Catching up with the recording of Michael Casey’s chat with our class (Casey, 2020), I took note of how the two biggest recent changes he has helped implement at the Gwinnett County Public Library (GCPL) are of an analog, brick-and-mortar variety: removing the reference desks and organizing the non-fiction collections by BISAC instead of Dewey. Even the third major change, introducing the Open+ system to allow users self-service access to certain locations when staff are not there, is more about increasing in-person, physical access, even though its execution of course requires networked technology. This gets to the idea that a hyperlinked library approach is about a lot more than just incorporating as much digital interactivity as possible; the philosophy is fundamentally about a willingness to look beyond old paradigms and make design changes of all kinds to improve service. As Stephens (2017) contends, old school versus new school is a false choice. Casey’s initiatives with GCPL answer the big question that Stephens says we should ask: “What would make [our users’] lives easier?”
The other module 5 readings show a lot of evidence of library professionals looking at their work through the “lens of compassion and empathy” Stephens advocates, focusing at least as much on physical interaction as digital. Lauersen (2018) gives a keynote address for a UX conference, yet his focus is entirely on the human element, especially the diversity and inclusiveness of libraries. Dixon (2017) details inspiring library programs that have helped gather together diverse elements of specific library communities for challenging discussions on social issues and local history. Smith (2017) informs readers of the Madison Public Library’s efforts at “reorienting the library toward community-led initiatives” by soliciting program concepts and execution from the community. Even North Carolina State University’s Instagram campaign for the opening of its Hunt Library was a way to get students to engage with the library as a physical gathering space where creative ideas could be catalyzed, recorded and shared (Casden, Nutt, Lown, & Davidson, 2013). This latter initiative certainly exemplifies the kind of “interaction across virtual and physical planes” that Stephens (2016, p. 41) says is essential to reaching out effectively to library communities.
As a little postscript, I also want to note how much I appreciate Casey (2020) reporting on how staff have been included in the development of GCPL’s programs. He and Savastinuk (2007) emphasized this in Library 2.0’s Chapter 7: Getting Everyone One Board. Seeing that kind of follow-through, and in these particular contexts, is helpful and encouraging.
Casden, J., Nutt, M., Lown, C., & Davidson, B. (2013, April 29). My #HuntLibrary: Using Instagram to crowdsource the story of a new library. ALA.org. https://acrl.ala.org/techconnect/post/my-huntlibrary-using-instagram-to-crowdsource-the-story-of-a-new-library/
Casey, M. (2020, February 18). Michael Casey Recording [Class video conference]. SJSU.edu. https://287.hyperlib.sjsu.edu/blog/michael-casey-recording/
Casey, M. E., & Savastinuk, L. C. (2007). Library 2.0: A guide to participatory library service. Information Today.
Dixon, J. (2017, October 23) Convening community conversation. Library Journal. https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=convening-community-conversations-programming#_
Lauersen, C. (2018, June 7). Do you want to dance? Inclusion and belonging in libraries and beyond. Christianlauersen.net https://christianlauersen.net/2018/06/07/inclusion-and-belonging-in-libraries-and-beyond/
Smith. C. (2017, June 25). Madison’s library takeover. American Libraries. https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/blogs/the-scoop/madisons-library-takeover/?utm_content=buffer8a08c&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer
Stephens, M. (2016). The heart of librarianship: Attentive, positive, and purposeful change. ALA Editions.
Stephens, M. (2017, April 20). Libraries in balance. Library Journal. https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=libraries-in-balance-office-hours