Final Reflection

As I walk away from this class, I find myself ever more grateful that I made the decision to start my MLIS journey. Community-centered care, action, activism, has always been a passion of mine, and this class further emphasized how key that passion is to being the best librarian I can be. Being a librarian is about serving our community and being engaged through patrons’ stories, grief, passions, talents, dreams, and more. Libraries are not meant to be book mausoleums, but instead alive and thriving, both inside and beyond the walls of the building.

Much of this is in my symposium post, but reflecting back, I can see development of a richer understanding of librarianship and librarians’ duty. I am still fresh to the program—this was my second semester—so I cannot claim to know everything, but I now see how intertwined just about every aspect of librarianship is with service beyond expectation: going above the minimum requirements. Rather than simply buying whatever hot, new book is available, it’s taking time to curate a collection; rather than finding an article for a patron and sending them off, it’s showing them how you found it so they can learn a skill; rather than offering the same few programs, it’s getting creative and inviting new speakers, new designs, new ideas, novelty.

This class was such a pleasant surprise because I really did not know what to expect coming in; it just happened to one of the classes that didn’t require INFO 202. In such a short amount of time, I feel like we established a community of our own on this blog site, and I’ll be sad to see it go. I hope to take more courses with many of you. Thanks for a fantastic semester!

Edit to add: here’s my LinkedIn if you would like to stay in touch 🙂

Guerrilla Library Toolkit

Took a lot longer than expected, but here it finally is.

For my inspiration report, I wanted to create a resource toolkit for libraries experiencing ever-increasing book bans. This brief will guide librarians through the process of enacting their own guerrilla librarianship in order to protect the stories of marginalized communities. Please click the image above for a full PDF.

Reflection on the Power of Stories: What’s in a name?

Names have power, and represent a part of who you are.

In 2015, I began the process of legally changing my name. The idea of completely rewriting your identity is daunting, to say the least. I was paralyzed by overthinking: will I hate this years down the road? Do I try and sculpt from names I was given at birth? Should I hyphenate? I was flooded with endless doubts, so I started with the basics.

I had already been going by Kris–a shortened version of my old middle name–for several years, and I knew I wanted to keep that. I knew that I wanted the last names of both parents included so I could carry them with me. I decided it would be easier to make Grawert my middle name and leave my last name as Matas.

But something was missing. I wanted to keep the “J” from my old first name, just not in the same form. I compiled a list of J names and explored different meanings. When I finally picked Jayme, I looked up the other three out of curiosity. I hadn’t realized how intense they would be all together:

Kris: an asymmetrical dagger with a distinct wavy blade. Each of the three parts are considered a piece of art, coming together to form a deadly weapon.

Jayme: to supplant or supplanter.

Grawert: shimmery or gleaming hair.

Matas: “Mata” as a root can either mean wooded forest or kill.

Kris Jayme Grawert Matas: a bladed usurper with gleaming hair who’s a killer druid. They sound more like a character from an epic tale rather than an eccentric, androgenous academic. It was perfect. As someone with a fire for activism and enacting justice, it seemed fitting to have a name that was frankly, kind of badass—even if it was too long to fit into most paperwork and a space that confuses most computer systems. With the old name shed, I rewrote myself and changed the path of my story. I stepped into a name that would elevate me as a force to be reckoned with.

Reflection 3: Hygge in Academia

I decided to tap into “Hygge,” –a concept of feeling belonging to a community, comfortable, cozy, and at home—and apply it to an academic library: Shields at UC Davis (Stephens, 2023). I was inspired by Rebecca Lipsey and Francine Madera’s piece, 100 Great Ideas for the Future of Libraries. I am in no position to manage a project of their size, so I took the concept and scaled it down. Using social media to gather impressions of Shields from students, I asked for a word or phrase they associate with the library. I received a mix of responses that I populated into a word cloud below. Students were my focus as those who utilize services the most because, “Communities—the end-users—need to be drawn into the discussion. Yet so often, decisions about the future of communities are made behind closed doors by a select few with little to no meaningful citizen input.” (Lipsey, 2015).

It’s no surprise that an academic library in the center of campus had “study” as the most common response. Many respondents referenced favorite areas, like the 24-hour study room, reading room, and group-study rooms. This lends to the second most popular word: “spacious.” This response was interesting in that sometimes it was positive and other times negative. Some remarked that its size allowed for easily tucking away, while others reported it was too easy to get lost: “labyrinth” was used more than once.

Seeing repeated phrases of “good” and “helpful” staff was encouraging, as it shows students feel welcomed and accommodated. One cannot experience Hygge in an environment where they feel burdensome. Other specific answers displayed that comfy, cozy feeling by referencing napping, peacefulness, and the sentiment of being a second home.

Many negative themes directly linked to lagging technology and disjointed evolution of the space; “outdated” was the third most common response. Needs not harming a sense of Hygge included uncomfortable chairs, lack of outlets, and slow WIFI. All three are vital for someone spending hours poring over lecture notes and studying.

There were many conflicting responses, which really exemplifies that each patron has different needs and preferences. While planning for every experience is impossible, finding popular themes creates space to consider direction and action needed to foster Hygge and serve the academic population on campus. For Shields, it must find that balance between utility and comfort so that students can work efficiently without an extension cord or feeling like their spine is twisting.


Stephens, M. (2023). Hyperlinked Library: New Models.

Lipsey, R. F. & Madera, F. (2015). 100 Great Ideas for the Future of Libraries.

Assignment X: The value of Time

Every topic discussed, in one way or another, has linked back to the concept of time. On more than one occasion, Michael Stephens has lamented: time is not real or feels fake. Time is both arbitrary and yet given so much value: everything is shaped around it.

Time influences society in how it evolves: occupation, education, socialization. Libraries are no exception. Fields of study are constantly updating; preferences of patrons often shifting; expectations of curation quickly fluctuating.

Libraries that become stuck in time and tradition are left behind.

Time is a currency. But it is unique in that it cannot be stored for later; it is constantly and consistently being spent. The expression to “buy time” is only burning it in order to pay later. A debt.

Efficient and effective use of time is to plan for the people, not the past. As books fade from popularity—not becoming obsolete—we as librarians must ask: how do people use their time? The answer comes from cultivating community.

Engaging in community to reflect needs and interests, takes time. If you fall behind, it costs time to catch up. For proper budgeting, librarians must encourage participatory action through direct and purposeful exchange. For what is a community if not a conversation? We must fuel the flames of curiosity; ignite the passion for play; and step out from the safe bubble: a temple of books.

Four walls and a roof might make a library, but, without the beating flow of life and information, soon becomes a mausoleum. A place of mourning and stillness.

Community is a constant state of change and growth; methods of acquiring information and entertainment, subject to the whims of time. The evolution of technology, in particular, has accelerated the need to truly invest in understanding. As devices update, new gadgets emerge, the question becomes: how best to utilize our time to not waste theirs?

The embeddedness of technology is not as an object, but an extension. We cannot ignore it if we tried. We could not remove it without significant loss. Time has entwined a digital age into a receptive audience: on a foundation of physical resources, a garden has flourished.

And in time, things will die. It is simply a fundamental mechanism of the currency. Communities will come and go, projects succeed or fail, funding may peter out, seasons change. But the product’s impact won’t falter. If even one patron is satisfied, it will be time well spent.

Only time will tell where libraries end up, but we, as the cultivators of information’s garden, have the ability to shape a path. Libraries are not a lost relic of the past if we do not let them become it.

Taking risks for playful learning

As I was working through the readings and lecture, the idea of play as learning really struck me in how effective it is in teaching and engaging with younger patrons, and yet, how it lives in direct conflict with the legalistic and sterile approach of professionalism, or administrative culture. Novelty, something you have to break away from tradition to provide, is what draws in new patrons.

I grew up with the Summer Reading Program as the highlight of school break. My local library branch would host events all summer to get kids curious and fired up about learning. They would bring wildlife specialists with rescue animals, teaching about environmental science; they would bring in magicians, acting out a story with their magic; they even invited scientists from the nearby laboratory to give simple demonstrations. They provided a whole line-up of crafts and events for all ages to entertain and engage—not to mention prizes for reading enough books. All the local kids ended up at this tiny building, squished behind a pond for our afternoons, because there was always something new in store.



Programs similar to this were very popular! If there were wild animals, kids came out in droves.



If young digital users are the key to changing the way the world works, as John Palfrey explores in Born Digital (2008), you need to offer new ways to play.

Play is messy; it’s experimental; it involves failure and thinking outside the box—all terrifying prospects for an organization hellbent on maintaining a pristine environment. When the aim is to stay a steady course and survive, but not thrive, risk-taking is a major gamble. Mindspot the Movie: The Library as a Universe exemplified how much risk it takes to implement play for young adults, a demographic particularly disconnected from library services. Events like coloring and stargazing is a bit too juvenile to catch their attention. The mindspotters found success with programs like concerts, gaming competitions, and film festivals. They even created a mobile station that stops near popular places, like the park, rather than waiting for patrons to come to them. While not every program they try is a success, those that are can bring in people who have not had any prior interaction with their library. They are able to connect with their community in an irreplaceable way: something impossible to do without trying something new.



If this event had been around, I would have died to attend. I loved messing around with building things.





All images taken from the Livermore Public Library website.

Palfrey, J., & Gasser, U. (2008). Born digital: Understanding the first generation of digital natives. Basic Books.