I found myself incredibly drawn to two specific areas from the Hyperlinked Library Model module this week, which were the idea of the hyperlinked library itself and the notion of the library as a platform. It is hard to imagine a library as being “everywhere” and the people working within the library as able to offer a level of seamless service across all channels of interaction, but on further reflection that’s probably one of the only surefire ways that libraries can continue to be relevant in an increasingly connected world.
The level of connectivity found online and through popular search engines has to be transferable to the library project in some way, people within a library should be able to act like links to other guides, and be able to direct patrons to people who can fulfill their information need. And this kind of service should be available anywhere at any time, whether it be through digital books/resources or online chats with librarians.
The notion of the library as platform is, I think, the other crucial element to my conception of what future libraries will look like. Despite all the digital resources and functions our interconnected world offers, there are some things that have to be started in the physical world, and libraries can absolutely be a part of this! I learned this week that the Library of Alexandria was part of a larger institution which housed gardens, laboratories, dining halls, and living quarters for scholars. This was a real eye opener for me, as I’ve known that libraries should be a source of creative works, projects, and other efforts, but I had no idea that the legendary library had basically the whole enterprise at one point.
I can now more easily imagine in my mind how libraries with Makerspaces, audio recording studios, hackerspaces, and other innovative facilities can be the launching pad for projects that fit right into the most popular elements of online life and help create new, lasting connections to both the library as an institution and the people that these works have entertained, distracted, or influenced. If people can be links, as the readings suggested, with these kinds of tools and determined outreach from libraries, I can definitely see a path forward for libraries in a digital future.