Virtual Symposium: 5 Takeaways

Hello everyone!

Welcome to my Virtual Symposium/Reflective Practice Blog combo!

Below I have my video recording, as well as images of my slides since they appear pretty small (my apologies!). I do not have a full transcript for the video, but there are optional closed captions available through Piktochart.

I hope that you enjoyed this class as much as I did and have a lot of great ideas and skills to take into your future in the LIS field! It was great learning with all of you, I hope you enjoy my final reflection!



~ @kywatkins


Hello everyone!

This is my idea for capturing the stories of the community in the library using podcasting tools/technology. The following is a brief/presentation with the intended audience of my public library director/manager and library staff.

I hope something will inspire you to find a way to capture and share the stories of your community as well! Thank you for stopping by!

~ @kywatkins


Infinite Learning in the Library: A Reflection

What is the last thing you remember learning? What was that experience like? 

Chances are, the library did not pop up as your first choice or memory, and you instead thought of a more traditional classroom setting. 

For many, especially those living in the United States, learning is pushed as a purely academic venture best experienced in a structured classroom setting and tested through standardized exams. Learning in the library, however, offers anyone and everyone the opportunity to get messy, make mistakes, and participate in “a level of experience unmatched by classroom activities,” (Stephens, 2016, p. 124). 

This in turn requires librarians to remain “curious about our changing information and media environments,” (Stephens, 2014, p. 8) and to think outside the box when offering classes and programs at the library. What can this look like?

For the Marsden Library, a branch of the State Library of Queensland system, families are learning more about their senses in a fun, hands-on environment: The Sensory Space. This space includes tools and activities, both technology-based and not, that encourage children and families to “learn together through play via technology, sight, sound, touch, and movement,” (Cooper, 2020, para. 1). 



At the Johnson County Library in Kansas, patrons are encouraged to learn about 3-D printing and try their hand at creating something new with their 3-D printer, free of charge. Teen patron Mason Wilde, for example, used the library’s 3-D printer to create “Robohand” for fellow student Matthew who was born with only one hand (Williams, 2014). This saved Matthew’s family up to $18,000 for a prosthetic hand with most of the same functionality. 


Besides learning how to use fun new technology and explore the world one sense at a time, many libraries are dedicated to promoting lifelong learning and acting as “a gateway to 21st century skills,” (Digital Promise, 2016). Within the Chicago Public Library’s (CPL) Learning Circles, patrons are given the opportunity to build their digital literacy skills and grow comfortable with new technology, with the library acting as a gateway for “convenient, significant access to technology,” especially for populations who typically lack this knowledge (Digital Promise, 2016, para. 4). CPL also trains those in the community who are interested in helping others gain digital literacy in their CyberNavigator program, and offers hands-on classes and programs in their makerspace area through their Maker Lab Program. 


The bottom line is this: the library is a learning environment open to people of all ages, backgrounds, and educational levels. Everyone is welcome in the library. All learning should also be welcome in the library. Providing continuous and diverse opportunities for all community members to gain knowledge “is key for both LIS professionals and librarians,” (Stephens, 2016, p. 125).


How are people learning at your library?



Digital Promise. (2016). The library as a gateway to 21st century skills. 

Doctorow, C. (2013). Libraries and makerspaces: A match made in heaven. BoingBoing. 

Logan City Council. [LoganCityCouncil_QLD]. (2018, September 3). Sensory Space at Marsden Library. [Video]. YouTube. 

Public Libraries Connect. (2020). Check out Marsden Library’s sensory space! State Library of Queensland. 

Stephens, M. (2014). YLibrary: Making the case for the library as space for infinite learning. 

Stephens, M. (2016). Learning everywhere. In The Heart of Librarianship, page 123

Williams, M. R. (2014). Kansas teen uses 3-D printer to make hand for boy. The Kansas City Star. 

What is Your Story?

I am sure you are no stranger to the very loaded question: What is your story? With so many ways to answer this question, it can feel overwhelming to find a way to start. For decades people have been answering questions on surveys and ticking boxes on a paper to express themselves, which has produced a ton of very helpful data, but the “human” aspect is often missing. What if there was a way to “check out” a person and hear their story? The Wilton Library in Connecticut pounced on that idea and brought it to life with their “Human Library” event first held in 2018 (Ray, 2019).  

This event featured a variety of stories from 22 “books” covering topics such as “ageism and anorexia, racism and sexual assault, being Christian and being Pagan, defeating addiction and living with Alzheimer’s disease,” (Ray, 2019). While there are hundreds of books and articles published on these topics, there is nothing quite like hearing the story from someone who has lived through the experience. 

Organizations like StoryCorps have also latched on to the idea of collecting stories and have created fun, easy to share media files that “remind one another of our shared humanity” and “strengthen and build connections between people;” (StoryCorps, 2023) something that has been made all the more difficult with the onset of COVID-19 and the year(s) of isolation felt around the world. 

Another method growing in popularity is the use of narrative inquiry to capture rich and fascinating information about people in your community. Narrative inquiry is the perfect tool for library staff to compassionately and respectfully inquire about the lives of their users, listen to their stories, and learn even more about the population they serve (Stephens, 2020). This method also acts as a “powerful tool for studying populations whose voices might not be regularly heard in mainstream media;” something that all libraries should be focusing on and remedying (Stephens, 2020). 

No matter the method used, capturing and preserving the stories of those in our community creates “an invaluable archive for future generations” that would not be possible if we all kept to ourselves. In the age of the internet and social media, you might want to ask yourself, “Why are we not recording our stories?” (if you are not already), and then jump on the train headed towards a world where “everyone’s story matters,” (StoryCorps, 2023). 



Stephens, M. (2020). Office hours: Narrative inquiry. Tame the Web. 

StoryCorps. (2023). Homepage. 

Ray, M. (2019). Courageous conversations at the human library. Next Avenue. 

Innovation Strategy & Roadmap: Battle of the Branches

The following PowerPoint presentation was created for the staff and community partners of the Stanislaus County Public Library system.

Branch directors and staff who are interested in participating in this E-Game Tournament are welcome to use this resource for proposing the idea to the rest of the staff, or to create their own means of distributing the information found here in a way that works for their users.


PPTX File for Download: Battle of the Branches E-Tournament at the Library

Maybe you will find an idea that works for your library! Happy exploring!

~ @kywatkins


Hyperlinked Environments Around the World

The most inspiring libraries are “not bound by rules,” are finding ways to “change daily,” and find themselves “filled with life, sound, art, and inspiration,” (Stephens, 2019, p. 60). The hyperlinked environment gives libraries, and their communities, endless opportunities for connecting and growing a future rich in knowledge, exploration, and partnership for all. While there are many libraries in the United States, like Benjamin L. Hooks Library in Memphis, Tennessee, that are taking leaps into the hyperlinked future with great success, much can be learned from libraries in other parts of the world. 



Pictured above are two of the instructors at Hooks Library in Memphis for the audio lab (left) and the video lab (right). Both labs have seen great success pulling in users of all ages and from all backgrounds to create, experiment, and collaborate using free equipment in a safe and inviting space. 

How are innovative libraries around the world making best use of their hyperlinked environment? 

Dokk1 Library in Aarhus, Denmark, one of the most rousing libraries in the world, has found a path “woven with experience, involvement, empowerment, and a healthy dose of innovation,” to the awe and glee of librarians globally (Stephens, 2019, p. 60). Dokk1 is, at its core, a dedicated third place for all; a “culture house” that invites those from all backgrounds and walks of life into a space that welcomes “communities, contemplation, learning, and play,” (Dokk1, 2023). The impact of their services and mission, and those of all of Denmark’s public libraries, can be seen throughout the community as libraries continue to fill the role of a safe haven for all. 


The new central Helsinki Library, Oodi, in Finland is taking the idea of the library as a third space to a whole new level. Helsinki’s director, Katri Vanttinen, puts the library’s mission into words:

“Libraries today need to be thought of as a physical space, a platform for activities such as reading, learning and public discussion. They also provide access to equipment, data networks or expertise. We even have reading coaches who act like personal trainers, but for your reading,” (This is Finland, 2018). 

Oodi’s design includes: 

  • A third floor housing 100,000 books; the traditional library space 
  • A second floor housing studios, music rooms, media rooms and a makerspace, including the ‘Cube,’ with 3D printers, sewing machines and other equipment
  • A first floor for interactions; it contains a café, restaurant, cinema, information points and a space curated by the European Union for foreigners 

Everything about Oodi’s floor plan and overall design points to the importance of the library as a community space; not an isolated, quiet place where grouchy librarians will “shush” you for talking. The old library model is being replaced by these hyperlinked libraries of the future who understand the importance of connection, creativity, and trying new things. It is understandably scary to clear out the past and start on a new path towards an uncertain future, but it is crucial for libraries to remember that they are not alone in these struggles; the community is here for the library as much as the library is here for them. These examples from around the world prove this. 

Libraries in the United States can learn a lot from their global counterparts. I hope to see some of these transformations and implementations of the hyperlinked library model in libraries near me soon. 


How is your library taking advantage of the hyperlinked environment?


I look forward to hearing from you, thanks for reading! @kywatkins




Dokk1 website: 

Dokk1 Instagram: 

Helsinki Invests in its People with a Library that Reinvents the Genre – This is Finland: 

Lauersen (2021). Impact of public Libraries in Denmark: A Haven:  

Smithsonian Magazine article about Bell Hooks library in Memphis: 

Stephens, M. (2019). “Dream. Explore. Experiment.” in Wholehearted Librarianship, p. 60

Hyperlinked Communities: How are we reaching everyone?

The idea of hyperlinked communities, and more specifically, the hyperlinked library, is both invigorating and daunting for those of us in the LIS field and beyond. The key question librarians, like Stephens (2014), keep asking themselves in a hyperlinked world is: How can we reach everyone? I now find myself thinking deeply about this question and looking for (some of) the answers for my own community. What would it look like to reach everyone in Stanislaus County through the library? Luckily for me, the LIS literature is filled with recommendations and guidelines for coming up with some of these answers. 

Multnomah County Library, for example, has invested in an equity, diversity, and inclusion framework for all of their programs and services. I was impressed with their decision to create an entirely new position in their staff: An EDI manager. In addition to a management position, some libraries have also added social workers to their staff. Adding these positions that, at their heart, are poised to empower others and promote equity within the library from the bottom up are an important step in the right direction towards reaching everyone in the community. The library, as the heart of a community (Stephens, 2023), needs to be a place where everyone feels welcome, seen, and respected, and can get what they need to thrive.

As Garcia-Febo (2018) declared in her article “Serving with love: Embedding equity, diversity, and inclusion in all that we do,” we, librarians, “are the change we have been waiting for,” (para. 3). The future of libraries is bright and invigorating if we utilize the hyperlinked library model to really reach everyone. The hyperlinked library provides the librarians with so many more opportunities to make the necessary connections to work together with the community and ensure users are able to connect and collaborate with the library at every step of the way. As every lecture, article, and new story is telling us again and again: change is coming, whether we are ready for it or not. 

How can libraries remove the image from the public’s mind that libraries are dying out with the increased reliance on the internet for everything? What do I say to the teenager who asks me “Why should I care about libraries?” After taking in all of the stories, experiences, and recommendations from libraries across the world who are finding new and exciting ways to stay connected and relevant to their communities, both users and nonusers alike, I can now say with confidence that the hyperlinked library is the future; and I am so excited to be a part of it!


Thanks for stopping by!




Garcia-Febo, L. (2018). Serving with love: Embedding equality, diversity, and inclusionin all that we do.

Module 5 Lecture: Hyperlinked Communities. (Stephens, M., 2023). View Lecture –Web Version

Multnomah County Library: 

Stephens, M. (2014). “Reaching All Users” in The Heart of Librarianship, p. 41

Assignment X: Participatory Libraries and Facilitating Connections

How can the library, as Stephens (2023) asks in his lecture on participatory libraries, find out what the community wants and needs from them? What is the best way to ask: “What would you like to do with the library?” (Stephens, 2023). We can start by looking at the current avenues of communication the library has with the community, whether we are talking about library users or non-users, and asking: 

  • Does this encourage and nourish participation, while building trust through transparency?
  • How are users encouraged to provide feedback on library services on a continual basis?
  • How are library staff communicating internally?
  • How can we collectively address the problem of the decade-old marriage to the print book format Kenney (2014) warns will doom libraries if we do not let it go and keep up with what our users want and need?
  • Do we have signage like this one found in Marin County Free Library?

If the answer to these questions, and ones similar to them, are no, then it’s time to start asking your library what you can start doing today to change this.

It is understandable that the rapid changes in technology have left many librarians feeling whiplashed and unsure of how to move forward in the safest way possible, but should safety and comfort be our goals? Before giving into what Stephens (2019) deems as “techno-lust” and frantically buying new tools and apps, it may be wise to consider Kenney’s (2014) model of libraries providing the tools and space for: innovation, experience, empowerment, and involvement.

By offering space for inspiration, learning, meeting, and performing in the library for all users, library staff will be more inclined to welcome and feel prepared for true transformation and radical change knowing that they have their community to support them along the way. 

It is a dangerous model that places a select few at the top of the library’s decision-making ladder, or one that uses a ladder at all, as it keeps so many innovative and creative ideas in the dark; ideas that would enable the library to handle the inevitable changes that will come with an attitude of creativity and community problem solving. 

I hope that the libraries of the future will continue to catch up to those ahead of the game, like the New York Public Library, the Dokk1 Library in Denmark, and the Marrickville Library in Australia. I would strongly encourage you to give their websites a try and decide for yourself if these award-winning libraries embody something your library could build with or from. Not everyone can win the best library award, and no two communities are made up of the same people with the same goals or needs, but we can all do our part to listen to our communities, build trust with them and each other, and be prepared to change with the future. 

How is your library creating a participatory environment and fascinating connections? Could your director start writing an internal blog for all staff members to engage with, share ideas, and offer suggestions for improvement? What about a blog or social media page that is dedicated to hearing new ideas from the community about what would make the library even better? There are so many ways to start engaging with the community and asking them about what really interests them instead of staying behind closed doors and giving one person all of the decision making power. 

I hope this post has given you something to think about for the future of your own library and some ideas for how to welcome more participation and communication within the library walls and beyond. I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences with these changes so far! 


Thanks for reading! @kywatkins



Stephens, M.  (2023). Module 4 Lecture Recording:

Marin County Free Library –

Kenney, B. (2014). The user is (still) not broken.

Stephens, M. (2019). “Telling Stories” in Wholehearted Librarianship, p. 91-95

Dokk1 Library – 

Marrickville Library, Australia –

New York Public Library –

Reflection Blog #1: Foundational Readings & Library 2.0

The foundational readings, Library 2.0 (Casey & Savastinuk, 2007); Think Like a Startup (Mathews, 2012); and Redesigning Library Services (Buckland, 1992), gave me a lot to think about as a novice librarian heading into an uncertain and rapidly changing future. 

The Library 2.0 guide was especially insightful and got me thinking about the ways in which my local libraries are failing to incorporate this model and what that might mean for their future. I appreciated Casey and Savastinuk’s (2007) statement in the introduction to the book: “There is no one-size-fits-all model; however, the basic components of Library 2.0 can be applied to just about any library willing and able to take the necessary steps,” (p. xxii). This is an important reminder that there is no single approach that is going to “save all libraries” by keeping them updated and relevant to their communities’ needs, even though it seems like there are a thousand articles, blogs, and books with titles promising such universal answers and practices. The key is listening to what your community wants and needs; not following another library’s plan because it worked well for them. 

As we keep moving towards an “Electronic Library” model in which most or all information and resources are available electronically (Buckland, 1992), this frees up a lot of physical space within the library that could be used as creative spaces, makerspaces, and/or community spaces that encourage creativity and collaboration amongst patrons. Instead of getting stuck worrying about budget cuts, how to reorganize the shelves, or joining the technology craze by buying new tools every month that are quickly forgotten, libraries of all types are being asked to “reinvent not just what [they] do, but how [they] think about it,” to best serve the 21st century learner; not the other way around (Mathews, 2012, p. 1). How can libraries of all types, and in all communities meet this goal? The Library 2.0 model offers libraries a blueprint for how to start moving in the right direction. 

What the Library 2.0 model offers is a chance for library staff at all levels and the community at large to work together and grow as learners to ensure the library stays relevant and important as life continues to bring major changes (Casey and Savastinuk, 2007). No more vertical structures that place all of the decision-making power in the hands of one or two people. The Library 2.0 model is built on a framework of horizontal communication and collaboration that ensures every voice is heard; especially those of front-line staff who are in contact with the community the most. After reading so many horror stories about creative and engaging programs being stopped at a director’s desk for months at a time, I am whole-heartedly prepared to bring this model to my place of work and see how the implementation of the Library 2.0 model will change my local libraries for the better. I hope that more libraries will follow suit and make change an “easy and routine” part of their organization (Casey and Savastinuk, 2007, p. 133). 


Buckland, M. (1992). Redesigning library services: A manifesto. American Library Association. 

Casey, M. E., & Savastinuk, L. C. (2007). Library 2.0: A guide to participatory library service. Medford, N.J: Information Today.

Mathews, B. (2012). Think Like A Start Up. 


Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think about the Library 2.0 model and the future of libraries in a comment below!


Hello everyone!

I chose this course because I am very interested in learning more about the hyperlinked library and how to assist my public library system in moving forward in that direction. My local libraries have been slowly adding more room for creation and collaboration, as well as creating an online presence. Even though a lot of great changes have been made recently, with the onset of COVID-19 forcing a lot of changes to online services, there is still a lot of work to be done for the library to prove itself as an essential educator in the community. I am hoping that the knowledge I gain from this course and the discoveries I make will give me a direction for change moving forward. I am excited to more fully understand just what the “hyperlinked library” entails and use this information to come up with tangible ways for my library system to embody these aspirations. 

My volunteering with the adult literacy tutoring program Learning Quest and with my public library’s reference department have both taught me a lot about how the library is succeeding, and where there is room for growth and new inspiration. I am most interested in connecting library resources with those in the community who are most in need, but are often forgotten or outright rejected: the unsheltered, those living with mental illness, and those living with addictions. I plan to bring more compassion, care, and outreach to my public library and to keep its role essential for the success of the county at large; we will not be forgotten or replaced, but adapt and thrive in the new and uncertain times!

I am also looking forward to taking a class with Dr. Stephens! I attended Dr. Villagran’s INFO 200 course last year and watched several lectures with Dr. Stephens and knew I wanted to take a class with him before graduating; I am excited to do that this semester! I hope to get to know everyone at least a little throughout the course and welcome any collaborations! 🙂


~ Ky (they/them) and my kitty 🙂