am eager to facilitate the learning of students and contribute to the field of higher education as a soon-to-be academic librarian.

Outside of academia, I enjoy—much like Dr. Stephens—forest bathing in the redwoods, spending quality time with loved ones, listening to (and sometimes attempting to mix!) techno, and traveling whenever possible.

Best of wishes to everyone, and I look forward to learning with you all this semester.

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