Hyperlinked Communities and Museums
This week I come across an amazing article by, Neda Ulaby title, Refugee Docents Help Bring A Museum’s Global Collection To Life. Ulaby, N. (2020). In line with the past two weeks of readings, this article continues to emphasize the importance of connecting communities through stories.
The article by Ulaby focuses on The Penn Museum and how it was able to address problems related to turnover (i.e. vacancies, retirements, etc.) by hiring refugees and immigrants from the Middle East, Africa and Central America. “When Ellen Owens, Director of Learning and Public Engagement at the Penn Museum, looked at her pool of docents, she saw a wonderful — and aging — group of largely white people.” Ulaby, N. (2020). Rather than focus on a problem, Owens saw an opportunity to hire people with diverse backgrounds and ages to fill the vacant positions within the museum. Further, she found a way to connect with local communities that usually do not visit the museum and as a result, she also gave them an opportunity to share their experiences. Owens explains, “We really wanted to have the narratives of lots of different people, to bring the authentic voices of people that live in other places into the galleries of the museum.” Ulaby, N. (2020). The museum partnered with a Philadelphia non-profit organization that works with immigrants and refugees. Through this partnership, they were able to develop the program The Global Guides, which allowed these immigrants and refugees to share their stories and experiences directly with museumgoers. The program started in 2018 and the attendance of visitors increased dramatically and a third of the visitors attend especially to take a tour with a Global Guide, Ulaby, N. (2020).
The Global Guide, program embodies the Hyperlinked library model of connecting communities to bring them together to have a conversation. When a group of people with different backgrounds get together for a common goal they are able to connect and learn from one another. In the article Serving with Love by Loida Gacia-Febo, she discusses Michael Stephen’s philosophy of connecting one’s work to one’s heart. This philosophy suggests that people should bring to their work a sense of empathy, emotional intelligence, and reflective action. Garcia-Febo, L. (2018). In my opinion, it is exactly what The Global Guides program has accomplished. The Global Guides go to work with a sense of pride in their culture; they share personal stories with the audience and are open a dialog that is meaningful.
In connection, Garcia explains that she feels hopeful about libraries, “I have witnessed the spirit of diversity, inclusiveness, and relationship-building and how librarians are embracing those values.” Garcia-Febo, L. (2018). In order for libraries to continue on this path, they must hire and/or continue to hire diverse staff and study other institutions like The Penn Museum to model successful programs. In doing so, libraries have the opportunity to grow and evolve with the communities that they are a part of.
Garcia-Febo, L. (2018). Serving with love: Embedding equality, diversity, and inclusion in all that we do. Retrieve from https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2018/11/01/serving-with-love/
Ulaby, N. (2020). Refugee Docents Help Bring A Museum’s Global Collection To Life. Retrieve from https://www.npr.org/2020/02/17/795920834/refugee-docents-help-bring-a-museums-global-collection-to-life?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_term=nprnews&utm_campaign=npr
The concept of telling stories is fascinating to me. Stories can be told in so many different ways and through different mediums. Usually, when we think about stories we think about books, songs, videos, and big Hollywood movies. However, we are beginning to see stories differently now “…the ways organizations are making stories demonstrate the importance of tapping into the collective voice of our communities.” Stephens, M. (2017). Communities are becoming aware of the importance of telling their stories and organizations are providing spaces to give the community a voice.
The Mill Valley Public Library in California, host’s storytelling events throughout the year. At these events, community members can tell their own personal stories. Stephens, M. (2017). What I find fascinating about this libraries’ approach is that they record and archive these stories for future generations to access. This is a good example of the hyperlinked library, where connections are being made at different levels.
Libraries are also looking ahead into the future and are asking the community to get involved. The Los Angeles Public Library is asking members of the community to envision the library of the future based on their needs. Mack, C. (2013). The hyperlink libraries are not only providing resources to the community but they are also giving them a voice and empowering them with decision-making.
Hyperlinked libraries continue to look for meaningful connections with the community; however, they are struggling with the implementations of an automated technology. It seems contradictory to try to make human connections with patrons but at the same time, they direct patrons to self-service machines. As Claire Zulkey stated in the article Automatic people, machines are here to help librarians be more productive and to concentrate their efforts on more meaningful projects. According to Zulkey, “it’s not a reduction but looking at how we currently staff our physical brick-and-mortar spaces.” (2019). The automated services are here to give the staff more freedom to engage with the community in spaces that they were not able to go before.
Mack, C. (2013). Crowdsourced design: Why Los Angeles is asking the public to create the library of the future. Retrieve from https://www.good.is/articles/crowdsourced-design-why-los-angeles-is-asking-the-public-to-create-the-library-of-the-future
Stephens, M. (2017) Telling stories. Retrieve from
Zulkey, C. (2019). Automatic for the People. Retrieve from https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2019/09/03/automatic-people-self-service-libraries/
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business – A Review. Context Book Assignment a book review by Ismael Betancourt – INFO 287 – Fall 2020
When I was growing up in a small town in Mexico, I never thought that I would teach and learn cutting edge technology when I got older. For the first 11 years of my life, I lived on a farm in rural Mexico, in a house with no electricity or indoor plumbing. I did not know how to control a television set or use a house phone. The first time I learned to use a computer was when I attended community college. During my first semester, I stayed for 3 hours every day in the computer lab. Each day I stayed after class learning basic computer functions through trial and error. The following semester I volunteered to be the class lab monitor and would assist the teacher with helping students learn basic software skills to newcomers. As time passed my interest in technology grew stronger and so did my skills. As a result, I decided to pursue higher education and get degrees in Graphic Design and Digital Media. Moving forward to now, I find myself teaching patrons how to use 3D printers, VR systems, Computer Software, Apps and Robotics. So how did an immigrant to the US with no experience in technology end up teaching others emerging technologies? I will answer this question in the following paragraphs.
In the book by Duhigg, C. (2012) The power of habit: why we do what we do in life and business, he examines the power of habits and how the human brain is able to do extraordinary things. The book highlights many cases where individuals and corporations were able to change course by understanding the power of habits. Some habits are formed because they are taught to us and other habits are formed base on the environment that surrounds us.
Duhigg explains that once habits are formed they are difficult to break and can take years to learn how to modify them. For example, let’s look at the habit of brushing our teeth in the mornings. We do it without thinking about it, it is just something that we do every morning when we wake up. Specifically, in chapter 2, Duhigg gives an example of how new habits are created. In the early 1900s, Claude C. Hopkins was approached by an old friend with a business idea. He needed help creating a marketing campaign for a toothpaste he called “Pepsodent.” Hopkins used a marketing technique called the habit loop. In his ad campaign, he told people to brush their teeth with “Pepsodent” because the toothpaste will help clean their teeth and give them a fresh clean smile. Hopkin’s marketing strategy worked because he created a cue, routine, and reward that eventually become a habit.
In connection, when I started to learn about computers, I was using Hopkins loop habit without knowing it. When I made the choice to stay every day after class to learn how to use the computer I created a habit of learning new technologies. My cue was to go to class, the routine was to stay after class practicing on the computer, and my reward was to teach others what I had learned.
The power of the habit and the hyperlinked library
Information in libraries is no longer static, now libraries can share information with patrons across towns, cities, and countries with faster speeds than ever before. By using new technologies like apps, social media, databases and search engines libraries can reach patrons who are not regular library users. Why are libraries embracing new technologies? In the article by Buckland, M. (1992) Redesigning library services: A manifesto, he explains that the patron’s habits influence libraries and dictates how libraries deliver services. According to Buckland, “growing proportion of library users whose work habits and working environment have changed to include routine use of computers.” So, patron’s habits develop when their access to technology changes and therefore, libraries have to change too. Libraries are not going to engage new patrons with technology alone. They need to be more than information hubs, “libraries need to be a cause, a purpose, and the reason you get out of bed and are excited to get to work. Libraries are about people, not books or technology.” Mathews, B. (2012). One of the libraries’ focus moving forward should be to help patrons develop a personal connection to the library. Furthermore, libraries should partner with the community to make patron interactions with their library feel natural and welcoming.
In connection, the hyperlinked library is about connecting people with information and with a community. These libraries recognize that “hyperlinks are the connections made by real individuals based on what they care about and what they know…”Stephens, M. (n.d.) Even though patrons are using technology devices like mobile phones, tablets, VR systems, and computers, they still want the connection to feel familiar and appealing. It is also important to recognize that “each age group and each demographic wants a bit of a balance between the old and the new” Casey, M. (2007). The hyperlinked library is creating new ways for patrons to connect with information communities and by doing so it is creating new habits.
The mission of library service should be to look beyond one-dimensional service delivery and instead, it should be to support the needs of the community they serve. Libraries have come a long away and are starting to self-reflect and modify old habits. We are beginning to see these changes with the hyperlink libraries where communities are engaged outside the library buildings. As Duhigg said, habits are hard to break but if we can find a way to modify them we can accomplish amazing things.
Buckland, M. (1992). Redesigning library services: A manifesto. Chicago: American Library Association.
Casey, M., & Savastinuk, L. (2007). Library 2.0: A Guide to Participatory Library Service. Medford: Information Today.
Duhigg, C. (2012) The power of habit: why we do what we do in life and business New York : Random House,
Mathews, B. (2012) Think like a startup: A white paper to inspire library entrepreneurialism Retrieve from https://www.chronicle.com/blognetwork/theubiquitouslibrarian/
Stephens, M. (n.d.). Syllabus. Retrieved from https://287.hyperlib.sjsu.edu/course-info/syllabus/
For this week’s blog, I am going to write about three articles that I found interesting in this week’s readings. Into a new world of librarianship by Stephens, M. (2006), Library as infrastructure by Mattern, S. (2014), and Open to Change by Stephens, M. (2016) are the articles that will be covered in this blog. These articles highlight how libraries can move forward into the future of public service by thinking about the user. This means that libraries have to think of everyone as a user, children, teens, families, and older adults.
How can libraries restructure their internal policies of thinking locally to thinking globally and embrace new ideas? They can do this by building new libraries that complement the user’s life. In the article by Mattern, S. (2014) Library as Infrastructure, the author outlines his proposal “that thinking about the library as a network of integrated, mutually reinforcing, evolving infrastructures — in particular, architectural, technological, social, epistemological and ethical infrastructures — can help us better identify what roles we want our libraries to serve, and what we can reasonably expect of them.” By doing so, libraries should and could be building with the flexibility to grow and adapt to a fast and changing world.
In addition, hyperlink libraries have to be a partner to the community they serve and get rid of old rules the stop patrons from using the library space and information. In the articles Into a new world of Librarianship and Open to change by Stephens, M. (2006, 2016), he talks about the importance of letting patrons into the library space and how libraries will change with the implementation of Web 2.0. With the arrival of new technologies come new opportunities to connect with patrons that are not primarily library users. This will allow libraries to branch out and expand the menu of services to new and existing patrons. To accomplish this, libraries must provide staff with the proper tools and training to shift their way of thinking and move away from the outdated culture of the past. Furthermore, librarians must adapt to sharing space in the library and also going into community spaces to share information.
Mattern, S. (2014). Library as Infrastructure. Retrieve from https://placesjournal.org/article/library-as-infrastructure/?cn-reloaded=1
Stephens, M. (2016). Open to Change. Retrieve from https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=open-to-change-office-hours
Stephens, M. (2006). Into a new world of librarianship. Retrieve from https://www.oclc.org/content/dam/oclc/publications/newsletters/nextspace/nextspace_002.pdf