Karah's #hyperlinkedlibrary Blog

I Want to Do This: Interactive Community Stories

Posted in Uncategorized by on February 24, 2019
The “Local Stories” video included in the Hyperlinked Communities module got me thinking about how great it would be to launch a project like that at my high school.

I am particularly interested in the ideas surrounding the embedded video included in the Hyperlinked Communities module.  After watching the video and doing a little searching for more information about the content, I got to thinking how cool it would be to do something like that as a kind of running installation in the school library with the goal of bringing our community together in new and exciting ways.  Kind of like a Storycorps or Humans of New York or Auckland Humanity Project for my high school.  I love this idea!  We could begin creating a living history of the people who come through our building with whom we spend a significant part of our lives.  I have a colleague who does a Storycorps project with her classes already; it’s possible we collaborate and start by expanding that existing project into something that could become more public and visible to the whole school.  From the Hyperlinked Communities Module notes:

“Peter Block writes in Community: The Structure of Belonging, ‘Communities are human systems given form by conversations that build relatedness.’ Building a relationship between the librarian and the user is a step toward establishing the bonds of community. That’s why we can’t just hide behind our reference desks or our virtual lecterns and hope that students or users listen but leave us alone. Active engagement begins here.”  

But I think this idea could not work without the “conversation” piece; in other words, it would have to be a give and take between students and teacher/librarian-as-coach, otherwise it’s just a few faculty members with an idea they hope students might like. Without the student involvement and, ideally, ownership, there would be no point I don’t think. There would be no engagement.

After reading Palaces for the People last week, I have been able to articulate in new ways my mission as a librarian, and I think I am getting closer to having a good “elevator pitch” about the importance of libraries:  Libraries are the measure of the health of a democracy. A strong community, to draw on Block’s quote, creates and maintains “conversations that build relatedness.” I think it is the librarian’s duty to create and maintain the “bonds of community.”  Providing space for community voices to be heard for no other reason than to tell their story–not to highlight an achievment or an award or some other competitive thing that school too often emphasizes–sends students the message that all voices matter, that all who enter BHS belong.  We have been moving towards that sentiment as a society for a while now. But we also know that kids can tell better than anyone the difference between a catchy slogan weilded out of convenience and an attempt to control, and a sincere attempt at improving their lives.

Some Miscellaneous Thoughts on Other Readings/Viewings from the Module

  • In other news, I think I’m learning how to make my blog more visually appealing!

One Response

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  1. Michael Stephens said, on March 3, 2019 at 2:04 pm

    Your blog looks great! 🙂

    I had forgotten I wrote this bit: “hope that students or users listen but leave us alone. ” I actually LOLed because it was true and may still be today. But the examples you share of outreach and connection through human stories say to me we are on our way.

    I advise students in our program or people seeking to get the degree to know they are going a people-focused profession not a book-focused one.

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