Final Reflection

•December 8, 2019 • Leave a Comment

A very dear friend passed away a month ago. The story of our friendship is a short-lived, but wild one. We met three years ago on a Metro Red Line train platform. We had our daily routine: meet in the parking lot, ride the train, walk her to her office building where I would wait while she ordered her “everything” bagel (with butter – no cream cheese) and a coffee. At the end of the day, her smiling face was always waiting for me on the platform for the train home. And the evening texts: mostly about baseball with plenty of Golden Girls references thrown in. She never failed to brighten my days. Her loss was sudden and profound. But…how lucky was I? A warm smile and a casual hello and I gained a friend who very quickly impacted my life forever.

On a recent visit home, I shared my grief with my mom, who reminded me that life is about the connections we make with each other. Reflecting on what she said, it made me realize that the things that matter most to me ARE the connections I have made and will make over time. My friendship with Noga is a gentle reminder that these connections can be made in the unlikeliest of places.

I believe have found in librarianship a profession that celebrates these connections. I care deeply about the work I do and am eager to see what further impact I can have once I finish the MLIS program. It was so heartening to be included in this course, which I felt channeled my better nature and helped me find new ways to incorporate it into my work. It would be great if we had more course like this one; courses that stress that “’leadership is built around values, beliefs, relationships, passion, and emotional resources; more of a belief and condition of the heart than a to-do list.’” (Stephens, 2019, p. 40).

Thank you for an enlightening experience!

(I’m very sorry about your beloved Cooper. Our furbabies teach us so much, which makes their loss so difficult.)

Stephens, M. (2019). Wholehearted librarianship: Finding hope, inspiration, and balance. Retrieved from

Virtual Symposium

•December 7, 2019 • 1 Comment

Video Transcription:

Director’s Brief

•November 26, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Libraries have historically served as “points for the public’s first exposure to new technologies, and they could again play that role with virtual reality” (ALA, 2019). A versatile and exciting tool, VR carries the promise of creating an engaging and personalized library experience for every library patron, as well as realizing the potential of VR to increase social interaction – “giving people an emotionally fulfilling sense of being together even when they are physically apart” (ALA, 2019). Moreover, its application in a library environment enhances learning and ensures equal and open access to educational, cultural, and recreational resources in the surrounding community.

American Library Association. (2019, March 5). Virtual reality. Retrieved from

Reflection Blog #5: Infinite Learning – Professional Learning Experiences

•November 13, 2019 • 1 Comment

Over the years, I have watched my mother, an RN, take a slew of continuing education courses, especially every year around my birthday when she is buried in books studying for her ACLS. In fact, Registered Nurses in the State of California are required by law to complete 30 hours of continuing education every two years in order to maintain their nursing license. While it may not be necessary or feasible to demand 30 hours of continuing education for library staff, I am a strong proponent of “knowing how to ‘learn how to learn” (Stephens, 2016, p. 140). I do believe that such opportunities are critical to honing the skills and expertise required to effectively assist library patrons in this dynamic information environment.

Last year, LAPL held its first Staff Development Day, which saw all 73 branches closed with all library employees under the same roof. It was an unprecedented event that provided library staff opportunities to engage in a variety of activities, including stress-reduction techniques and chair yoga, as well as offering staff opportunities to actively engage with other individuals at similar employee class levels. However, as was mentioned in our readings, enthusiasm waned in the days and months following the event. If there is to be a similar LAPL event in the future, I would absolutely love to see a more concerted effort to incorporate sessions that highlight the progressive initiatives our library is promoting, such as the Octavia Lab. Not only would these interactive sessions be a welcome addition to more traditional information sessions, it would allow staff to engage, explore, and play with LAPL’s cache emerging technologies LAPL. Doing so would ensure our institution serves “as a hub for sustaining a culture of learning around technology and research” (Stephens, 2016, p. 136).

The most effective (and engaging) opportunity for my professional development arrived in the form of an invitation to participate in LAPL’s Leadership Development Initiative, which was created to help library staff develop, practice, and use leadership skills in all roles across the entire library system. I am typically not overly enthusiastic about role-playing or other interactive activities, mainly because I have not felt that the supposed lessons to be learned from such activities are sustained after-the-fact. This leadership initiative was different due, in large part, to a clearly articulated mission with established thematic elements that created a more focused and purposeful approach to the program’s interactive activities. In fact, we were encouraged to take the lessons learned from these activities and introduce them to our respective departments, which my manager and myself have done in the last couple months and has been warmly welcomed by my fellow coworkers.

While LAPL’s Staff Development Day and Leadership Development Initiative have provided excellent opportunities for professional advancement, I must admit I have been quite fortunate to have had managers who took the time and invested in me. These mentors, whom I admire and trust, have been instrumental in my professional growth within LAPL, giving me the confidence to explore and “learn how to learn.”

Stephens, M. (2016). The heart of librarianship: Attentive, positive, and purposeful change.

Reflection Blog #4: New Horizons – VR

•October 30, 2019 • 2 Comments

I have been slightly obsessed with Virtual Reality (VR) and its spectrum of potential uses in everyday life since meeting Dr. Albert “Skip” Rizzo during my time in SJSU’s MARA program. Rizzo uses Bravemind, an interactive and clinical VR tool rooted in exposure therapy, as a means to assess and treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Recalling this experience, I was convinced VR could be an equally effective tool in public libraries.

As libraries continue to evolve as community centers with an emphasis on education and experience as much as the materials contained within, virtual reality, or VR, offers a strategic medium through which librarians can offer their users equitable access to an emerging technology that may otherwise be unavailable to them. Operating in a post-print world presents unique challenges and opportunities, which makes room for VR to assist public libraries promote digital literacy by “addressing the fundamental mission of helping users acquire knowledge and satisfy information needs through creativity, innovation, and outreach, while remaining technologically relevant in the twenty-first century” (Hirsh, 2018, p. 138). Public libraries are uniquely positioned to create accessible and innovative experiences that expose and connect our community with the growing universe of emerging technologies. I love the idea of encouraging immersive storytelling through the use of VR – including grown-up storytime! Librarians can enhance and support student learning and creativity by developing STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) programs within a VR environment, as well as expanding its outreach efforts. More importantly, libraries can leverage the technology to create an engaging and personalized library experience for every individual, as well as realizing the potential of VR to increase social interaction – “giving people an emotionally fulfilling sense of being together even when they are physically far apart” (ALA, 2019).

To top things off, I had an opportunity to meet with XRLibraries, a resource I used for my Planning project, and interact with the VR equipment at the recent CLA Conference in Pasadena. Very cool, indeed!

American Library Association. (2019, March 5). Virtual Reality. Retrieved from

Hirsh, S. (2018). Information services today: An introduction (2nd edition). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Publishers.

Emerging Technology Planning: Virtual Reality (VR) & the Immersive Experience

•October 24, 2019 • Leave a Comment


Inspired by the Octavia Lab at the Los Angeles Library, as well as a Library Journal article titled “User-Designed Libraries | Design4Impact” by Ian Chant, I was struck by the concept of incorporating broad public input into progressive design plans that reflect the needs and wants of their intended target audience. Architecture and design firm Gyroscope sought the help of teens in their design of TeenHQ to determine “what role the space needed to play, what resources it should offer, and how the space should look and feel” (Chant, 2016). Drawing upon the creative spirit that launched TeenHQ, the fictional library, Araby Public Library, aims to establish a direct relationship with their users to create spaces that emphasize diversified and immersive services that are aligned with the current digital information environment. One such way we believe we can accomplish this is by adopting virtual reality technologies as educational and exploratory tools.

Purpose and Benefits

As libraries continue to evolve as community centers with an emphasis on education and experience as much as the materials contained within, virtual reality, or VR, offers a strategic medium through which librarians can offer their users equitable access to an emerging technology that may otherwise be unavailable to them. Acutely aware that operating in a post-print world presents unique challenges and opportunities, Araby Public Library’s adoption of VR allows the organization to promote information and digital literacy by “addressing the fundamental mission of helping users acquire knowledge and satisfy information needs through creativity, innovation, and outreach, while remaining technologically relevant in the twenty-first century” (Hirsh, 2018, p. 138).

Named after the 1914 James Joyce short story of the same name, Araby Public Library’s unique structure was modeled after the Hyundai Card Music Library and Understage in Seoul, South Korea and was designed to “appeal to the senses and create a very strong experience for the user” (Beitz, n.d.). We aim to utilize this space in a manner that allows users to experience a renewal of the world through the power of VR. We want our users to use the technology and revel in exploring, learning, creating, and playing!

Goals/Objectives for Technology or Service

  • Create accessible and innovative experiences that connect our community to the growing universe of emerging technologies
  • Enhance and support student learning and creativity by developing STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) programs within a VR environment
  • Offer a tangible and participatory experience for both digital natives and novice users
  • Encourage immersive storytelling through the use of VR
  • Enhance library instruction, navigation, and facility tours
  • Expand outreach (mobile VR – after school programs, senior citizen centers, etc.)
  • Promote responsible practice in immersive technologies to secure public trust

Description of Community You Wish to Engage

Although emerging technologies, like VR, are especially attractive to more technologically proficient users, Araby Public Library is committed to offering ALL our users “the opportunity to explore the emerging technology and to let them see its potential uses as an educational tool” (Goldstein, 2018). We are committed to leveraging the technology to create an engaging and personalized library experience for every individual, as well as realizing the potential of VR to increase social interaction – “giving people an emotionally fulfilling sense of being together even when they are physically far apart” (ALA, 2019).

Action Brief Statement

For Patrons:

Convince Araby Public Library patrons that emerging technologies, like VR, will help them acquire new skills, explore new possibilities, and connect with members of their community, all while having fun.

For Library Administration:

Convince Araby Public Library administrators that adopting VR technology as both an educational and exploratory tool will benefit a broad spectrum of users by embracing it as a medium to relay information, thereby promoting increased information and digital literacy levels. Additionally, by demonstrating a willingness to effectively use and promote emerging technologies, we reinforce our ability to adapt and be resourceful, while also further improving our service and outreach capabilities.

Evidence and Resources to Support Technology or Service

American Library Association. (2019, March 5). Virtual Reality. Retrieved from

Goldstein, P. (2018, October 31). Tips for Launching a Public Library Virtual Reality Program. Retrieved      from

Lambert, T. (2016, February 24). Virtual Reality in the Library: Creating a New Experience. Public Libraries Online. Retrieved from

Massis, B. (2015, November). Using virtual and augmented reality in the library. New Library World, 11/12, (796-799). doi:10.1108/NLW-08-2015-0054.

Pope, H. (2018, September 4). Virtual and Augmented Reality. American Libraries. Retrieved from

Western Michigan University. (n.d.). Virtual Reality Lab. Retrieved from

Mission, Guidelines, and Policy Related to Technology or Service

We intend to adhere to established legal, governance, budget, and personnel policies. However, we believe we can effectively collaborate with library administrators to work within these parameters, while also adapting policies and guidelines unique to the use and implementation of VR technology. We are confident this proposal is aligned with our mission to embrace innovation and encourages the development, promotion, and improvement of Araby Public Library to enhance learning and ensure equal and open access to educational, cultural, and recreational resources for our community.

Aware this technology is new to our organization, we will seek opportunities to confer with libraries and other organizations who have implemented the same technology. Per recommendations made by both Georgetown University and Pleasanton Library, we will work with our administrators to explore safety issues related to the use of VR technologies, which may necessitate the creation of a waiver document for interested library patrons, as well as implementing consultation appointments with library staff to familiarize and authorize patrons prior to VR use.

Funding Considerations for this Technology or Service

Navigating budget constraints is a challenge for any public library and Araby Public Library is no different. However, we believe we can start integrating VR technology through cost-effect measures, all while gauging public interest and building a strong case to expand the program over time. It will be imperative to evaluate the current technology our library is already using and offering our community to determine if an immersive or augmented VR experience is most appropriate. Preliminary research reveals budget-friendly devices, such as Google Cardboard and the Lenovo Mirage Solo, are ideal entry-level devices that allow users to experience a wide spectrum of low-level VR applications.

For more intensive and comprehensive devices, such as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, which offer improved graphics and an elevated immersive experience, Araby Public Library will need to explore more robust funding solutions. Negotiating budget changes and/or additions with library administrators is an option, especially as we are able to quantitatively and qualitatively demonstrate the value of VR technology. However, it will be worthwhile establishing partnerships with neighboring technology companies and non-profit organizations, as well as exploring federal and statewide grant projects.

Action Steps & Timeline

Araby Public operates on a fiscal year from July 1 to June 30 of every year. Since we are in the middle of our current fiscal year, we intend on using existing financial resources to introduce entry-level VR options to our library. We intend on conducting a trial period with library staff, providing an opportunity to try different VR options prior to making any financial commitments. Once Araby Public Library has decided upon which products to start with, we will conduct a soft launch with a select number of library patrons to gauge overall efficacy. Once our entry-level products have been launched to the general public by June 2020, we will be in a position to quantitatively and quantitatively evaluate the program, providing Araby Public Library the means to justify expanding the program to library administrators and introducing higher-end VR options in future fiscal years.


  1. Research VR options: 1 month
  2. Propose project to and gain approval from library administrators: 1 month.
  3. Present project to Regional Managers. Discuss potential administrative concerns, including the possibility of additional staffing, if necessary: 1 month.
  4. Present project to Araby Public Library staff to gather input and to determine our user needs. Feedback will inform management which entry-level VR equipment to purchase: 1 weeks.
  5. Adapt space for selected VR technology: 1 month
  6. Staff trial period & testing: 1 month
  7. Soft launch & usability testing: 1 month
  8. Introduce the general public
  9. Evaluation

Staffing Considerations for this Technology or Service

A critical factor in the successful launch of VR in Araby Public Library is providing a sufficient number of trained staff to support the technology. Unfortunately, this project will likely involve more than simply shifting existing resources, thereby placing a considerable burden on staff. However, Araby Public Library has a dedicated space for the VR experience, which will alleviate concerns about time spent having to set up and take down VR equipment for interested users.

We initially intend to assign a single staff member to supervise the space while it is in use. Smart scheduling will allow staff members to spend approximately 1-2 hours a day supervising the space, which we do not anticipate will adversely impact their more traditional reference obligations. We anticipate having to providing additional library staff through the use of substitutes or temporary hires at the onset of the program in order to work through any issues. Additionally, we will explore scheduled VR appointments and consultations at the start of the launch in order to better gauge the amount of staff time required to support the service. An interesting option that will require additional research and outreach is establishing relationships with local VR organizations and professionals, as well as local community colleges and universities, which our librarians can incorporate into their required outreach efforts. Establishing partnerships of this nature will not only provide invaluable training opportunities for our staff, but will also allow for the possibility for these organizations to provide onsite demonstrations for library users, providing even more relief for library staff.

Training for this Technology or Service

Securing staff buy-in is an essential component to successfully implementing VR technology. As they will be primarily responsible for supporting our users, it is imperative that our staff is proficient with the equipment and its uses. Additionally, through their interactive training with library users, they will be simultaneously promoting the service, thereby generating additional support.

Araby Public Library, with the help of library administration, will develop a formal policy that provides strategic oversight over all technological training and professional development opportunities. Given the complexity and dynamism of the current information environment, we are committed to providing our staff with essential technological resources and training that promote efficiency and effectiveness, with an emphasis on continuing professional development. In order for Araby Public Library to effectively meet the information needs of our community, our workforce needs to be skilled, confident, and competent. More importantly, we want our staff to be enthusiastic about supporting cutting-edge technologies. Thus, we find it beneficial to regularly offer staff training and professional development opportunities that offer the library the flexibility to accommodate future innovation and integration. Our ultimate goal is to ensure organizational stability without sacrificing essential services and funding.

In order to implement an effective and sustainable training program, we will seek to join XRLibraries, a national network of libraries implementing virtual and augmented technology into their communities. XRLibraries offers a range of services, including workshops, a learning portal, and an online forum where members can learn from each other in a community-minded setting. This collaborative effort will allow Araby Public Library to leverage their existing resources with the community’s expertise to establish best practices in the installation and use of VR technology.

Promotion & Marketing for this Technology or Service

Araby Public Library is aware that promoting and marketing VR technology will be a challenge, necessitating creative measures to ensure its success. Budget constraints and staffing issues will likely prevent us from engaging in more robust marketing strategies. However, in addition to traditional library advertising, such as social media, analog and digital bulletins, outreach, etc., we will explore mobile VR solutions to incorporate onsite demonstrations at local schools, senior citizen centers, and communal areas in our surrounding community.

Other creative measures include initiating a Snapchat campaign, where librarians can target a younger audience and build anticipation around the library’s VR technology, while also incorporating images, video, and traditional library storytelling elements into the medium. Araby Public Library should also consider utilizing the “gig economy” to hire freelance artists and writers to supplement promotional efforts, as well as exploring serial content, such as blogs or podcasts, to create weekly VR content. Ultimately, our goal is to match our marketing efforts with the dynamism of the technology.


Araby Public Library is committed to the success of the VR program and will evaluate the program at two different stages. Prior to officially launching the program, we will perform usability testing using with a select number of library users as they are introduced to the technology. Usability testing will allow us to watch and listen as users interact with the equipment, as well as answering questions related to the design of the VR space, the nature of the instruction, etc., so we may make the requisite changes and eliminate any issues prior to the official launch. Once the VR program is officially launched, we will perform a second round of usability testing, using random samples of library users. Seeking public feedback will also be valuable in any future improvements and will establish trust and confidence with our users, while also strengthening Araby Public Library’s programs and services.

Contingent upon the initial success of the VR launch, we have envisioned several scenarios for the expansion of the program. We believe we can expand the program relatively early with the introduction of VR storytelling. Our children’s librarian will be able to use VR to transform children’s story time and perhaps, inspire an adult story time, so we can connect with our community and rediscover the tradition of storytelling. Additionally, we believe we will be able to eventually establish relationships with local cultural centers, art galleries, and museums, which will allow Araby Public Library’s to offer virtual field trips. Working with our local school district, teachers will be able to schedule a trip to the library, where we will virtually transport students to new worlds. Our VR program will “also take students to places that they could never go in person. There are explorations of the International Space Station, the Juno mission to Jupiter and the human respiratory system” (McShance, 2018). We may also consider introducing VR driver safety programs and virtual gaming.


American Library Association. (2019, March 5). Virtual Reality. Retrieved from

Beitz, A. (n.d.). An ode to vinyl. Dialogue 28. Retrieved from

Chant, I. (2016, October 26). User-Designed Libraries: Design4Impact. Retrieved from

Georgetown University. (n.d.). Virtual Reality at Gelardin. Retrieved from

Goldstein, P. (2018, October 31). Tips for Launching a Public Library Virtual Reality Program. Retrieved      from

Hirsh, S. (2018). Information services today: An introduction (2nd edition). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Publishers.

McShane, M. (2018, June 13). Is Virtual Reality The Future Of Field Trips? Retrieved from

Pleasanton Library September 27. (n.d.). Virtual Reality at the Library. Retrieved from

Reflection Blog #3: Privacy & the Hyperlinked Library

•October 6, 2019 • 1 Comment

My chosen adventure: Privacy & the Hyperlinked Library

New and emerging technologies are effectively altering the manner in which we create, distribute, and access information. While many of these technological solutions are of benefit, they have also introduced a host of issues, particularly the competing policies of one’s right to privacy and the right of access to information. There are inherent challenges in society’s collective abilities to preserve privacy, while enjoying unfettered access to information in an environment where our digital footprint has encouraged a wide range of entities, in both private and public sectors, to collect this data. One’s right to privacy provides individuals with a fundamental right to manage the collection of, access to, and distribution of personally relevant information that is accessible by these entities. The Pew Research Center indicates “low levels of trust in sectors that Americans associate with data collection and monitoring [with] new findings show[ing] Americans also have exceedingly low levels of confidence in the privacy and security of the records that are maintained by a variety of institutions in the digital age” (Madden, 2015).  

Paul Scott, CRM, CA, records manager for Harris County, Texas, succinctly summarized the access and privacy debate when he stated, “ What we are looking at is whether laws and practices that were developed for nineteenth century recordkeeping to protect the rights and property interests of citizens are expressions of unchanging values that must be preserved or whether they must change to protect the rights and property interests of twenty-first century citizens confronted with new threats” (Sitton, 2006, p. 77). While there is a shared responsibility in this balancing act (consumer awareness/action vs. legislation/regulation), I do believe that limits should be placed on the length of time data-collecting entities can retain our information. I am most concerned about possible derivative uses — uses for purposes other than the official purpose for which the information was originally compiled. This is an area I believe regulation can be most effective and can help to allay Americans’ data insecurity issues.

Madden, M. (2015, May 20). Americans’ attitudes about privacy, security and surveillance. Retrieved from

Sitton, J. V. (2006). When the right to know and the right to privacy collide. The Information Management Journal, 40(5), 76-80.


Reflection Blog #2: Hyperlinked Communities

•September 22, 2019 • 1 Comment

The digital age has encouraged the proliferation of information and communication services, where an intricate system of interconnected networks facilitates the exchange of real-time data at a massive scale. The sheer volume and frequency with which this data, now commonly referred to as Big Data, is being created has generated a new digital economy, in which complex data sets can be manipulated to provide enormous value to organizations. Data is the new currency and organizations hoping to extrapolate its value must rely on efficient mathematical models, or algorithms, to decipher its content. As algorithms increasingly become organizational assets, it begs the question: can these algorithms be trusted?

Michael Bhaskar’s article In the Age of the Algorithm, the Human Gatekeeper Is Back, was of particular interest to me. Recognizing that algorithm-driven evaluations inevitably inform the lives of everyone, Bhaskar (2016) asserts that, “human curation and sensibilities have a value in the age of algorithms.” While I absolutely appreciate how the influence of human curated material has benefited me on several occassions, particularly as a Spotify, Goodreads, and Netflix user, I must admit I am weary that the human element is not (yet?) powerful enough to combat the menacing and pervasive effects of algorithms in other, more critical areas of our lives. In her 2016 book Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy, Cathy O’Neil demonstrates how algorithms have shaped these most critical areas, which include:

  • Ranking systems, including value-added teacher evaluation models that rely heavily on standardized test scores as input values and the U.S. News & World Report College Rankings reports, which heavily influence college admissions models and contribute to rising tuition costs.
  • Hiring practices are increasingly becoming informed by automation, specifically personality tests.
  • Our judicial system is rife with WMDs, many of which feed upon themselves. As police departments throughout the nation face serious budget constraints, many have employed the use of crime prediction models. These models often produces uneven policing, the results of which feed directly into the recidivism model that is used for sentencing guidelines; “In this system, the poor and nonwhite are punished more for being who they are and living where they live” (O’Neil, 2016, p. 97).

Despite my reservations about Bhaskar’s optimistic take on the effect of human curation on algorithms, I do agree that a hybrid approach is necessary, with “rich blends of human and machine curation that handle huge datasets while going far beyond narrow confines” (Bhaskar, 2016). Humans (and math!) deserve much better.

Bhaskar, M. (2016, September 30). In the age of the algorithm, the human gatekeeper is back. Retrieved from

O’Neil, C. (2016). Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy. New York, NY: Broadway Books.

Context Book Report

•September 15, 2019 • 1 Comment

The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods by John McKnight and Peter Block.

Shortly after moving to Los Angeles from the Bay Area, I had a persisting discontentment about Southern California’s apparent lack of community engagement. I longed for the sense of community that sustained me while growing up in a small town in Northern California. Authors John McKnight and Peter Block helped me identify what I have found to be a critical factor in my upbringing: an abundant community. Having been fortunate to be raised in such a community, I reaped the benefits of a neighborhood where most everyone genuinely cared about and looked after each other (In fact, every time I go home to visit my family, I am expected to “pop in” and visit several of my neighbors). The first place I sensed that elusive communal spirit in Los Angeles was the Woodland Hills Library, where I worked for close to 10 years. My fellow coworkers and our collection of regular patrons offered me the social and emotional support I needed and craved. We took care of each other and extended ourselves to each other, even though we were not kin. This transformative experience sold me on the power of libraries and their instrumental role in community development.

In The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods, McKnight and Block trace the decline of family and citizenship and assert that our society has replaced traditional functions of community, neighborhood, and family with services and goods provided by an impersonal marketplace. This shift from citizenship and community to a consumer-oriented economy has generated the false promise that satisfaction is a commodity to be purchased. A deeply impersonal system devoid of goodwill, empathy, and kindness, the consumer culture thrives on consumer dissatisfaction as the basis for higher levels of consumption. However, as Jeffrey Kaplan states, “there is no end to satisfaction, or it is a way of promoting dissatisfaction as the basis for higher levels of consumption and production” (McKnight & Block, 2010, p. 52). As a result, our dependence on marketplace solutions creates deleterious effects on our families, neighborhoods, and communities, thereby suffocating our communal culture. The irony is that which we seek in a consumer environment can be found in abundance within a competent community.

Readers may be fooled by the rather simplistic nature of the principles and practices proposed by the authors However, it is worth reminding that even the simplest of solutions can be visionary and even realistic. McKnight and Block (2010) stress that “while [their] discussion is a critique, it is not a criticism or judgment of any of use who are encased in modern life” (p. 52). The first step is to identify and nurture the three universal properties of an abundant community:

  • The giving of gifts;
  • The presence of association; and,
  • The compassion of hospitality

In doing so, we will realize that “our institutions can offer only service – not care – for care is the freely given commitment from the heart of one to another; it cannot be purchased” (McKnight & Block, 2010, p. 21). Additionally, our communities allow us to discover and be our true selves. They celebrate and embrace all the idiosyncrasies that make us unique. Libraries, like the Woodland Hills Library was for me, can and do occupy this role, whether it is after-school tutoring and mentoring opportunities, summer lunch programs for school-aged children, or Friends of the Library groups. The individuals in our libraries cannot be replaced: Nancy, the high-energy children’s librarian who hosts raucously fun preschool storytime; Marie, the kind and patient adult librarian who never fails to offer a warm and welcoming smile to every patron as they walk in; or Karen, the thoughtful patron who religiously brings library staff snacks and goodies every week.

Libraries can embody this generosity of spirit and become a trusted and visionary influence for the communities they serve. They can create spaces that not only manage information needs, but evoke joy, safety, acceptance, and hospitality. Through special services and programs, libraries can help their patrons answer the following questions posed by McKnight and Block and together, create an abundant community:

  • What are the gifts of your head? What do you know about?
  • What are the gifts of your hands? What do you know how to do?
  • What are the gifts of your heart? What do you especially care about?

McKnight, J, & Block, P. The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Reflection Blog #1: The Hyperlinked Library Model

•September 10, 2019 • 2 Comments

Apologies for the late post – I mistakenly noted this was due the same date as the Context Book Report (it won’t happen again :P)…

I have been curious about the hyperlinked library model, as I am relatively unfamiliar with the concept. That said, as I was reading over the materials in the module, I realized that my employer, the Los Angeles Public Library has taken steps to adopt this model. Whether this is intentional or not, I cannot say for sure, but I do know that many of our most recent initiatives are designed in the spirit of the hyperlinked library model. An impressive example is the Octavia Lab, named in honor of African-American science fiction author Octavia E. Butler. A do-it-yourself maker space and audiovisual studio, the Lab boasts a variety of tools, including a laser cutter, 3D printer, sewing machines, a Roland vinyl cutter, and a CNC mill, to name just a few. The success of the Octavia Lab reflects LAPL’s commitment to use innovative technology to extend the influence of the library beyond its physical structure to include everyone in our community, even our most marginalized members. In fact, City Librarian John Szabo declared it a “space that is an equalizing space… [and] is an opportunity for the poorest child in L.A. to have access to some incredibly expensive technology that they might not have at school” (Roe, 2019). Additionally, investing in forward-thinking projects like the Octavia Lab affords LAPL opportunities to reach a broader, and perhaps new, patron pool. Personally speaking, this project was the impetus for me reconsidering my future with LAPL and entering SJSU’s MLIS program.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Octavia Lab, please visit

Roe, M. (2019, June 14). LA Public Library’s New Maker Space/Studio Lets You 3D Print, Shoot On A Green Screen, And Way More. Retrieved from

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