This class has been so inspiring and provided ample opportunities for me to explore new aspects and possibilities of libraries. I have worked in academic libraries for many years and this opened a whole new perspective on what could be achieved in the library space. This class was creative and holistic and a community was created out of our time together.
I really appreciated the progression of the assignments and how the content built upon each other as the class unfolded. I focused on the LGBTQIA+ community and different aspects of our lives and how technology and libraries can enhance well-being. I was pleasantly surprised by the feedback that I received from classmates. The response was overwhelmingly positive and it encouraged me to keep exploring these ideas in my current job. I am not sure how this will all play out in the future, but I hope to integrate what I have learned into my current and future roles.
I am going to miss the cauldron of creativity that we all stewed this semester. I hope to cross paths with you all down the road and I want to declare that my wish for us all is to live in a hyperlinked, participatory service-oriented library community. I wish you all the best!
There was a lot of innovative thinking in this class and I really enjoyed the process of expanding my definition of what a library can be to me and my community. Please view the link below to see my five takeaways.
This Inspiration Report proposes that the UCSF Library purchase a large touch table to be used in the medical academic library for students (in particular) and faculty, staff, and the community. UCSF has a rich history of pioneering work with the AIDS crisis and facilitating equitable and groundbreaking care and research. The hope is that medical students will “see” themselves in the archives that are displayed on the touch tables and draw strength and inspiration to tackle medical challenges as their forebearers did.
“We are learners. We make connections. We open doors”, according to M. Stephens, (personal communication, April 19, 2023), as stated in the Module 11 lecture for INFO 287 Hyperlinked Libraries class. I’d like to use this as a jumping-off point for the Professional Learning Experiences topic that was explored in the Choose Your Own Adventure option for this week’s module. I consider myself a lifelong learner, when I was in my undergraduate days, many years ago, the school that I attended emphasized critical thinking and lifelong learning. I have been inspired many times to embody this idea in my regular life and in my work life. I think I am a strategic learner (highly motivated, connect to learning throughout one’s life, engaging with others at the workplace)(Stephens et al., 2021).
Recently I attended the Electronic Resources & Libraries (ER&L) conference virtually through my job. There was one lecture that stood out to me the most, (Brown, 2023), where the lecturer mentioned the importance of honoring our queer elders who had survived the AIDS crisis of the ‘80s and ‘90s. I understand that HIV/AIDS is still a big problem, but it is more managed than when I was in college. In the lecture, they went on to say that there is a lot to learn from our queer elders. I want to take this learning back to my library through the research that I engage with in this class, again as demonstrated through being a strategic learner.
I will leave you with this, “A culture of learning must begin with the individual, flowing into her department and the library as a whole…”(Stephens, 2019).
Brown, M. (2023, May 5-9). S50: Leveraging technology for inclusive libraries: An exploration of identity literacy [Conference presentation]. ER&L 2023 Conference, Austin, TX, United States. https://electroniclibrarian.org/2023-program/
Stephens, M., Partridge, H., Davis, K., & Snyder, M. (2021). The strategic, curious & skeptical learner: Australian public librarians and professional learning experiences. Public Library Quarterly, DOI: 10.1080/01616846.2021.1893114
Stephens, M. (2019). Wholehearted librarianship: Finding hope, inspiration, and balance. ALA Editions.
In my undergraduate years in Washington State, a portion of the traveling AIDS remembrance quilt was displayed on the main campus square. It struck me how the colorful quilts were illustrative of lives lived to the fullest. These beautiful quilt panels were visually stunning and varied in material and content.
It was a powerful reminder of the sad loss of so many of our LGBTQIA+ community members. I was invigorated to engage in political activism to raise awareness of the needs of those affected directly by HIV/AIDS. That is the power of a visual story of lives impacted by crisis and the call to action by their loved ones.
In the book Wholehearted Librarianship, Stephens quotes Erik Boekesteijn from the National Library of the Netherlands as saying, “…libraries should keep stories, share stories, and make stories” (Stephens, 2019, p.92). The Library of Congress did just that with a virtual display of AIDS memorial quilts with a virtual display of panels. They were designed to remember employees of the library system who died of AIDS (Saylor, 2020) and the stories that these quilt pieces tell. The virtual display is no longer available, but the blog post shares the impact that the library employees had on the library system and the different quilt blocks with accompanying stories detailing their lives.
It is important for me to remember the thread of hope that these quilt panels provided to many who viewed them. My hope was that someday we would be in a better place to treat people with HIV and today we are in a better place. I hope for the day that it will be eradicated completely. In the meantime, I think I will seek out pictures of the quilts that inspired me so many years ago toward action. That is the power of the story.
Please go to, https://www.aidsmemorial.org/interactive-aids-quilt, to view panels of the National AIDS Memorial Quilt.
As I read through all of the amazing possibilities in libraries I wanted to review what local a local San Francisco Bay area library is doing. At UC San Francisco’s academic library, students, faculty, and doctors are utilizing the library’s maker space to create material that benefits their research.
In this particular instance, two doctors printed two 3D models: one of a healthy heart and one designed from a CT scan of a heart impacted by pulmonary hypertension. The intention of the models is to share with patients who are impacted by heart ailments so that they better understand their condition.
Makerspaces in libraries are not new, but they have grown in popularity. What struck me about UCSF is the benefit to patients that the models will provide. It is aligned with the mission of libraries as Nagle states, “…library being the heartbeat of the University can only serve as a central place for all”(p.6, 2021). The centrality of the library as the “heartbeat” of the University, rings especially true in this case. The literal heartbeat of patients is affected by disease and the doctors can create a sense of ease in comprehension by a physical model of the heart for the patient which is truly inspiring and shows the potential of libraries.
Drapeau, S. (2023). Meet the makers – Zaina Moussa and Mohamed Hisham Siddeek. UCSF Library. https://www.library.ucsf.edu/news/meet-the-makers-zaina-moussa-and-mohamed-hisham-siddeek/
Nagle, S. (2021). Maker services in academic libraries: A review of case studies. New Review of Academic Librarianship, (27)2. DOI: 10.1080/13614533.2020.1749093
My earliest memory of a library is a wall with a string of paper ice cream cones with my name on them, one for each book that I read for the summer reading contest. This fed my need for validation and the excitement that I could get a free ice cream certificate for the local ice cream shop. I grew up in a low-income household with limited means for purchasing books. The library provided an escape and support for my curiosity and most importantly nurtured my life-long obsession with books!
I have a deep desire to provide equitable service to everyone in my community through our library. The hyperlinked community is even broader than the one that I grew up with. Now instead of paper ice cream cones, there are makerspaces, lending libraries, technology classes, and engagement with social media (Klinker, 2020).
Contemporary library spaces are engaging in community conversations that address the critical needs of connection related to the state of the world and the impact on personal and community well-being (Dixon, 2017). Although I did not engage in critical thinking discussions in my small Midwest community as a child, today in the San Francisco Bay Area, there is a lot more potential for creative thinking related to the bounds of what a library can provide. Not only because of the location but because the collective consciousness around libraries and what needs they can meet for the community has completely shifted.
Dixon, J. (2017). Convening community conversations. Libraries can be trusted places for users to share opinions, questions–even politics–with librarians facilitating the process and keeping it civil. Library Journal, 142(17). https://link-gale-com.libaccess.sjlibrary.org/apps/doc/A509729549/AONE?u=csusj&sid=bookmark-AONE&xid=6fbaea81
Klinker, J. (2020). The healing power of books: Using reading to address social and emotional needs. Gale Blog: Library & Educator News. blog.gale.com/the-healing-power-of-books.
We all have stories to tell, some that have never been shared. How could librarians foster the openness that could unfold a sense of community through the sharing of stories?
The saying from the Doklab consultant, Erik Boekesteijn as quoted in The Wholehearted Librarianship (2019), “…libraries should keep stories, share stories, and make stories” (p. 92) is a solid statement that sets the tone for my exploration into storytelling in libraries.
The “Making Stories” section of Stephens’s book (p.93, 2019) illustrates the myriad ways that libraries can include the community and gather their stories to enrich the meaning of what libraries can provide. For example, StoryCorps, https://storycorps.org/, a non-profit organization, records, digitizes, and shares stories of community members from all different walks of life and backgrounds. It is a vital example of what riches lie within communities.
I have included two examples of the hundreds of videos that are on the StoryCorps site that are clear examples of personal stories that prove the power of the story. One story in particular, “The Temple of Knowledge” is about a man who grew up on the top floor of a New York library where his father worked as a custodian. It details the world that he created in the library at night when he was the only one there. He grows to be the first in his family to graduate from college and it is a moving account of the opportunities that libraries can provide.
The second story that I have shared is one of a couple of people who met as teenagers on the avenues of New York in a random way that led to a life-long love story. There were tribulations for them that they overcame through sheer will. Again, the storytelling aspect enriches our lives and the lives of those that are being shared. Our humanity is uncovered in moments such as these.
One key to inclusive libraries is to ensure that everyone sees themselves within the library material, no matter their background. As Anderson, (2019), shares, “…that is the hallmark of an inclusive place”. The storytelling that is captured via StoryCorps illustrates this concept perfectly. What if there were kiosks within libraries where users could see themselves and their community members at the touch of a screen?
In the participatory library, storytelling is key. And in the transparent library, the videos that StoryCorps transcribes and digitizes create avenues for people to see themselves anew. In thinking about the library that I currently work in, it utilizes many transparent tools such as, “…blogs and wikis, community open houses, outreach events, and surveys” (p. unknown, April 1, 2007, Introducing the Michaels). To take our library to the next step, it would be interesting to engage the students (I work in a medical, academic library) in the StoryCorps-like process. What fascinating stories could students talk about working and living during the time of COVID and surviving a difficult and unprecedented time in history?
Andersen, N. (2019). Deviating with diversity, innovating with inclusion: a call for radical activism within libraries. Open Pages. https://openpagesweb.wordpress.com/2019/07/09/deviating-with-diversity-innovating-with-inclusion-a-call-for-radical-activism-within-libraries/
Stephens, M., Casey, M. (2014). The transparent library. https://tametheweb.com/2014/03/03/news-download-the-transparent-library-e-book-here
Stephens, M. (2019). Wholehearted librarianship : finding hope, inspiration, and balance. ALA Editions.
StoryCorps (2019, February 7). The love season|You move me [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LeeOHtAOlM
StoryCorps (2018, February 8). The temple of knowledge [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNeFhMnP7dA