Archive for September, 2021

Reflection Post: Participatory Service & Transparency

Sunday, September 19th, 2021

“A library operating without the input of its constituents is missing a vital component” (Stephens, 2012).

How can we further incorporate our community into THEIR local library or in simpler terms, what does the public want? This is the primary question librarians need to ask themselves when envisioning the future of the library. Which includes relinquishing archaic habits from the past that hinder our patrons from returning to the library. This starts with the reminder that, “The user is the sun” (Schneider, 2006). In order to receive accurate feedback of needs from their patrons, the library needs to be open with their decision making and transparent with their plans. By focusing on demographics beyond children and the elderly, the library can shift its way into the 21st century needs.

In an attempt to increase community access, the Gwinnett County Public Library (GCPL) experimented with self-service libraries which operated outside normal business hours. This method relied upon trust between the library and their patrons ultimately receiving positive reviews. To ensure that patrons returned to the library, Chapel Hill Public Library stopped charging its patrons book fees. This initiative was taken due to the declining trend of patrons returning because of a late or lost item. The MIX, a teens-only space in the San Francisco Library, “opened […] after four years of planning guided by a group of teens called the Board of Advising Youth” (Costanza, 2015). This space provides access to media tools, space for teenagers and an ability to hear what the community needs.

In order to incorporate both participatory service and transparency the library must be honest with its members on their decisions, whether it be the addition or removal of services, rebranding, etc. “They are looking to see their needs, hopes, and dreams reflected back to them. And if we’re not doing that, not only will we see our proposals fail, we’ll soon be out of business” (Kenney, 2015).

To summarize, librarians need to look at the needs beyond the faces that they see regularly. Many demographics can feel underrepresented, causing a decrease in empathy and understanding. Accurate feedback is important and unobtainable when secluded behind a closed desk. Understanding your community can cause not only an increase in patrons returning, but word of mouth. Causing new patrons to return.

References:

Costanza, K (2015). In San Francisco, teens design a living room for high-tech learning at the public library.

Kenney, B. (2015). Lesson’s from Seattle’s failed bid to rebrand its public library.

Schneider, K (2006). The user is not broken.

Stephens, M. (2012). The heart of Librarianship.

Fishes Aren’t the Only Things Hooked

Thursday, September 16th, 2021

Book Summary

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, written by Nir Eyal, provides a glimpse into the psychological side of marketing by examining how successful companies such as Amazon, Google, and Twitter created habit forming technologies by influencing human behavior. “Instead of relying on expensive marketing, habit-forming companies link their services to the users’ daily routines and emotions” (Eyal, 2014). Eyal defines habits as, “[B]ehaviors done with little or no conscious thought (automatic responses) […] and one of the ways the brain learns complex behaviors” (Eyal, 2014).

According to Eyal, these companies followed a four-step process known as “The Hook Model.” This model could alter user-behavior and create unprompted user engagement. The four steps of the hook model are:

  1. Trigger– an internal (associations) and external (environmental) actuator of behavior.
  2. Action– behavior in anticipation of the reward.
  3. Variable Reward- increase in dopamine in anticipation for a reward.
  4. Investment– user’s time, data, effort, social capital or money.

When following the model, companies can create a sense of belonging or community based off the user’s continued investment in whichever application they use.

Eyal also mentions that in order to create habit forming products one must consider its simplicity. “[…] the ease or difficulty of doing a particular action impacts the likelihood that a behavior will occur” (Eyal, 2014). An application could be life altering and overall beneficial for a user, but flop if it requires abnormal changes to behavior or routine.

How can this influence Library 2.0?

As aforementioned in my previous post, in order to shift into Library 2.0, we need to embrace change, even though it may seem disruptive or intimidating. So, how can we recreate the library as the central hub of information where our patrons could invest themselves? According to Eyal, “Users increase their dependency on habit forming products by storing value in them” (2014). By creating memories and experiences for our patrons and community, we can create a greater value for the library and in return, receive their investment. Unfortunately, libraries are limited to visitor access due to the pandemic. Yet this shouldn’t limit their ability to pursue current and future clientele via school visits, online communities, or pop-up libraries. In a sense, bringing the library to you! Which falls in line with his concept of simplicity. Eyal states, “You have to actually want to use your product and believe it materially benefits your life as well as the lives of your users” (2014).

Why I read Hooked

Due to having a background in behavior psychology, a guilty pleasure of mine is reading how companies and products boom. Whether it be through a created a sense of association, value, or reinforcement. Eyal’s “Hook Model” was heavily influenced upon the works of B.F. Skinner’s experiments on variability and reward, also known as operant conditioning, along with Albert Bandura’s theory of social learning. Both, fathers in the field of behavior modification. Nir Eyal’s Hooked is similar to Dr. Jonah Berger’s Contagious: Why Things Catch On. According to Berger (2013), value is expressed in the form of how the information makes us look to our peers (Social Currency); what cues make people think of the information (Triggers); the feelings invoked by this information (Emotion); the visibility of the information (Public); whether you can use this information (Practical Value); the broader narrative of this information (Stories).

References:

Berger, J. (2013). Contagious: Why things catch on. Simon & Schuster.

Eyal, N. (2014). Hooked: How to build habit-forming products. Portfolio.

Library 2.0, the library of the future? A reflection.

Sunday, September 5th, 2021

            Library 2.0 A Guide to Participatory Library Service, is a delve into the fast-paced world of information expansion and how the library can better serve their patrons and their community. By looking inward and breaking away from traditional thinking and routines, the library could modify practices that may be cost inefficient and time consuming. This inward reflection can only be made by taking into consideration what the staff, who interact with the patrons, have to say. When staff members feel as if their opinions count, a greater sense of belonging is felt, which can propel new ideas for future modifications and ease to change. This will help prevent the cycle of “Plan, Implement, and Forget” (Casey & Savastinuk, 2007).

            As the internet continues being the forefront of information, due to its ease of access via smart devices, the library needs to learn how to utilize it to its fullest advantage in order to evolve into Library 2.0. “The internet should not be considered an enemy or competitor […] [but] as a tool that you c[ould] use to reach our users” (Casey & Savastinuk, 2007). This could be done by utilizing free social media platforms that could allow not only users to communicate what they would like to see at their local library (via blogs or social media), but also, allow staff members to communicate their ideas and interests.

            The most important message in Library 2.0 is that change, even though it may seem disruptive or intimidating, is needed. “By evaluating the service, you may discover a way to revitalize it—or determine a way to revitalize it—or may determine that these resources could be better used elsewhere” (Casey & Savastinuk, 2007). In order for a library to change, its staff has to be flexible and feel as if their voices are heard along with those of their patrons and community members.

References:

Casey, M. E., & Savastinuk, L. C. (2007). Library 2.0: A guide to participatory library service. Information Today, Inc. http://doi.org.287.hyperlib.sjsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Library2.0Text.pdf

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