A Grand Adventure: Reflecting on #hyperlib and looking toward the future

Glancing Back and Continuing Forward

As the semester comes to and end and I go through Module 13 on Reflective Practice, I am reminded by Professor Stephens (2019, lecture) to breathe. It is hard to find balance in the midst of finals chaos, but I have some thoughts on some of the other aspects of the lecture and readings.

This semester has honestly been a bit chaotic. I moved across the country at the beginning, but I have also gotten a job at the local library and begun working with some of the librarians on potential programs and it has been, in part, due to the lessons in this class. In short, I have jumped headfirst in freezing waters and started swimming. Now, however, I feel more confident in my abilities and my ideas. I feel braver. I feel more daring. I also feel as though the world of librarianship has opened up. For any video game nerds out there, its like I’ve uncovered a part of the map that was previously shrouded and gained some experience in doing so. I’ve leveled up and can now continue my journey into more difficult terrain, wielding bigger, badder weapons and tools. I (hopefully!) graduate next semester, as I only have the final 289 course left. This is the beginning of the next step in my life and I am looking at it with excitement and wonder, and I have this class to thank for those feelings of curiosity, confidence, and enthusiasm.

Pawesome Pets (Thoughts on compassion)

I had some thoughts that sort of resonated with Professor Stephens’s (2019) piece “Talk About Compassion”. In it, he describes Dozer, his elderly rescue and talked about the ways animals can help us learn compassion and empathy. My own library has “Read to a service dog” programs, and recently did a “Cat Café” where the local cat shelter, Orphan Angels, brought in cats for the community to hang out with (and maybe adopt) while they enjoyed complimentary bagels and coffee donated by local businesses. My dog, Buddy, while not an elderly dog, was at a shelter for almost two years, had demodex mange, was extremely nervous, and had been adopted and brought back twice before he came into my life. He is now a happy, cuddly boy with a love for all squeaky toys, blanket caves, and keeping the cat in line.

A black cat on a cat tree looking at the camera.
The cat, Mister, who humors Buddy’s cat patrols (most of the time).

I have always had animals (mostly dogs, a couple horses, cats, reptiles, and birds) throughout my life. I have also worked at an animal care facility (like a dog and cat hotel) caring for, bathing, and overseeing playgroups of dogs of so many colors, breeds, ages, and personalities. I am reminded of an elderly man who brought in his dog to be bathed before bringing him to the vet to be put down, as the dog could barely stand and it was his time. He wished for his boy to go out with dignity, I suppose, looking his best in his final moments. My coworker and I spent the next couple hours carefully bathing him, petting him, brushing his fur, loving on him, and making him look so fluffy and handsome before sending him on with his human. The man was very happy and thought his boy looked wonderful.

These moments and all of the animals in my life have, indeed, taught me compassion and I am grateful for those experiences and all the animals in my life, both my own and other people’s furry (feathery, scaly) friends. They’ve taught me to get back up when I’ve been knocked down, to love and care with all I have, to be present, to understand that “troublesome” behavior on the outside almost always has an underlying cause and it usually just takes some kindness, patience, and understanding to help that animal or person with whatever they may be struggling with.

Me using Buddy, a brown dog, as a pillow.
Buddy doesn’t mind being a pillow.

Final thoughts

I am so very grateful to have taken this class. By chance, I picked this class and it was a lucky pick! I want to thank you all for making this a wonderful, insightful semester. I want to thank Professor Stephens, as well, for guiding us on this journey and showing us a new perspective on librarianship. You all rock!

References

Stephens, M. (2019). Reflective practice. [Video lecture]. Retrieved from https://sjsu-ischool.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=18b56a0d-72c1-4fc9-a23d-ab080135e49d

Stephens, M. (2019). Talk about compassion. In M. Stephens (Ed.). Wholehearted Librarianship. (pp. 39-41). Retrieved from https://287.hyperlib.sjsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/StephensWholeheartedDozer.pdf

Virtual Symposium: 3-2-1 Report

Hi everyone! I decided to use a 3-2-1 report to synthesize what I have learned during this wonderful semester. In my presentation I describe 3 “aha” moments I had while learning in this class, 2 amazing ideas I’ve come across during the modules, and 1 thing I will do now that I have taken this course. The PDF of the transcript is attached to this post, and I have also created subtitles on the video itself. Thank you so much for watching!

References

ClevelandPublicLibrary. (2017, June 13). eSports and Cleveland Public Library. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3OABsQA2yw

Greater Aarhaus. (2019). Citizens Service – Aaruhaus. [Webpage]. Retrieved from https://newcitizen.dk/welcome/citizen-service-aarhus-borgerservice/

oclsvideos. (2018, August 24). Library Social Worker. [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjwKD378XQY

Public Libraries 2030. (2015, April 27). PL2020 Tour – Denmark – A knowledge hub for the community. [Video]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvFfbjs8aZo&feature=emb_title

All artwork created by me.

Learning Somewhere or Everywhere: Sparking Curiosity and Community!

Wow, it has been a whirlwind of a week, y’all. We got our first sticky snow, which was pretty awesome because this is the first time I’ve lived somewhere it snows! I also started a new job at the public library here. I am beyond excited to get to know my coworkers and community!

A photo of a pumpkin on a front porch dusted with snow.
A photo of my front porch. Is this Fall or Winter?

For my adventure, I chose to walk the paths of Learning Everywhere and Library as Classroom. The two modules show the different ways libraries can help the community, one through reaching outside to give access to the community and one from the inside by bringing the community in to learn. Both are equally important moving into the future.

Learning Everywhere

I am part of the demographic that expects to learn anywhere. If I forget my phone, I am sorely disappointed when I want to look something up. It is natural to me to have the entirety of the Internet at my fingertips, to answer questions or curiosities within minutes of searching. It is the same for many of us. I can muse aloud “I wonder what the etymology of that word is…” and a friend will immediately take out their phone to look it up. Our phones have become an extension of us, of our learning, and we can create our own on-the-fly curricula at any time, anywhere, and learn anything we want. These are usually small pockets of learning, although I have used YouTube, blogs, and MOOCs to learn a variety of skills from my home computer. Oftentimes, I have learned while chatting online with friends because learning anywhere can be isolating and lonely, as many of us may feel in an online program. This is one of the reasons I started an MLIS Discord server for group projects, but still chat with some of my classmates long after the class has ended. Which brings me to the second half of the adventure I chose:

Library as Classroom

Because learning anywhere can be isolating (even if some of us don’t have a choice), the library can bring a group together to learn. The library I work at has 3D printer classes, programming classes, yoga classes, among many other programs that bring people together and complement learning on your own. Not only might these classes spark a curiosity that can drive a person to learn that subject from anywhere, but it can build relationships and community ties and keep people coming back for more learning.

Learning Anywhere and Together!

Learning Anywhere and Library as Classroom go hand in hand, and I believe one can feed into the other. Personally, I have learned yoga on my own, and now want to try learning it in a library classroom (once another session is posted!). Conversely, I have seen 3D printing in action in my library and have found myself learning more about it online! Because information is so pervasive with cell phones, tablets, computers, social media, and games, the library can harness that curiosity and access to information by providing ways for learners of all ages, skill levels, and backgrounds to come together, both online (through databases, online catalogs, and apps) and in the library classroom to spark a greater sense of wonder and love for learning.

My dog, Buddy, learning what snow is! (No audio)

Mobile technology: A boon for the future of libraries, but creating a tech gap

As I was reading Deloitte (2016), I found myself nodding along with the findings. Yes, I do wake up and check my notifications on my phone. Yes, I do check my phone even if I don’t have any notifications. Yes, I do use my phone to help manage my life (Google Calendar and Google accounts in general, you are a lifesaver!). I use mobile tech and social media to get my news (mostly via Reddit and sometimes Twitter) because I can subscribe based on interests and read the articles that are posted, no matter what news source they come from. With this major mobile information age, people are able to subscribe to the types of news they want to see (more science? animals? hobby news?) without having to join a club, listserv, or subscribe to magazines. This service offered through social media could be offered through the library, as well, as Enis (2014) wrote about with regards to the BluuBeam, which allows users to learn about library programming through their phone. Imagine a library app that allowed users to subscribe to certain interests, sort of like Reddit, but library related. Think subjects like: tech classes, children’s events, new [insert genre] books, game nights, that a patron could subscribe to and receive notifications for on their phone. Perhaps library’s post about this on their social media, but the app would encourage user-specific interests and content. What if this app also included local museums? Local community centers? The possibilities are incredible for mobile technology and harnessing that for libraries will be key in getting some of the more tech savvy patrons into the library.

But what about the non-tech savvy people?

As Pew Research Center (2019) found there is a great disparity in smartphone ownership between younger age groups (18-34) and older adults (50+) meaning we will need to find a way to reach those who do not use smartphones. If there is something everyone loves, though, it’s convenience. Perhaps a way to bridge the gap in mobile tech users and non-users is to offer easy-to-use services for everyone. The Moose Jaw Public Library offers a “text a librarian” service (Shaw TV South Saskatchewan, 2013) where you can text a question anonymously to a librarian and get a response. This service does not necessarily need someone to use a smart phone, but could introduce less tech-savvy people to the idea of using mobile technology for library services.

In addition to bridging the gap via inclusive, super-convenient services, helping less-tech savvy people learn could be another way to reach all patrons. The Memphis Public Libraries offer a “Mobile Technology Learning Van” that brings mobile technology to different areas of the county. Not only does this help bridge the digital divide, but it reaches people who may not have transportation to the library, and gets people interested in learning about mobile technology, which in turn, helps prepare people for the future of mobile devices.

There are so many possibilities for mobile tech in the future (and right now!). If anything, it will only become more and more popular as the generations move forward, but, as librarians, we will need to find ways to bridge the gap and still reach those who do not have access to mobile tech or who have not yet embraced it. Librarians will need to plan on both fronts: helping the library shift into the mobile direction of the future and work to get all patrons on board and help everyone within a community.

References

Deloitte. (2016). How do today’s students use mobiles? Deloitte. Retrieved from https://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/pages/public-sector/articles/how-do-todays-students-use-mobiles.html#

Enis, M. (2014, November 18). “Beacon” technology deployed by two library app makers. Library Journal. Retrieved from https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=beacon-technology-deployed-by-two-library-app-makers

Local 24 Memphis. (2018, December 13). Mobile technology learning van helps to bride the connections for the non-tech savvy in Memphis. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHGlxCT9iIQ

Shaw TV South Saskatchewan. (2013, May 10). Text a Librarian. [Video file] Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGlB34HMIOU

Silver, L. (2019). Smartphone ownership is growing rapidly around the world, but not always equally. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/global/2019/02/05/smartphone-ownership-is-growing-rapidly-around-the-world-but-not-always-equally/

Diversity in Action: Public Libraries Creating Spaces for Everyone

I tried on a few different hats in choosing my own adventure for the Hyperlinked Environments module and finally landed on The Hyperlinked Public Library. As I read through the articles and watched the videos, I found that many of them had a similar thread running through them: the library needs to be what its community needs and wants. This sentiment, however, is not one that is present in just public libraries, but public libraries do serve a great variety of demographics. They must cater to the needs of young and old, wealthy and poor, high school, college, and elementary school education levels, as well as a myriad of interests and skill levels in these interests. As Marie Østergård so succinctly worded it, “Libraries need to be different all over the world and all over the cities” (Public Libraries 2030).

I was inspired by the many different activities and needs the different libraries worked toward for their community. The Westmount Public Library in Quebec, Canada, has created stores and digital archives from 40,000 postcards donated to them by their community (Baicco, 2016). This shows a need rooted deeply in history and understanding the background of the place’s identity. The innovation of spaces like this around the world drove me to look into different and unique library programs in other cities.

As one of my own personal interests lies in video gaming, I was impressed by Cleveland Public Library’s eSports initiative. It brings gaming, which is oftentimes thought of as an isolated hobby, into the community space by providing gamers with a way to meet each other and play together. Not only does the program allow users to meet one another and build community ties, but it also teachers them new skills like the strategy and collaboration skills through gaming itself, streaming software, how to work with gaming hardware (laptops, desktops, and consoles), and digital literacy. In addition to the skills users learn from gaming, this program also helps to bridge the digital divide, providing a space for users who may not have access to expensive gaming computers, consoles, and games, to enjoy the online world of gaming and competition.

In a strange and unexpected, although totally in alignment with library values, program the Newcastle libraries created a Crypto Party for their users. You might be thinking: how is crypto related to library values? The program itself intends on teaching safe browsing, Tor, and encryption (Clark, 2016; Haydock, 2016). As advocates for the free flow of information, digital literacy, and confidentiality, user privacy is extremely important to library values, and the seventh right in the ALA’s Library Bill of Rights (American Library Association, 2019). This program teaches new technology, a new trend, financing, and protecting one’s privacy in an age where private companies often monetize personal data.

These types of programs show the library’s advocacy for all users, even those with hobbies that are socially stigmatized. It shows a want to bring digital literacy to the forefront, that these public libraries are listening to their communities and attempting to bridge the digital divide and bring equality to their spaces. It is thinking outside just book clubs and children’s story times in an attempt to reach people who may otherwise not use library facilities. While traditional programs are very useful and continue to bring joy and engagement to particular groups, programs like these public libraries are creating inspire me to create and brainstorm ways I might reach those on the margins of the community together in the library.

References

American Library Association. (2019). Library Bill of Rights. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill

Baicco, L. (2016). Labor of love: Opening up archival gems for community engagement. Computers in Libraries, 36(4). Retrieved from http://www.infotoday.com/cilmag/default.shtml

Clark, I. (2016, October 05). Crypto party…in a public library…in the UK. Infoism. [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://infoism.co.uk/2016/05/crypto-party/

ClevelandPublicLibrary. (2017, June 13). eSports and Celveland Public Library. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3OABsQA2yw

Haydock, A. (2016, May 30). What we learned from hosting our cryptoparty. Medium.com. [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://medium.com/@alexhaydock/what-we-learned-from-hosting-our-cryptoparty-3950c9721f3e

Public Libraries 2030. (205, April 27). PL2020 Tour – Denmark – A knowledge hub for the community. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvFfbjs8aZo

Linking People: Supporting Our Most Vulnerable

As I ponder the question Professor Stephens left us at the end of the Module 5 lecture: Who needs community and support and how do we reach them? (Stephens, 2019), I can’t help but reflect on my time spent at the Public Defender’s Office working with people who had mental health issues, who lived in poverty or were homeless, who were ostracized, those with addiction issues, in crisis, those with a rough past or present who needed someone to help them, to listen to them, to treat them like humans. Most often, it was the respectful listening that helped me earn a rapport with many of our clients, truly listening and responding without judgement. This is also what librarians do: listen and help patrons without judgement and treat their communities with respect. While reading Lauersen (2018), I was once again reminded of the implicit biases everyone carries with them and how these biases can segregate and isolate people. We need to be mindful of these biases in order to move past them and include those that need to feel included. Those people, Lauersen (2018) wrote, need to be asked to dance.

To answer the first question posited by Professor Stephens, it is these groups with the social stigmas or those that are at risk who need community and support. Stigmas can be isolating, and isolated groups are vulnerable groups. Klinenberg (2018) emphasized the importance of community on our most vulnerable populations like teens in poor neighborhoods with no safe spaces or elderly people with no one to look after them. I would also include other isolated populations such as those with mental illness, homeless populations, and those living in crime-stricken areas. Klinenberg (2018) insists that that inclusion of others, especially those living in isolation, exposes people to others who are different from themselves. This diversity creates strong community bonds and the library is a perfect place to do that.

The Orange County Library System employs a social worker to help vulnerable populations in their area.

The issue remains, however: how do we reach them? The theme of this module is a hyperlinked community and, as Stephens (2019) said, people are hyperlinks too. Outreach services may get the ball rolling on reaching the vulnerable populations. Reaching out to community leaders of neighborhoods who need more support, mental health services, homeless shelters, even perhaps jails or prison libraries and asking them what the library can do to support those who need it would be a start. Maybe those recently released from jail need a career workshop or a technology workshop to help them learn new skills and help bridge the digital divide. Maybe teens who are isolated or at risk need access to safe spaces such as a creativity lab, music club, or poetry slam group to keep them engaged in learning, create an outlet for frustrations, or to help them make friends and create their own support system. The path a library needs to take may not be clear and there is not a one-size-fits-all for programming, but reaching out and linking the library to those who work with vulnerable populations every day is a first step.

BONUS! Something to Listen to:

On an episode of This American Life, in Growing-Shelf Awareness, a segment of The Room of Requirement, Stephanie Foo (2018) recounts her experience as a homeless child not realizing she was homeless due to the public library: https://www.thisamericanlife.org/664/the-room-of-requirement/act-three-4

This podcast emphasizes the importance of including our vulnerable populations, such as the homeless, in our libraries and what it can mean to actually include those who are normally ostracized in our communities.

References

Foo, S. (2018, December 28). The Room of Requirement Act Three: Growing Shelf-Awareness. Retrieved from https://www.thisamericanlife.org/

Klinenberg, E. (2018). Palaces for the people: How social infrastructure can help fight inequality, polarization, and the decline of civic life. New York, NY: Crown.

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

oclsvideos. (2018, August 24). Library Social Worker. [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjwKD378XQY

Stephens, M. (2019). The hyperlinked library: Hyperlinked communities. [Video lecture]. Retrieved from https://sjsu-ischool.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=bdb39d41-e4a7-4b33-9da4-aab40117c7e8

<a href=“community”>Library</a>

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!

Wordcloud of text from New Clues by Searls and Weinberger.
Wordcloud created from Searls and Weinberger’s (2015) New Clues (CC0 license).

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.

TED Talk: How libraries change lives about the significance of the library as a multifaceted community builder by Ciara Eastell.

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.

References

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