As luck would have it, I actually stumbled into this class by chance! Another class I had planned on taking was not going to be offered this semester, so I was perusing the course catalog and thought “Hmm, the hyperlinked library sounds really interesting” even though I had hardly a clue what it could be. Based on the foundational readings and the hyperlinked library model, however, I feel very excited about not just this class, but my own future in LIS, my community’s future, and the future of libraries in general!
This week, as I was reading and taking notes, I began to see the pattern of libraries as hubs hyperlinked throughout a community. As we move out of the age of TV and consumption and into an age of sharing and creating, libraries should offer connection and creation over consumption. Libraries should no longer be seen as just storage spaces for knowledge and information when they can be interactive and engaging!
When I first think of hyperlinking, I think of the Internet. The Internet, as Searls and Weinberger (2015) wrote “is an impossibly large, semi-persistent realm of items discoverable in their dense interconnections” and “every thing and every connection on the Web was created by some one of us expressing an interest and an assumption about how those small pieces go together” (The web is a wide world). This is the power of hyperlinking. On the Internet, hyperlinking forges connections between subjects, thoughts, ideas, and people that might otherwise never have been connected. It creates communities, shows people how to navigate the rough terrain of learning something new, of grief, of disasters. It helps people find common ground, find common interests, learn something new, go down rabbit holes and explore. This is the type of hyperlinking the library should want to do. Not necessarily only on the Internet, but within their own communities and with their own users and potential users.
The library as a hyperlinked world can be practiced on the Internet, as suggested by Searls and Weinberger (2015), but the power lies in hyperlinking as a concept as opposed to hyperlinking as a medium. The library can link between library departments, between city and state departments, with other businesses, and with community leaders. Most importantly, through these channels, libraries can connect people with: the library, programs, information, and with other people. The important aspect is the connection. A library should look more like a network (of hyperlinks!) than like a pyramid (Stephens, 2019). As Shirky (2010) in Cognitive Surplus posited, we are moving into a future of collective intelligence and creation. The library can facilitate that future. It can be a hub of creation, exploration, and connection.
Searls, D. & Weinberger, D. (2015, January 8). New clues. [Webpage] Retrieved from http://blog.9while9.com/manifesto-anthology/2015newclues.html
Shirky, C. (2010). Cognitive surplus: creativity and generosity in a connected age. New York, NY: Penguin Group.
Stephens, M. (2019). The hyperlinked library: Exploring the model. [Video lecture]. Retrieved from https://sjsu-ischool.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=a0569381-4d66-4e0a-a7fa-aab3010a8f3e
TEDx Talks. (2019, June 13). How libraries change lives| Ciara Eastell | TEDxExeter. [Video]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tvt-lHZBUwU