The SPL Memory Lab Initiative (INFO 287 Participatory Services & Emerging Technology Planning Assignment)

Introduction

Having been inspired by our reading about the DIY Memory Lab (DML) at the Los Angeles Public Library, and its alignment with the participatory services model promoted by the Hyperlinked Library Model, I decided to explore this project more in depth. I quickly learned that LAPL is only one of several library systems that make up a Memory Lab Network, and decided to draw upon these to create an outline for a similar initiative for the Seattle Public Library (SPL) system. This proposal is informed not just by the models provided by these libraries’ Memory Labs, but also transformative perspectives, models, and practices emerging within the archival profession, embodied in the more user-inclusive and -centered frameworks of participatory archives and Archives 2.0, and collection development/management.

The SPL Memory Lab initiative is based on a more open, participatory, user- and community-centered conception of archiving that has been developing within the profession in the past decade and a half. This vision — expressed in concepts such as Archives 2.0 and participatory archives (or the liberated archive) — has elevated critical questions around how our collective stories and understandings of ourselves are shaped by archival work, and how traditional archival practice has contributed to the erasure or silencing of marginalized voices and those with less social power within such shared stories. This emerging vision promotes new archival practices and ethics based in cultural humility, openness, and adaptability, as well as a commitment to ongoing user and wider community inclusion in building and maintaining archival collections, particularly those documenting the stories of marginalized communities. 

Picture of patron and staff member at DC Public Library Memory Lab.
Jaime Mears, a National Digital Stewarship Resident at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, instructs Alex Santos on how to scan and digitize family photos at the D.C. Public Library’s Memory Lab, March 29, 2016. Photo by Shawn Miller.

The practice of collection development and management has become increasingly dynamic over the past two decades, based in the possibilities for wider access to a variety of formats via digital technologies, and the inclusion of creative tools and educational objects via the Library of Things concept; these trends have been disrupting the notion of what is meant by a library’s “collection.” Shifting community demographics — and thus, audiences to be served and content to be offered, in format and form — have likewise challenged library professionals’ understanding of how libraries can ensure they remain responsive to users’ needs and wants, and support their connection with content and experiences that enrich their lives. The continually evolving hybrid model of analog and digital engagement in library service enables users to participate in collection development, adding both physical and digital content for access by all that could not be acquired or discovered through traditional collection management practice. 

Goals/Objectives for Technology or Service:

The Memory Lab initiative at SPL is intended not just to provide a valuable service to SPL users, but also create opportunities for creative and collaborative exchange between users and librarians/library staff. It is also intended to serve non-users as well, who through using the service, may subsequently become inspired to become active users. Specific goals/objectives for the service would include:

  • The expansion and enhancement of SPL’s local/community history archival collection;
  • The promotion of SPL’s local/community history archival collection and its value as a community resource and body of shared community heritage;
  • The cultivation of a diversity of personal historical artifacts, images, and other story-bearing materials to elevate the experiences and knowledge of marginalized communities in support of the goal of serving a diversity of user backgrounds, interests and needs; 
  • The creation of new flows of access, use, and sharing of content/information between users and library staff;
  • The engagement of users in participatory, collaborative curation and exhibition of SPL’s local/community archival collection;
  • The provision of a useful information service to current non-users of SPL, towards the goal of having them become engaged users.

Description of Community you wish to engage:

The SPL Memory Lab would be open to all community members with a Seattle Public Library card.  Users would attend an orientation (either in-person or online), review and agree to SPL Memory Lab policies, and make a reservation. They would also review the SPL Memory Lab release form (through which they would opt in to allowing their digitized content to be added to the SPL collection and/or the Digital Public Library of America. 

As noted below in the Marketing/Promotion section, outreach efforts around the SPL Memory Lab would also seek to engage current SPL non-users through community events and other promotional activities. Such efforts would make non-user community members aware of the service, and encourage them to become users through obtaining an SPL library card.

Action Brief Statement:

For community members (SPL current users and non-users):

  • Convince community members  that by collecting, preserving, and sharing their personal artifacts  they will contribute to building and preserving a more diverse and inclusive shared historical record which will spark new learning opportunities and expand new cultural understanding, because it offers up new perspectives, experiences, and knowledge for all.

 For SPL library administrators, professionals, and staff:

  • Convince library administrators, professionals, and staff that by offering personal/community archiving services they will create meaningful, engaging experiences for community members around personal and collective storytelling which will deepen SPL’s relationship with their communities and enrich their collections, because it affirms and elevates SPL communities’ diversity of perspectives, experiences, and knowledge.

Evidence and Resources to support Technology or Service:

DIY MEMORY LAB About / Program links (Selected)

Whalen, L. (2020, January 7). Uncovering the Past: With digitization, libraries bring treasures to light. American Libraries. https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2020/01/02/uncovering-past-libraries-digitization/ 

On Archival Silences, Participatory Archives, and Community Engagement 

Participatory Projects/ Social Tagging and Transcription

Mission, Guidelines, and Policy related to Technology or Service:

The SPL Memory Lab model will offer community members/users a service through which they can digitally preserve photos, documents, and other media artifacts (such as audio and video) of value to them, and transfer these artifacts’ content to more current, user-accessible, and shareable formats. All Memory Lab users will be provided a flash drive with their digitized content at the conclusion of their archiving appointment.

Picture of Memory Lab space at Woodbridge Library, Ontario
Memory Lab station at Woodbridge Branch, Vaughan Public Libraries, Ontario

The SPL Memory Lab will also offer users the opportunity to share their digitized content with others in the Seattle community and beyond, through choosing whether or not to allow their content to be added to the SPL collection and Digital Public Library of America. This hyperlocal approach — drawing upon community-generated content — will provide a meaningful way for SPL to build out a local/community history archival collection of greater relevance to its users, to engage both users and non-users, and demonstrate the value of the ever-changing and expanding constellation of information and resources available in the system. By being open to all and drawing upon the personal archiving of SPL community members (both users and non-users), the SPL Memory Lab initiative would an active intervention towards the development of a more diverse library collection, and deeper collaboration between library professionals and staff with community members around collecting, curating, and sharing stories.  

The guidelines and policies essential to the success of the SPL Memory Lab initiative would include the following items: 

1) A service-specific collection development policy, with clear scope of the materials anticipated to be collected via the initiative, 

2) A cataloging /metadata standards document, to help guide initial and ongoing tagging of SPL Memory items added into the SPL collection, and moderation of tags on the online interface,

3) A release/opt-in document for SPL Memory Lab users, that allows them to authorize or restrict inclusion of their digitized content into the SPL collection and/or Digital Public Library of America’s collection, 

4) A service-specific privacy/confidentiality policy/process to complement #3, which would  address privacy/confidentiality and terms of use/storage of SPL Memory Lab digitized materials provided by users.   

The SPL Memory Lab initiative working group — which will include SPL librarians, IT staff, front-line paraprofessionals, and current SPL users — will consult with librarians from other systems with Memory Labs around the these policies/guidelines, as well as review related existing SPL patron guidelines & policies for materials and technology use, and privacy/confidentiality. 

In the initial year of this service, these would be reviewed and revised quarterly as needed by the SPL Memory Lab initiative working group to address any identified gaps or issues not currently covered in the guideline or policy. Alongside the internal review, this working group will collect feedback from users and library staff at the Memory Lab locations towards reassessing these policies, quarterly in the initial year, and every six months in future years. Special collections, IT, and cataloging staff will be consulted around the development of basic metadata standards.

Briefly outline how your technology or service’s grant, allocated funding, budget, available free-space, etc.will be distributed: 

Due to a generous grant provided through the Institute for Museum and Library Services’ Digital Humanities Advancement grants program, the Memory Lab initiative at SPL has obtained the funding necessary to cover the capital costs for the initial three locations, particularly the purchase of digitizing equipment and their accompanying software, and Content DM an OCLC digital asset management system. 

Additional costs will include staff training time and allocation of additional staff hours to service the SPL Memory Lab; SPL IT staff time for design of a new interface/platform for the SPL digital collection that integrates the Memory Lab’s user-generated content with Content DM and enables user search, tagging, and other engagement with the materials; potential consultation costs with other Memory Lab library service providers; and promotions/marketing costs. These additional costs will be funded through a combination of IMLA DHA grant funds, a special projects allocation from SPL. Ongoing costs will include contract/support costs for Content DM. Post-launch year, the service will then be fully funded by SPL. 

Physical spaces in the Central, Green Lake, and New Holly branches have already been identified for the SPL Memory Labs. There will be minimal IT-infrastructure upgrades needed to implement the service, since all three locations have undergone significant upgrades in the past decade.

Action Steps & Timeline: 

The mission, goals, and objectives of the SPL Memory Lab initiative set forth a regional approach, across three initial branch locations. However, this service can be prototyped at the Central branch, with an initial “soft-launch” a month prior to the official launch across the three branch locations. With dedicated staff planning time, the overall timeline for the Memory Lab launch at the Central branch will be four months. The Memory Labs at Green Lake and New Holly would then be launched in five months.

Major action steps along this timeline include the following:

SPL Memory Lab Working Group

  • Recruitment/initial planning meeting meeting (some SPL staff have already identified themselves as interested in participating in this group)
  • Policy/Practices review – relevant SPL policies, review of Memory Lab policies/practices, consultation with Memory Lab Network
  • Drafting of user policies and guidelines
  • Coordinate review of user and staff training materials by representatives of SPL staff at all levels of each Memory Lab branch
  • Space planning with directors of each planned Memory Lab branch, to ensure space, equipment, staff, and user needs can be aligned
  • Brief SPL community engagement staff around Memory Lab initiative, and discuss opportunities for outreach and engagement at initial launch, and beyond 
  • Brief SPL Promotions/PR/Marketing department around Memory Lab initiative, and develop promotions plan including press releases, email announcements, launch events, and news coverage

IT Unit 

  • Consultation with Memory Lab Network contacts to research potential digitizing equipment/software options 
  • Research of pricing and purchase of digitizing equipment, digital asset management system, and related software, in consultation with SPL ML Working Group
  • Development of storage capacity for content, new user interface for digital collection
  • Installation/setup of Memory Lab equipment and physical space at branch location(s)
  • Testing/troubleshooting to prepare for staff trainings

Training Materials/Workshops

  • Development of staff and user training design by SPL ML Working Group, in coordination with SPL instructional/programming librarian representatives and frontline staff representatives
  • Training/orientation of staff at planned branches — including directors
  • Evaluation/feedback gathering on training — to help refine future trainings
  • Finalization of initial staff and user training materials and workshops

Community Engagement/Outreach

  • SPL community engagement staff begin outreach efforts to community organizations, especially cultural heritage-focused organizations in areas around the three Memory Lab branches

Promotions/marketing/PR

  • Develop promotional materials (press releases, email, social media, library website article) and events in consultation with SPL ML Working Group
  • Arrange press coverage around ML initiative, and launch events 

Launch Events – all potential promotional/press coverage opportunities

  • Soft-Launch at Central branch 
  • Combined Launch at Central, Green Lake, New Holly branches

Staffing Considerations for this Technology or Service:

The SPL Memory Lab initiative will require some additional staff hours, with a projected initial direct service timeframe of 6 hours per week per location. These hours would include two 3-hour service windows on one weekend and one weekday afternoon (exact times to be determined), across its three locations. 

Beyond these direct service hours, additional staff hours would include processing of digitized content prior to its addition to the collection (including basic metadata tagging and quality control), promotion/outreach efforts (detailed further below), and email communication with prospective and current users about the service. 

A community internship or partnership element may provide additional capacity for this service, with a trained SPL staff member working in tandem with community members interested in learning more about archiving (either for educational credit or personal enrichment). Such partnerships would include a training going beyond the orientation provided to all users, spanning all elements of the service (equipment use, guidelines/policies, back-end processing of materials).

Training for this Technology or Service: 

There will be two areas of training related to the SPL Memory Lab initiative: one for librarians and paraprofessional staff who will be facilitating the service, and another for community users of the service. 

SPL will draw on training materials developed by other library systems in the Memory Lab Network to help outline these two trainings, but also will bring together an advisory working group to help finalize the training materials. This team will include SPL special collections/digital humanities librarians, IT trainers, and both digital-friendly and digital-hesitant librarians and frontline staff to map out the training materials. Instructional materials and consultations with the equipment and software vendors will also be integrated into the training development process.

Trainings for library staff will occur twice a year, and be focused on specifics of working with digitized content, including capture/scanning/transfer, quality control, editing, metadata creation, filing and storage, and access/privacy policies and considerations for users. They will also learn how to assist and train users in working with the different SPL Memory Lab archiving technological tools (scanners, audio and video converters, etc.).

Users will be provided orientation/trainings quarterly. These will include instructions on how to use the SPL Memory Lab tools, as well as reviewing the guidelines and policies regarding privacy/confidentiality, and their rights around determining how SPL can potentially use, store, and share their digitized content. In-person trainings will be supplemented by video tutorials and webinar versions of the training materials, as well as printed versions of the materials and other necessary instructions available at Memory Lab locations.

Promotion & Marketing for this Technology or Service: 

Promotion for the the SPL Memory Lab initiative will include both internal and external promotion efforts, described below:

Internally, the SPL Memory Lab will be promoted to administrators, librarians, and library staff as offering: 

  • New professional learning experiences for library professionals and staff, around aspects of archiving, community history, and special collections through a participatory ongoing service experience. This learning will include training and experience with digitizing technological tools, archival processing/metadata tagging, and curation/management of the collection; 
  • New opportunities for community engagement and collaboration, in building collective history and also potentially developing programs or exhibits based on collection content, alongside users;
  • Learning opportunities about the stories and experiences of community members/users, towards a deepened understanding of the communities they serve;
  • An inclusive collection development model for diversifying the SPL archival/digital collection.

Externally, the SPL Memory Lab initiative will be initially be promoted to both users and larger community through the following means:

  • Print materials within all library branches;
  • An email announcement and print mailer to users shortly before the initiative launch;
  • A prominent story displayed on the SPL library website;
  • Press/news articles in local outlets; 
  • Simultaneous launch events at the Central, Green Lake, and New Holly branches. 

Following launch, external promotion will include these additional efforts. These will occur within the first six to twelve months following launch: 

  • A Mobile Memory Lab outreach booth to promote the service at a few key cultural events/festivals;
  • Outreach to local community organizations, including several related to cultural heritage, and community/local history;
  • A collaborative online exhibit with accompanying program drawing upon the collection, and developed through collaboration between library staff and community members/users;

Evaluation:

SPL will use a number of metrics to assess whether or not the SPL Memory Lab initiative is producing value; these will include both quantitative and qualitative measures, with an emphasis on centering user engagement and experiences. 

  • The number of service interactions with users will be used to measure both overall use, while tracking where in the city users of the service reside can help identify possible usage trends and visibility of the service across different regions served by SPL. Such trends may point to further outreach opportunities or service expansion to additional SPL regions. It can also be used to evaluate whether Memory Lab services have been properly located, or would be better sited at a different location.
  • The number of items transferred to digital format via the Memory Lab service and the pace of acquisition will be tracked, to assess user interest in this service. In addition, the number of items added to the SPL collection during Memory Lab use will likewise be tracked, to understand user interest in sharing their materials. 
  • The addition of items by format will also be tracked to develop an understanding of what types of materials ML users are most interested in preserving and sharing. This measure will also provide critical information around whether or not the service has been properly resourced at the equipment/software level, and/or whether or not additional resources should be allocated towards the service. 
  • The number and types of user interactions with the digital objects added to the SPL collection via our digital access platform will also be recorded and examined. Such analytics can be useful in determining what features of the interface enhance users’ experiences with the collection, as well as to better understand what types of content the larger community SPL serves is most interested in connecting with and learning from within the collection. 
  • Surveys — both digital and print — will be used to gather feedback from both users of the Memory Lab service, as well as to promote the service among Memory Lab non-users. The digital version of this feedback will be collected through the digital collection’s interface, as well as other strategic areas on the SPL website (related to community history or memoir, for example). Both users and non-users will be able to provide useful perspectives relating to the timeframes for ML service, SPL’s Memory Lab locations, potential issues and possible improvements that may not be captured by other measures, but can offer helpful guidance for changes to the service.

The Memory Lab initiative provides SPL the opportunity to continue providing innovative, user-centered service, while also promoting our ongoing commitment to build a collection reflective of the diversity of cultures, backgrounds, voices, and perspectives embodied in our service community. It will enable community members to preserve and share their stories, and weave them into the larger story of Seattle. 

The above metrics will be used to evaluate SPL’s Memory Lab service in its initial locations, as well as to point towards expansion to additional locations/regions in the SPL service area. While the three initial locations are meant to provide access to the Memory Lab service across North, Central, and South Seattle, the city’s geography and public transit may create challenges for potential users located in neighborhoods less adjacent to these locations. 

There are two potential solutions for expansion of service if such access is found to be desired by these community members/users: 1) a Mobile Memory Lab service, which could provide Memory Lab service to not just library branch locations but even other community gathering hubs such as community centers on a regular basis, and/or 2) additionalMemory Labs at a few more SPL branches, with a second South Seattle location and expansion to one to two West Seattle locations as potential priorities. Such expansion would be informed by the measures above, to identify what would most serve community members eager for the service, as well as a continued focus for expanding access for low-income communities of color.

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REFLECTION POST – On Infinite Learning (And My Own Infinite Learning Journey!)

Upon seeing the three main topic areas for our Infinite Learning modules, I immediately gravitated towards Professional Learning Experiences as my first area of focus. I’m about a year out from completing my MLIS journey at San Jose State, and as I enter my last few semesters, I’m both grateful for the amazing things I’ve learned across all my classes. However, I’m also very much aware of how I’m really just beginning to understand the breadth of skills, knowledge, and habits of mind that are essential to the type of transformative, people-centered librarianship which I aspire to embody in my library practice. 

I deeply appreciate how central the notion of lifelong learning for both users and the information workers who serve them is to many current and emergent conceptions of library organizations, including the Hyperlinked Library model and other institutions such as Anythink and Dokk1. I’m a pretty curious person, who loves learning about and talking about new things with folks, and figuring out how to apply them in my life; the pandemic has seen me not just doing my LIS studies, but also picking up the bass guitar, mutual aid work for unhoused neighbors in my neighborhood, and a regular Buddhist meditation practice, with some attendant study. But as I slowly prepare to enter the profession, I’m reflecting on how Dr. Stephens’ lecture for these modules, and his continual reminders throughout our course that a 21st-century library professional needs to both seek out their own learning experiences, as well as advocating for them within their organizations, and I’m left wondering how challenging I may find both of these efforts post- graduation. 

On the personal front, my interests related to librarianship feel somewhat wide, spanning accessibility and trauma-informed service models, participatory services, culturally-competent and equity-centered LIS work (from collection development to cataloging to programming), and digital tech tools (such as 3D printers and special collection interfaces), among others. I’ve actually collected several books across these subjects, but I’ve yet to find the time and space to read them, alongside my coursework. I see intentionally building out such time, as well as potentially even building out a personal/professional learning and development plan as a possible way forward, similar to that which Dr. Stephens suggests library organizations implement at the institutional level in “Learning to Learn”). Such work would include working on a personal mission statement, and possible annual or semiannual learning plan (with specific areas of interest to learn over a given timeframe, such as ASL for libraries) followed by some reflection in the 3-2-1 framework as a possible way to assess where I am at, and where I want to go next. I have also taken some courses that have pointed towards resources on these, so following up on those leads could also be part of this planning. 

While I’m just starting to really envision this, I’m trying to heed Dr. Stephens’ imperative around the need for library professionals to create professional learning networks for themselves, both resources and people/mentors. As my formal MLIS education journey draws to a close, I’m hoping to draw on what I’ve come to understand about my learning style during my SJSU experience to basically develop a practice of self-directed learning that feels like an extension of my LIS education. The goal would be to not just keep learning, but to do so in a sustainable and adaptable way, so I can actually integrate them into my library work in useful ways.

Of the three learner personas Dr. Stephens has highlighted a few times in our readings and lecture for this module, I’ve identified myself as a curious introvert or “curious ad-hoc learner” (Stephens, et al, 2021) — someone who prefers to direct their own learning, at a somewhat slower, more deliberate pace, and to build knowledge via self-reflection than through conversation. Understanding this is helpful, in that it both enables me to consider how to shape my ongoing learning in a way that works for me, while also pointing out a learning edge crucial to my future work: how I can become more vocal around sharing and being in conversation with others about what I am learning. Such sharing is essential to the advocacy for constant, purposeful change within library systems and relationship-building with users that are the basis of the Hyperlinked Library Model. 

Such self-direction seems both essential because it enables organic, flexible learning that can respond to user needs (and librarian interest!), but also because — as noted in some of our readings — not all library organizations place enough or proper value on making sure professional learning experiences are available to their workers. Institutional inertia around change, funding, an inattention to trends on the ground by administrators, and disparities in resources based in organizational hierarchy can present barriers to meaningful learning opportunities for library professionals and frontline staff (Stephens, 2019). As I noted above, I’ve been very fortunate for some of my learning experiences at SJSU, which have also pointed me towards larger conversations in librarianship around some of my critical interests. But I am concerned about how available such transformative learning opportunities will be to me as a library professional, within an organization, and what barriers I may encounter around working to bring change and new ideas growing out of such learning to my prospective organization. 

REFERENCES

Anythink. (n.d.). Anythink Strategic Plan 2012-2014. https://www.anythinklibraries.org/sites/default/files/imce_uploads/2012-2014%20Anythink%20Strategic%20Plan.pdf 

Anythink. (n.d.). Anythink Strategic Plan 2018-2022. https://www.anythinklibraries.org/anythink-strategic-plan-2018-2022 

Anythink. (n.d.). Staff Manifesto. https://www.anythinklibraries.org/sites/default/files/imce_uploads/Anythink_Staff_Manifesto.pdf 

Stephens, M., Partridge, H., Davis, K. & Snyder, M. (2021.

The Strategic, Curious & Skeptical Learner: Australian Public Librarians and Professional Learning Experiences, Public Library Quarterly. 1–16. https://doi.org/10.1080/01616846.2021.1893114

Stephens, M. (2019). “Formula for Success.” Wholehearted librarianship : Finding Hope, Inspiration, and Balance. ALA Editions.

Stephens, M. (2016). “Learning to Learn.” The Heart of Librarianship: Attentive, Positive, and Purposeful change. American Library Association.

Stephens, M. (2021). Modules 11-12: The Hyperlinked Library: Infinite Learning CYOA [Panopto lecture]. In M. Stephens, The Hyperlinked Library. San Jose State University. https://sjsu-ischool.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=373f3414-2885-4d5b-91f5-aaef0122b71b 

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REFLECTION BLOG POST – New Models

There were many compelling elements to our New Models module, but the items that still stick out to me the most are the Anythink Strategic Plans from 2012-2014, and 2018-2022. Anythink’s model is simultaneously focused and purposeful while also open and adaptable, and very user-centered, in line with the Hyperlinked Library model’s commitment to constant, purposeful change created in collaboration with users. The second (“Anythink is an Experience Library”) and fifth strategic initiatives (“Shift Perceptions about Anythink & Libraries”) from the 2012-2014 plan also underline how Anythink is really working to transform its service community’s understanding of what a library visit in-person or online can be — that it can be an experience, as opposed to a transaction — as well as promoting an example of a new form of library where more engaging, connective, user-responsive experiences are the norm throughout the larger library industry and society. Its positive stance on abundance — reflected in the values statement “Optimistic attitude — we believe that anything is possible,” is also a powerful counter to the mindset of scarcity, risk, and fear brought upon by the prevalent pressures of budget cuts and conservative and neoliberal policies/politics reinforcing a more corporate, privatized approach to libraries and other forms of social infrastructure. 

The addition of the statement, “Everyone is creative,” to their shared values statement following this initial strategic plan shows not just a willingness to embrace evolution in its vision, but is also an interesting recognition that while Anythink Libraries may seek to be “the catalyst for innovation in the community” (per its vision statement), it is the creativity of community members that drives that innovation, and that people’s creative capacity exists independently of Anythink. What is needed, as Anythink promotes in its strategic vision, is a mutuality where Anythink and the communities it serves effectively nurture one another, enriching and expanding the possibilities each can offer the other. As this mutual relationship deepens over time and through new collaborations and connections, the boundaries between Anythink and its communities could become increasingly porous.

Beyond this reciprocal, or even embedded vision, I also appreciate that Anythink’s focus is also inward-looking as well, to the people who work in the organization at all levels. For example, the first item on its list of shared values is, “Compassion for our customers, and for each other” (Anythink, Strategic Plan for 2012-2014, n.d.). As noted in our recent CYOA module on Professional Learning Experiences, many library organizations prioritize the learning and service experiences of users over that of its staff (in particularly, non-librarian paraprofessional staff), with the end result being an organization that promotes learning and growth for some, but not all, and disparate senses of fulfillment, stress, and morale at different levels of library organizations. Anythink’s commitment to being a learning organization and cultivating “people development” is intended to be holistic and consistent, meaningful for and encompassing both staff and users. The Anythink Staff Manifesto affirms those working at the library as not just a checklist of competencies or skills, but as people, curious and creative and excited to open doors not just for others, but for themselves as well. Again, this is a vision where distinctions between organization and community are meant to be dissolved, so that the value and benefits Anythink enables to emerge are shared by all, with everyone seen as a user, a patron, someone worthy of service and support in a quest for lifelong learning, creation, and sharing. I’m eagerly looking forward to finding ways to promote such a vision in whatever system I may join once I begin my own professional journey.

REFERENCES

Anythink. (n.d.). Anythink Strategic Plan 2012-2014. https://www.anythinklibraries.org/sites/default/files/imce_uploads/2012-2014%20Anythink%20Strategic%20Plan.pdf 

Anythink. (n.d.). Anythink Strategic Plan 2018-2022. https://www.anythinklibraries.org/anythink-strategic-plan-2018-2022 

Anythink. (n.d.). Staff Manifesto. https://www.anythinklibraries.org/sites/default/files/imce_uploads/Anythink_Staff_Manifesto.pdf 

Posted in Reflection Post | 3 Comments

REFLECTION BLOG POST #3: On Hyperlinked Environments

This module on Hyperlinked Environments offered me several points for reflection. Following along with the Choose Your Own Adventure model, I decided to focus on three different topic areas that capture my interests as a current MLIS student, and future librarian: The Hyperlinked Public Library; Hyperlinked Museums, Galleries, and Archives; and Libraries & COVID-19. I examined these with an eye for how to center issues of equity and deepen participatory service and design, both major goals of mine in considering my future library work.

 In the Hyperlinked  Library sphere, the Four Spaces model both discussed by Laerkes and also detailed on the Agency for Culture and Palaces’ Model Programme website underlines a thread I’ve seen across our readings, which is that while the Hyperlinked Library model is based in a commitment to constant change that nurtures user participation in designing, evaluating, and refining changes, that there is still a need for change to be built on a foundation, a framework that helps ensure that whatever new service is being created, it stays aligned with the mission and goals of user service. Whether or not a library adopts the Four Spaces model or something else to guide its planning, implementation, and evaluation work, keeping the change purposeful requires some level of structure to base these three activities around. This type of (re)visioning is distinct from rebranding — which deals superficially with the image/common perception of the library — in that it is much more substantive in user engagement, and is meant to develop a plan that is both focused and adaptable. In the end, the goal is not a new marketing campaign (alone), but a significant change in user service or experience. (Dr. Stephens’ strong assertion that librarians create mission statements for all their services and programs — existing and emerging — also underlines this understanding that hyperlinked environments can be both driven by an openness to adaptability and a grounding in answering the fundamental question: is this service creating a valuable experience for users? 

That ability to hold both a flexibility and strategic mindset is something I think is essential to building more equitable services, since it enables change to serve a growing diversity of users. It also can enable change to ensure existing users are being served equitably as well. I was struck by Dr. Stephens’ description of Dokk1’s approach to maintaining order in the library space in “Dream Explore Experiment,” based in eliminating restrictive library policies and reintroducing some back as necessary (Stephens, 2019). This reflects an understanding that conventional patron policies far too often replicate other social institutions’ punitive or carceral approach, and that to be more inclusive and welcoming spaces, libraries need to reject this approach. As an aspiring librarian of color who wants to center equity in my work, this is essential to me. My home system, Seattle Public Library, has well-documented how the consequences for “disruptive behavior” in the library by some users are disparate across Black and white youth. While there have been some attempts to address this through diversity trainings and the like, I believe the eliminating restrictions approach would be much more transformative. There obviously need to be some uncrossable lines (such violence against staff or other users), but many library restrictions seem to take up valuable time, and work against cultivating a welcoming environment.

In terms of Libraries and COVID, Rainie’s Pew Report from 2014 offers up a lot of useful facts, but I’m really interested to see a significant report on how the pandemic may have affected folks’ use and perception of libraries. Fact 5 cites 80% of Americans responding that no-cost access to books and media was the most important service that libraries provide. It’s likely that number has gone up, and depending on a given system’s existing offerings and how it has pivoted to meet them during COVID, that some other services — some of them virtual events-related experiences — may have been made more visible on users’ radar. But I’m likewise curious to see an overview of how libraries have come to more deeply understand or consider the needs of their communities because of COVID, and how needs and wants may shift due to folks’ experiences with more digital resources, such as e-books. As noted in Wilburn (2020), the pandemic may be creating some shifts around collection development/acquisition, with collection developers/managers needing to reassess even their well-researched analyses of their communities, and considering previously less prominent genres for acquisition in digital form. This can be exciting — seeing our communities’ needs shift so quickly in real time — but is likely also creating new challenges around how to resource such needs with the existing pricing structure for e-books and other online materials, significantly higher or more restrictive than acquiring print materials. 

Also, some systems have worked to maintain services helpful to houseless/unsheltered patrons, such as reopening some branch restrooms before the library collections space, and providing Wifi via hotspots, parking lot access, or even routers at encampments. But will this focus persist, as physical library spaces reopen? Will we learn the lessons the pandemic provided us, around drawing on creativity and adaptability to continue connecting with and serving not just current users, but potential users? 

Finally, the readings on archives really elevated the work I’d like to be doing as part of my public librarian role: supporting community engagement with and even creation of archival collections. Two fundamental principles in the archival profession exist in somewhat conflict: providing access as openly as possible to current users, while also ensuring that materials are preserved for future users. Archival practice is based in attempting to balance these two principles — which sometimes means adopting a gatekeeping, authoritative stance. Our readings — particularly Baicco (2016), Beck (2016), Becerra-Licha (2017) — describe the emerging shift away from this stance, towards one based in a “participatory archives” or “liberated archive” model, where users/community members are not only allowed much more open access to materials, they are even invited into the collection building process, provided ways to enhance such collections, and granted some measure of control over how materials are presented to and accessed by others. I believe such approaches are critical, not just to ensure that our histories are more rich, complex, and honest, but also that it reinforces the idea that information professionals should facilitate the building and ongoing enhancement of information collections — including archival collections — through participatory practice. Our universe of knowledge isn’t just contained in the library’s or archives’ physical or digital collections, but throughout our communities. As noted in the facilitation principles of the Anti-Oppression Training and Resource Alliance (aka AORTA): “No one knows everything. Together we know a lot.” (AORTA, 2017)

REFERENCES

AORTA. (2017). Anti-Oppressive Facilitation for Democratic Process.

Baiocco, L. (2016). Labor or Love: Opening Up Archival Gems for Community Engagement.

Becerra-Licha, S. (2017). Archives as Community Practice

Beck, K. (2016). Participatory Archiving in Caribe Sur

Laerkes, J.G. (2016). The four spaces of the public library.

Rainie, L. (2014). 10 Facts about Americans and public libraries.

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

The Agency for Culture and Palaces. (n.d.). Model programme for public libraries.

Wilburn, T. (2020). Libraries Are Dealing With New Demand For Books And Services During The Pandemic

Posted in Reflection Post | 4 Comments

REFLECTION BLOG POST #2: On Participatory Services and Transparency

As an aspiring librarian deeply interested in centering equity and inclusion in my future work, the Hyperlinked Library model’s tenets of participatory service and transparency provide me with an innovative framework to ground my efforts. Both of these principles are about centering current users, and expanding their participation in library services, planning, and governance at an authentic, substantive level. But even further, the HL model’s vision of participatory service seeks to grow the user community through ongoing outreach, charging librarians to continually consider who isn’t being served by the library, and who isn’t at the table when decisions around services and programs are being made. It also challenges us to move past assumptions about what our communities want to truly collaborate with community members on building a dynamic, adaptable space where all can feel welcome, make connections, and enrich their lives. This positive orientation towards creative and disruptive change and willingness to cede control and power, towards a more mutual and collective vision of power, is precisely the transformation I seek to support in my future role as a public librarian. 

Like Schneider and Kenney (and I’m certain, many others), I reject the idea that the user or community member is broken, and instead believe that it is our systems and practices that need to be considered broken until we prove them otherwise (Kenney, 2014; Schneider, 2006).* I see this not as pessimism, but based in a restless and critical optimism, one synonymous with a refusal to be satisfied with what is, and in line with the focus on constant, purposeful change within the HL model. This critical optimism promotes an ongoing, positive mindset that can drive us to always be open to new ideas to better meet users where they are, instead of allowing complacency and a conservative, risk-averse mentality to guide our work as library professionals. Schneider and Kenney’s critiques call for meeting people where they are, vs. giving them what they think they need, and for us to transform our institutional practices and models of change that maintain institutional power, towards more flattened, horizontal, mutually beneficial relationships between library staff/professionals and community. This can only happen when we open up our work so community members/users can more actively determine the trajectory of our libraries with us. 

The DIY History project cited in our lecture (Stephens, 2021) is a prime example of the type of work I want to be doing; it not only helps enhance a history collection, but it does so through recognizing the depth and breadth of community knowledge as a resource. It also validates and reflects a respect for different forms of knowledge and the many forms through which knowledge can be embodied. This project creates a multidirectional information exchange, where librarians can learn from community, as opposed to the commonly held understanding of librarians as gatekeepers to all the knowledge that is worth knowing. I also found the YOUMedia model exciting, and was surprised to learn that my library system — Seattle Public Library, a fairly well-respected system — does not have a YOUMedia space, and is not part of the Learning Labs Network. This feels like a missed opportunity, I personally would be interested in promoting and exploring alongside a few other folks I know that work for the system in youth/teen services in my possible future work in this system (fingers crossed!). I have volunteered in the past for an all-ages arts organization here in Seattle, which could easily be a partner in this.

Over my time at SJSU, I’ve learned about projects such as this in the context of the Hyperlinked Library, but also through a class of Archives and Manuscripts. The archival profession has  been wrestling with questions around bias and a lack of cultural competency in its prevailing practices, with an emerging call for more inclusive collection-building and maintenance practices and models. These include inclusive description (where communities are provided opportunities to collaborate on how materials documenting their community’s culture and history are cataloged alongside archivists); community transcription of historical objects, such as letters or photo content; and the creation of folksonomies, user-generated tags and subject headings, which have already made their way into many library systems’ online catalogs. A particularly intriguing development includes culturally-responsive/attentive platforms such as the Mukurtu CMS. This content management system — developed by Dr. Kim Christen and Craig Diestrich in collaboration with the Warumungu aboriginal community based in Northern Australia — actually allow marginalized communities to determine the protocols for access and sharing of information related to their cultural heritage. All of these reflect a commitment to authentically involve community members in shaping the shared knowledge and heritage content available in their community, including enabling a more transparent process through which these materials are organized and presented. This is participatory service at its best, with users being involved in the ongoing development of materials reflecting their community’s history, and creating value that library professionals who may lack specific cultural knowledge simply cannot create themselves.

Fundamentally, participatory service and transparency are based in the recognition that libraries — and librarians — do not exist outside of, but are part of a community, and that the value of libraries is determined not by their materials or their facilities, but the possibilities they enable for community to emerge, connect, grow, and thrive together. That way, we not not only all share in the gifts of what Stephens (2016) calls the “informational commons,” but we all work together to preserve and sustain its potential to, in the words of former ALA president Loida Garcia-Febo, “expand minds and open futures” (Garcia-Febo, 2018).

* NOTE: I believe this to be true at a wider societal level in many different areas beyond librarianship, but I’ll stay focused on our more immediate topic of libraries. This is, however, a pretty useful critique around rooting discussions of inequity and social problems in systems, over individuals.

REFERENCES

Garcia-Febo, L. (2018, Nov 1). Serving with love: embedding equality, diversity, and inclusion in all that we do. American Libraries. https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2018/11/01/serving-with-love/ 

Kenney, B. (2014, Jan 27). The User is (Still) Not Broken. Publishers Weekly. https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/libraries/article/60780-the-user-is-still-not-broken.html 

Schneider, K, (2006, June 3). The User is Not Broken. Free Range Librarian. http://freerangelibrarian.com/2006/06/03/the-user-is-not-broken-a-meme-masquerading-as-a-manifesto/ 

Stephens, M. T. (2016). The heart of librarianship : attentive, positive, and purposeful change . ALA Editions, an imprint of the American Library Association.

Stephens, M. (2021). Module 4: The Hyperlinked Library: Participatory Service and Transparency [Panopto lecture]. In M. Stephens, The Hyperlinked Library. San Jose State University. https://sjsu-ischool.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=35b4e981-cd58-479a-96d3-aab3011b0f24 

Posted in Hyperlinked Library Model, Reflection Post | 5 Comments

CONTEXT BOOK REVIEW – Eric Klinenberg’s Palaces for the People

In Palaces for the People, Eric Klinenberg argues forcefully that the creation and cultivation of social infrastructure is essential to building and sustaining vibrant, resilient, inclusive, human communities. Drawing both from history as well as more contemporary sociological studies, he situates libraries — alongside civic associations, unions, green architecture, and mixed-income neighborhoods — as part of a social system that nurtures community connection and interaction. These structures and institutions enable community members to come together in diverse configurations and relationships, to learn from and with each other, and to support the flourishing of themselves and their communities. They can include not just associations or groups, but the built environment and physical spaces in which community members interact in public. Klinenberg’s call is for our society to renew and expand our commitment to such spaces, towards preserving the notion of the commons, and an ethic of mutuality, equity, and democracy, which he sees as crucial to meeting the challenges of our time. It is through social infrastructure that these values and principles can be realized in the everyday lives of communities. 

Although presenting several different examples of social infrastructure throughout Palaces…, Klinenberg devotes a large measure of attention on libraries. Through discussion of different library branches — most pointedly the Seward Park Branch of the New York Public Library — he counters the narrative of libraries as book repositories, pointing towards several examples of  how library organizations can serve their communities independent of print, or even digital materials: as social gaming space for elders participating in a cross-borough virtual bowling league; as an emergency response center following natural disasters; as a space for first-time parents or youth to connect and learn from one another; or just as a safe place for houseless folks to spend their day. The free and open nature of libraries, he notes, makes them truly accessible “third spaces,” distinguishing them from other spaces labeled as such, like cafes, which are still governed by the dictates of commerce, requiring payment for the privilege of using the space. 

This anti-commercial mission of libraries is what makes them both sites of such possibility, but also explains perspectives of those who see them as being on the wane. Klinenberg delves into this by asking and answering a critical question:

Why have so many public officials and civic leaders failed to recognize the value of libraries and their role in our social infrastructure? Perhaps it is because the founding principle behind the library — that all people deserve free, open access to our shared culture and heritage, which they can use to any end they see fit — is out of sync with the market logic that dominates our time. (If, today, the library didn’t already exist, it’s hard to imagine our society’s leaders inventing it.) (emphasis added)

It is precisely this founding principle, this mission that makes libraries such a valuable contributor to a community’s social infrastructure — because it is focused on providing access to information and content to anyone, regardless of their socioeconomic status, level of education, ability status, or any of a number of other dimensions of identity. Librarians need to center this openness and ongoing collaboration with a diversity of potential users through developing community-responsive services and programs, towards helping to build and realize community. They should work to make their library “a space of permission,” in the words of Sharon Marcus, who Klinenberg features in a narrative about her childhood experiences with libraries. 

While acknowledging the connective potential of digital technologies (particularly for youth, whose lives are increasingly regulated and surveilled in the offline, physical world, and who have been increasingly seeking some level of autonomy online), Klinenberg asserts that much of the value of social infrastructure emerges from its capacity to bring a diverse range of people together in physical space. Libraries, as physical spaces open to all and focused on serving just such a diversity of users, can thus be crucial contributors to the social infrastructure of the communities they serve. In fact, in a world where social interactions are increasingly shaped by algorithms and filters intent on keeping most people in a state of outrage and disconnection from those different from them in identity and perspective, libraries remain a fairly unique space in terms of their potential for enabling of heterogeneous, cross-cultural and intergenerational exchanges. Klinenberg argues that even in physical space, social distance and segregation lead to polarization and disconnection, while contact and conversation help humanize and expand community. Libraries can be fluid, dynamic physical spaces that help anchor social gatherings, and thus, enable social cohesion and solidarity to flourish.

To continue performing the valuable role they do, Klinenberg believes that libraries and librarians need to respond and transform themselves, to ensure they stay relevant and responsive to the communities they serve. He presents the example of floating libraries, which have emerged in Bangladesh in response to increasing floods generated by climate change, as a creative approach to maintaining and even possibly expanding access. Such grassroots, hyperlocal innovations show how library service need not be defined by major funding, and  inspire librarians in countries and communities with significantly more resources to explore new ways of facilitating use, sharing, and creation of content by their users. 

Although speaking of social infrastructure in general, Klinenberg ends his book with a few crucial imperatives, which I think are very much aligned with the Hyperlinked Model and future of libraries. First, he underlines his primary point, which is that social infrastructure needs to be understood as an essential component to the wellbeing of communities alongside physical (or increasingly tech) infrastructure, and that we need to carefully consider how and what we build of it, since our values are expressed in such constructions, and define what future we want to create. In the context of libraries, this can be taken to mean both spaces and services need to be purposefully developed and designed and even redesigned, in line with what users are seeking to meet their needs, and that library workers should be advocates and collaborators with others within their community focused on enhancing the overall welfare of their communities. In addition, he argues that such design cannot be the work of political officials or experts, but need to be inclusive, democratic, and participatory, “harnessing all kinds of collective intelligence.” This resonates with the notion of participatory design and services that are fundamental to the Hyperlinked Library model, and should be adopted by any library system desiring to remain relevant and responsive to its users (and potential users). Finally, while arguing for the importance of innovation, creativity, and possibly even technology in designing social infrastructure, Klinenberg maintains that social connection and interaction — nurturing humanity — must remain central to the outcome; libraries need to maintain a similar stance, keeping people, not materials, as the center of their work.

CONCLUSION: PANDEMIC REFLECTIONS

While I found Klinenberg’s Palaces of the People a compelling case for investment in social infrastructure, I’m left with many questions about how much the COVID pandemic may have shifted or even damaged some of its capacity, in our country, and elsewhere. This public health crisis, which has specifically complicated the ability of folks to interact physically, has caused many institutions and communities to pivot towards more digital means of interaction, and access of information. What Klinenberg might make of these recently emergent forms of connection is not entirely clear, and possibly speaks to how challenging it can sometimes be for libraries — as one part of social infrastructure — to address issues caused by the failure of another — our mixed for-profit and non-profit health care system here in the U.S. libraries. 

The library system in the city I call home, Seattle, already had a fairly robust range of digital resources and platforms available to users, and expanded into programs such as virtual story hours, author events, and other online meetups. (SPL eventually moved to curbside service, and — after several months of limited hours — reopening with masks and other protocols in place.) However, I wonder about other, particularly smaller or less-resourced systems, which may not have been able to adjust as easily to the demands of the pandemic. As long as they keep their focus on connecting users to materials and each other by whatever means they have available, however, libraries will continue providing a valuable service to their communities.  

REFERENCES

Klinenberg, E. (2018). Palaces for the people : how social infrastructure can help fight inequality, polarization, and the decline of civic life . Crown.

Posted in Book Review, Hyperlinked Library Model | 2 Comments

REFLECTION BLOG POST #1 – THE HYPERLINKED LIBRARY MODEL

Our readings on the Hyperlinked Model* were (and are) helpful for me as a callback to my professional aspirations at a time when many folks who know I’m reaching the downslope towards my degree have been asking me what kind of librarian I want to be, and what type of work I want to do. The practices, preoccupations, and possibilities embodied in the Hyperlinked Library model directly speak to several of the reasons I decided to pursue a path in librarianship, and provide me with a clear vision of how I wish to approach my future work, the values I’m seeking to promote through it, and the impact I hope to have in my community.

My intention in becoming an information professional is to not just facilitate others’ learning, their use of knowledge and information, but to also their participation in the creation of and sharing of new knowledge, ideas, and perspectives. This intention emerges from a few different sources, directly related to my experiences and participation in social change movements and creative cultural (sub)communities for a few decades as a Black person, an independent musician, a community activist, a zinemaker/blogger, and a lover of learning. The HL model aligns with this intention in a few ways which I’ll note below.  

Participatory Practices Nurture Creativity and Inclusion

The Hyperlinked Library model’s focus on creating participatory services and programs in collaboration with and centered around the needs and interests of users makes it a valuable framework for creating social change through enabling information and creative equity. Its proactive engagement and openness to forms of knowledge beyond the book, periodical, or other traditional text-based materials (Booth, 2013) is not just important to me as a musician and cultural activist with a history of producing “alternative” literature in the form of zines, it also fosters the inclusion of expressions of non-text-based cultural knowledge from marginalized communities and perspectives which have not previously been deemed not worthy of collection by traditional library institutions. I believe participatory cultural practices are essential in nurturing human creativity and ensuring everyday/marginalized voices are included in cultural conversations. 

Also, a key element of both Library 2.0 (Casey and Savastinuk, 2007) and the Hyperlinked Library model is that change efforts should be inclusive of not just existing users, but non-users/potential users as well. This intentional engagement with community members outside of the library’s doors makes space for a diversity of experiences, perspectives, learning and creating styles, and different types of expression all to be considered in service and program design, and resources to be offered.

Centering People, Not Technologies

As social institutions, libraries have served a critical role in promoting equity of access to information for all, regardless of lived experience or socioeconomic status. The HL model goes beyond simply working to make access as open as possible, prioritizing services, programs, tools, and even physical spaces that connect people, and provide them opportunities to learn and create in collaborative ways. While interested in the possibilities that digital technologies and resources offer around information access and use for library users (I’m actually taking INFO 240 on Information Technology Tools and Applications this semester as well), I particularly appreciate that the HL model — for all its attention to the prospects of new information technologies — is fundamentally people-centered, with all change efforts focused on whatever works to expand everyday folks’ capacity to learn, create, and build community and to foster greater, more deep human interaction, collaboration, and inspiration, as opposed to further disconnection and isolation (Searls & Weinberger, 2015). As Searls and Weinberger (2015) assert, “The Net’s super-power is connection without permission,” and libraries should embrace and enable uses of digital technologies and online platforms that bring people together.

The emphasis of remaining people- and user-centered in the HL model and Library 2.0 is, to me, an essential corrective to what is otherwise an elevation of technology and innovation as the solution to library organizations’ challenges. It grounds change in values of human connection, creativity, and dignity, and as opposed to those of efficiency and cost-effectiveness — which serve the interests of profit and commerce more than people. I was glad to see Mattern (2014) address this point directly, arguing that “innovation” as a principle should always be defined and embraced in the context of the values, ethics, and missions of libraries. Both Library 2.0 and the HL model are explicitly against a one-size-fits-all approach to innovating services and programs — including tech-based approaches — and more about developing a mindset and orientation that centers constant change and user participation (Casey & Savastinuk, 2007). 

Evolution, Not Revolution

Dr. Stephens is fond of saying, “The Web changed everything,” and I’m inclined to agree with him. But what I find both fascinating and comforting about Library 2.0 and the Hyperlinked Library model is that they provide a disruptive orientation towards librarianship that is still very much grounded in the historical mission and purpose of libraries. The focus on a constant, purposeful, positive adaptation to change” (Stephens, 2021) specifically reminded me of the last of S. R. Ranganathan’s 5 Laws of Library Science, proposed 90 years ago: The library is a growing organism. This optimistic and intentional approach to potentially disruptive change is perhaps the most visible alignment of the 5 Laws with the HL model, but all the other principles — which express the centering of information users’ demands and needs — are there as well.   

Disruptive Models of Practice and Knowledge Creation

A particular focus of mine coming into library science school was to develop new, potentially disruptive models that could make research and information seeking more accessible to everyday folks — not just scholars or enrolled students — to cultivate learning, research, and scholarship outside of traditional educational institutions. As a zinester and blogger who has written about topics ranging from music to political commentary/analysis, I believe in supporting everyday folks doing just such content creation. I am particularly interested in empowering community members to do research towards leveraging information on behalf of transformative social change in their communities. This requires (re)considering existing reference service models, interactive instructional trainings and tools around databases and other information sources, creating user-friendly information retrieval interfaces, and other issues — all very in line with the HL model. I’m also interested in community-generated history, in the form of community archives and zine collections/libraries. There is an emergent understanding — alongside Library 2.0 — around both of these for collection, cataloging, and access practices that are more participatory in nature, and more open-access oriented. The HL model provides a useful guide towards developing such new approaches.

Libraries as Community Hubs

The growing movement to remake libraries into community hubs that can enable a wide range of experiences as well as provide a wide range of resources is also pretty important to me. Their example as a shared public commons is critical in a time of increasing privatization of all kinds of public or previously more openly accessible services — education, health care, even natural resources and physical space itself. I’m dedicated to maintaining and expanding the capacity for libraries to enrich people from all different experiences’ lives, with as few barriers as possible, and to make deep contributions of positive change in their communities. I believe the Hyperlinked Library model is already pointing the way for libraries, librarians, and communities to create such deeper relationship and connection, making a more human and humane future possible in the now. 

*NOTE: I actually find it difficult to consider the Hyperlinked Library model separately from our Foundational Readings, particularly Casey and Savastinuk’s Library 2.0. This is because the fundamental principles expressed in the Library 2.0 framework — a commitment to constant, purposeful change focused on user demand and need and user participation in development of the services, programs, and resources to meet those demands and needs — are central to Hyperlinked Library ideas and practices. 

REFERENCES

Booth, M. (2013). People and UTS Library. https://287.hyperlib.sjsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Booth_PeopleUTSLibrary.pdf 

Casey, M. & Savastinuk, L. (2007). Library 2.0: A Guide to Participatory Library Service, Information Today Press, 2007. http://books.infotoday.com/books/Library20.shtml 

Five Laws of Library Science. (2021, August 30). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_laws_of_library_science

Mattern, S. (2014). Library as Infrastructure. Places (Cambridge, Mass.), 2014. https://doi.org/10.22269/140609 

Searls, D. & Weinberger, D. (2015). New Clues. Cluetrain. https://www.cluetrain.com/newclues/ 

Stephens, M. (2021). Module 3: The Hyperlinked Library Model: Exploring the Model [Panopto lecture]. In M. Stephens, The Hyperlinked Library. San Jose State University. https://sjsu-ischool.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=a0569381-4d66-4e0a-a7fa-aab3010a8f3e 

Posted in Hyperlinked Library Model, Reflection Post | 2 Comments

OH, HELLO THERE!

Hello folks!

My name is Marc, and I live in unceded Duwamish territory, sometimes referred to as Seattle. I started in the SJSU MLIS program in Fall 2019, and am planning to finish in Fall 2022; I’ve got a few more electives, my Research Methods required class (taking in the Spring), and the e-Portfolio (next Fall).

I first encountered Dr. Stephens’ concept of the hyperlinked library in my Information Communities class, and found its emphasis on ensuring libraries stay human- and user-centered community spaces even as new technologies and new user practices emerge really compelling. As an aspiring public librarian who is really committed to the notion of libraries as community hubs which enable users of different identities and needs to use, create, and share the resources they are seeking to grow and thrive, I am really interested in how libraries can change and adapt to better serve their communities through different technologies and new access models, while also ensuring the human experience stays central to our work. As a person of color, entering a field where there is little representation and sometimes shaky work around racial equity, I hold questions of social inequity and how they are either replicated or disrupted in libraries as institutions pretty central to my future work. 

Having grown up in the Do It Yourself/grassroots creative subcultural communities of indie music and zines and community activism, I’m also interested in nurturing non-traditional creative cultural communities, and participatory/collaborative practices. Coming out of school, I’d like to work somewhere in the intersection of public librarianship, community archival collection, and creative cultural programming both within and outside library systems, to support transformative social change. 

I’m looking forward to learning from and with you all. Thanks!

Posted in Introduction! | 5 Comments