Hyperlinked Librarian

Reflection Post #3: Academic Libraries and the Library 2.0 Model

Posted on: October 3, 2019

Hunt Library NCSU

As someone who hopes to work in an academic environment someday, I chose to explore how academic libraries fit into what we’ve been learning about Library 2.0 and participatory culture. I noticed three major themes from the readings for academic libraries: (1) An emphasis on space that meets student’s needs, (2) Introducing services that spark intellectual curiosity, and (3) Being a support system that meets students where they are.

Space

In the past, academic libraries were used for students to access books and academic journals, scholarly works that were only available in print form. With the growing reliance on electronic resources, however, academic libraries have been able to rethink space that was previously taken up by books. Many academic libraries, like the Hunt Library at North Carolina State University, store their print collections offsite, leaving space in the library building for student scholarship and collaboration. Today, academic libraries are focused on how the library can provide spaces for students to engage in group collaboration as well as having areas for quiet study space.

Intellectual Curiosity

At its core the academic library is there to support students in order to enable student success and retention. However, the increase in electronic resources and Internet search engines like Google have prompted some students to do their research from their dormitories rather than visit the library. As Webster (2017) puts it, “[the] success of our online services has driven the researcher away” (p. 2). In order to bring students back into the library, the library must provide new services beyond reference assistance. For this reason, libraries now have interactive study rooms that encourage play and intellectual curiosity (Fister, 2012). These spaces include white boards, glass windows to write on, and giant computer screens to practice presentations. Webster states that this a new type of learning has unfolded, which “requires collaboration with other students [and] the creation of tangible objects using technology housed in the library” (p. 2).  If the library is to continue to support students, then it must provide services that are compatible with how student work is created today. Such services inspire intellectual curiosity because of their ability to create rather than to consume.

Support System

I was inspired by Hardenbrook’s story of creating a food pantry in the library for students. I remember being an undergraduate and thinking to myself, “Uh-oh, it’s 8:00 at night, I’m hungry, the dining halls are closed, and I’m not sure if I have one last Ramen noodle stored away in my dorm.” Hardenbrook describes similar situations in which students end up “skipping meals, not eating, or out of meal swipes (ID card ‘swipes’ tied to the university’s dining plan)” (para. 1). A free food pantry in the library helps to alleviate stress that accompanies “food insecurity” for college students. The pantry is also an example of “radical trust” (Stephens, n.d.) since it is based off of a “take what you need, give when you can” system. I think that the open, trusting system of the food pantry that Hardenbrook describes actually encourages students to participate in the food share system. Hardenbrook explains,

“We […] strongly felt that the food pantry should be unmediated. With sensitive issues such as food insecurity, people may feel embarrassed to ask for help. The food pantry is self-service. We promote it as judgment-free zone” (para. 5).

According to Berger (2015), people generally like sharing useful information that will help someone out. Because the food pantry is so helpful and useful to students, it is likely that students will participate in the service by paying it forward and donating food when they can. This has been the case at Hardenbrook’s food pantry.

These three themes all have one thing in common: the idea that the library is an entity that continuously listens to the needs of students, whatever those needs may be, and acts on those needs. Casey and Savastinuk (2007) assert that Library 2.0 means that the library continually reevaluates services to make sure they are services the community wants. Academic libraries are continually seeking ways to improve their spaces, foster intellectual curiosity, and meet students where they are in regards to what kinds of practical things they need. Clearly, academic libraries have their own unique way of marching towards a Library 2.0 model.

References

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

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

Fister, B. (2012). Playing for Keeps: Rethinking How Research Is Taught to Today’s College Students. Retrieved from https://www.projectinfolit.org/barbara-fister-smart-talk.html

Hardenbrook, J. (2019). Starting a food pantry in an academic library. Retrieved from https://mrlibrarydude.wordpress.com/2019/09/13/starting-a-food-pantry-in-an-academic-library/

Webster, K. (2017). Reimagining the role of the library in the digital age: changing the use of space and navigating the information landscape. Retrieved from https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2017/02/15/reimagining-the-role-of-the-library-in-the-digital-age-changing-the-use-of-space-and-navigating-the-information-landscape/?platform=hootsuite

[Image credits: https://www.lib.ncsu.edu/huntlibrary ]

[Image credit: https://mrlibrarydude.wordpress.com/2019/09/13/starting-a-food-pantry-in-an-academic-library/

4 Responses to "Reflection Post #3: Academic Libraries and the Library 2.0 Model"

Hi Melina! I loved your post. I also chose the Hyperlinked Academic Library module to read through. You brought out all of the best points made throughout the module. My favorite part is about cultivating curiosity and the several different forms of curiosity. I don’t think I had heard the terms epistemic, perceptual, and interpersonal applied to curiosity before and I found that part very helpful as a guide to determining the types of services you can program into an academic environment. Your last paragraph really sums it all up and applies to all library environments.
-Liz

Thanks for your comment, Liz! In regards to cultivating curiosity, when I first heard the term “play” from Fister (2012), I didn’t think it was possible for librarians to be able to make research papers interesting, much less “playful” for students. However, as a read more into her argument, my opinion changed drastically. What the Hunt Library is doing is encouraging “play” within scholarly research. Interactive tools like game design, collaborative spaces, and tangible materials for use embrace a different style of learning that is much more geared towards curiosity rather than passive consumption.

Hi Melina,

I loved your post!

I only worked for a short time at a small academic library but I remember having so much fun doing that. I would love to have the chance to work at all sorts of academic libraries too!

I really liked how you summed up the major themes of academic libraries with fun examples and photos to supplement it. Hunt library looks wonderful so I’m happy you shared it here. I love seeing how creative libraries can get with space to make it fun and functional for the people who use them.

When I was looking at your point on intellectual curiosity, I remember probably 7 years ago when I was a sophomore in college and I took my first step into the library. It was beautiful with large windows and it had a great cafe on the first floor. However, there were so many people and I just didn’t feel inspired to study there and work so I mostly did my studies in my own dorm. That example you shared resonated with me and it’s something I definitely did so I loved looking at this post with the eyes of someone who sadly didn’t use the library much during my undergraduates.

I also loved the solution using the idea of ‘play’ and having fun interactive boards and walls for students to collaborate on. As a artist, I love to have visuals but I also want a place to play around with my ideas. I think I would venture out if I saw that being provided to the students.

I loved this example you shared as a undergrad:
I remember being an undergraduate and thinking to myself, “Uh-oh, it’s 8:00 at night, I’m hungry, the dining halls are closed, and I’m not sure if I have one last Ramen noodle stored away in my dorm.”

I was fortunate enough that my dorm in junior year had a cafe in the lobby that opened at 8 pm but I do remember thinking well wouldn’t it be great if the cafe at the library opened late as well. I love the idea of the food pantry. I know students love to have late night snacks when they study but they’re limited by a budget oftentimes. I think it would be great if libraries could consider putting forth food pantries. I’m sure that students would be all for that idea and would spread the word among fellow students to help each other out.

Melina – The breakdown themes you used a framework for this post resonates. Webster’s work is some of my favorite and I so appreciate how he presents a balanced yet forward thinking view of the use of technology for learning.

Wow – that image under “Intellectual Curiosity” is amazing!

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