Reflections on Mobile Devices & Connections

Woman looking at tablet screen

This module made me think of this meme I saw a couple of years ago, especially on the Second Screen Sharing phenomenon (Stephens, 2019).  During the 2016 election, I remember scrolling through Facebook and texting friends while I watched results come in on my laptop.

The “other, smaller internet” is where people, especially students, are watching videos, checking social networks, and using instant messaging (Deloitte, 2016).  Additionally, younger adults, non-white, less-educated, and less-afluent individuals use mobile devices as their primary source for accesssing the internet (Stephens, 2015, p. 4).  People are walking around with these gadgets that allow them access to a world of information, and they want to find the information they’re seeking on their cellphones, through apps, messaging, or the web.  “Library collections need to be where the users are exploring” (Stephens, 2015, p. 5), and the users are exploring on their mobile devices, as demonstrated on the infographic below.

Whenever I am digesting loads of information about how libraries need to change, I appreciate specific questions that lead me to think about concrete, specific solutions.  Stephens (2015) offers a starting point in terms of bringing library services to users via mobile devices: how many of your processes require people to visit your location?  How many could be accomplished via the web or mobile technology? (p. 4).

To start, making the library mobile-friendly: can a user search for materials using the library’s website or an app?  Can the user experience be improved? Next, making access easy. Weinberger (2014) suggests that libraries need to make library resources more accessible for users through the development of APIs, linked data, and a “library graph”.  To be honest, I don’t really understand the Google Knowledge Graph that he talks about or how this stuff works. I know a bit about APIs having done some web design and coding using JSON and JavaScript. But I need to dive deeper to learn a little more about these other tools and how users want to find and use information.  And this deep-diving is necessary, if librarians are to deliver “easy-to-use, unique, and just-in-time services to the palm of a user’s hand” (Stephens, 2015, p. 8).

References

Deloitte (2016).How do today’s students use mobiles? [UK Study].

Stephens, M. (2015).Serving users when and where they are: Hyperlinked libraries.

Stephens, M. (2019). Mobile Devices & Connections [Lecture]

Weinberger, D. (2014). Let the Future Go.

Planning Assignment

References

Casey, M., &  Stephens, M. (2008). Measuring progress

IFLA. (n.d.) Riding the waves or caught in the tide? Navigating the evolving information

environment. Insights from the IFLA Trend Report. Retrieved from https://trends.ifla.org/insights-document

Meinzer, K. (2109). So You Want to Start a Podcast

Multnomah County. (n.d.) Framework for future library spaces. Retrieved from https://multcolib.org/sites/default/files/Multnomah_County_Library_space_planning_framework_FINAL.pdf

Multnomah County Library. (n.d.) Launch your own podcast today [Web page]. Retrieved from https://multcolib.org/events/launch-your-own-podcast-today

Multnomah County Library. (n.d.) Priorities 2019-2021 [Web page]. Retrieved from https://multcolib.org/about/priorities

Stephens, M. (2019a). Hyperlinked library model [Lecture]. Retrieved from https://sjsu-ischool.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=a0569381-4d66-4e0a-a7fa-aab3010a8f3e

Stephens, M. (2019b). Planning for participatory services [Lecture]. Retrieved from https://sjsu-ischool.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=0f55e5f3-e6dc-411b-9e8c-aad6011842c1

Reflection on Hyperlinked Environments

In an earlier post, I discussed John Palfrey’s book In BiblioTECH: Why Libraries Matter More in the Age of Google. To be honest, I found that he seemed to focus more on library collections and how to digitize them than on how libraries themselves are changing in terms of the services they provide. Perhaps it’s because he wrote his book almost five years ago, but there are so many more exciting things happening in libraries than just digitizing collections. The Hyperlinked Environments module shows how flexible and adaptable libraries can be to stay relevant to users in the 21st century. Palfrey advises libraries not to become “just community centers” (2015, p. 80); he advocates for libraries sticking to what they do, just changing how they do it. 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

However, libraries such as DOKK1 in Aarhus, Denmark and Oodi in Helsinki, Finland, among others, are proving that libraries can exist as a user-centered, hyperlinked environment, where there is overlap between traditional services libraries provide (“books”) and what services have been traditionally offered by “community centers”.  Laerkes (2016) described “the transformation of the public library from a passive collection based space to a more active space for experience and inspiration and a local meeting point.” 

Depending on the needs of the community they serve, libraries are community centers.  The new Calgary Central Library, as I shared in my previous post, offers a dance class open to the public. Helsinki Central Library Oodi describes itself on its website as a “living meeting place” (What Is Oodi?);  there’s no mention of books in its description, though they are certainly still there. Users can study, try new technology, create music, art, check out sports equipment,  organize a performance: really, the possibilities seem endless

There is no reason to limit the services that the library provides.  Indeed, I would argue that libraries should have no boundaries when it comes to meeting the needs of their communities.  Palfrey addresses library collections and how to better meet the needs of the community in terms of access to materials, but libraries such as DOKK1 and Oodi are now focused less on collections and more on users by providing them opportunities to do things, rather than just find things.

In the library, there is the freedom to create, to learn, to explore, to try something new with support from librarians and with little or no cost to the user.  And this is what makes a library a library and not “just a community center”.

References

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

Palfrey, J. (2015). Bibliotech: Why libraries matter more than ever in the age of Google. New York, NY: Basic Books

What Is Oodi?

Reflections on Participatory Service and Hyperlinked Communities

I want to address both Participatory Service and Hyperlinked Communities in this post because I feel like both of these modules really expanded my perceptions of what a 21st century library should be.

Before completing the readings for this module, I understood the value in creating spaces for all of our users and for finding ways to delight them.  What was new to me, however, was the emphasis on engaging users to create these spaces and programs in the first place. As Casey (2011) argues, “getting [people] to participate, at any level, will go a long way towards gaining their buy-in” (Casey, 2011).  Getting people to participate means that we need to bring together a diverse group that represents the community in terms of socio-economic status, including gender, ethnicity, language, and age. Stephens (2013) points out that inviting users to contribute their ideas and voices can lead to new programming or services or spaces that might otherwise be overlooked.  Chant (2016) echos Stephens (2013): “We as librarians know what we want and what we can offer. But when we go into the community to find out what they want, we end up with a much better space.”

Technology

Garcia-Febo (2018) asserts that libraries need to “incorporate the principles of diversity, inclusion, and intersectionality” throughout their services and Lauersen (2018) explains that diversity is having people of different backgrounds and abilities at the table and inclusion is having this diverse group add their voices and perspectives and make decisions at that table.  You can’t just ask for community members to come to a meeting so you can check off that diversity box; if you want to be inclusive, then those diverse voices need to be heard and part of the planning and decision-making. Inclusion will improve the library’s services.

I found Dana Boyd’s (2016) post about technology and inequity to be especially engaging.  Her discussion about social media, the digital divide, and statistical prejudice explored a new (to me), technical side to the creation of the information bubbles that we live in, how the tools and data that we use and create every day “are empowering to the privileged at the expense of those who are not” (Boyd, 2016, “The World We’re Creating”).

Technology is a tool that is necessary to participate in our democracy, to be interactive, to manage daily life, and to be social.  There is a digital divide in many communities that libraries can address by offering access to and instruction in technology to those who are inexperienced users (for whatever reasons).  Additionally, libraries can bring in emerging technology for digital natives, who want to do more, who can do more but don’t know what else is out there, and who want to create and connect with other people.

Weaved through both of these two modules was the discussion of trust.  I found Schmidt’s (2013) words to be especially relevant: “Without trust, it is impossible to connect to library members in a meaningful way.”  So, what does this mean in practice? What role does trust play in libraries? For a start, it means setting guidelines rather than rules and trusting your users to follow those guidelines (Casey & Stephens, 2008).  It also means bringing users into the discussion of how to create services, spaces, and programs that improve their lives and trusting that they know what they need. Librarians can empower these users asking the kind of questions that will “help your library learn about the lives of the people it serves” (Schmidt, 2016).  By inviting them in, listening to their suggestions, and following through with what we learn and addressing their needs, we foster the users’ trust in the library.

Libraries should use both/and instead of either/or when it comes to serving their communities.  A hyperlinked community can be both low-tech and high-tech, it doesn’t have to choose. And libraries are the place to make these connections happen.

References

Boyd, D. (2016). What World Are We Building?

Casey, M. (2011). Revisiting participatory service in trying times.

Casey, M., & Stephens, M. (2008). Embracing Services to Teens

Chant, I. (2016). User-Designed Libraries – Design4Impact.

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

Lauersen, C. (2018). Do you want to dance? Inclusion and belonging in libraries and beyond.

Schmidt, A. (2013). Earning trust. The User Experience

Schmidt, A. (2016). Asking the Right Questions.

Stephens, M. (2013). Collection Bashing & Trashing. In The Heart of Librarianship, page 99.

BiblioTECH: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google

In BiblioTECH, Palfrey discusses the role libraries can play in the twenty-first century, where many of us in the first world carry smartphones and are using Siri and Alexa to find information.  From the title, I thought that the book would be an argument for why libraries are better than search engines, why librarians are the navigation and retrieval experts in a world overwhelmed with information, and why we should support libraries and librarians.  Those points are briefly mentioned throughout the book as assumptions, but his ideas are intended for an audience of library managers and librarians rather than the general public. Palfrey’s book is written as a wake-up call to librarians that the world is going to move on without them unless they evolve and create new kinds of libraries to serve modern users.

People concentrating on phones
Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:People_concentrating_on_phones.jpg

Denning (2015) concludes that “there is a need to rethink what services are possible with the new technology, as well as what is no longer needed.”  Palfrey and Denning are talking about the Library 2.0 model (Casey & Savastinuk, 2007), which “seeks to improve services to current library users while also reaching out to potential library users” (p. 5).  While Denning (2015) and Casey and Savastinuk (2007) redirect the library’s focus to the users, Palfrey turns his attention to the specific institutional challenges libraries face.

Palfrey writes that “the classic public library is long overdue for an update” (p. 3) and that people now have more choices in the information economy to choose from, and the library needs to adapt to stay relevant.  The author discusses the challenges libraries face as we transition from an analog world to a digital one. He proposes ten steps to a path forward for libraries and librarians (pp. 226-229):

  1. Recast libraries as platforms
  2. Libraries must network with other institutions
  3. Libraries must align with their community’s values
  4. Libraries must account for physical spaces (the “third space”) and analog formats
  5. Libraries should only do what needs to be done and create services based on public interest
  6. Librarians should seek common ground with authors, agents, editors, and publishers
  7. Some library spaces should function like labs and encourage co-production and innovation
  8. Librarians should adopt “hacker culture” to create a shared, open digital infrastructure
  9. Preservation needs to be more collaborative
  10. We need to pay for libraries to transition to this digital future

His last step seems to be the only one really directed to the general public.  He argues that libraries need serious investment from the government and donations from philanthropists like those of the early twentieth century to help libraries carry out these steps.

A former Harvard Law Library director, Palfrey brings his experience managing the largest academic law library to his discussion of the issues of digitization and access, copyright laws, and privacy.  He explores the advantages and challenges to digitization of materials and how copyright laws and privacy are impacted by moving to an electronic library. He discusses at length the differences between book lending and ebook lending and how those differences affect the library’s ability to provide access to users (see this WSJ article for more about the battle between publishers and libraries).

Besides increasing access to information by digitizing what we already have and addressing the ebook problems, Palfrey doesn’t have much to contribute to how libraries can become more participatory and hyperlinked.  He mentions labs and collaboration, but not how those innovations and actions can affect current library users and bring in new ones. He stops short of talking about other ways libraries can help users, outside of book lending and digitization; there is no mention of other services that can bring users in and keep current users, as discussed in the Hyperlinked Library model.

Palfrey believes that we are in a transition from an analog world to a digital world, and that libraries will need to straddle these worlds for a little longer but the digital future is coming, and libraries need to be prepared for it.  If they aren’t, then the private sector will lead the way in providing information services and libraries will be left behind. He argues that “libraries can offer important alternatives to the services provided by the corporate sector, which will always have incentives to offer biased, limited, and costly access to knowledge” (p. 128).  He stresses that libraries need to embrace the changes coming instead of living in the past. As Buckland (1992) states, “Library services have two bases: the role of library service is to facilitate access to documents; and the mission of a library is to support the mission of the institution or the interests of the population served” (“Foundations of Library Service”).  Palfrey echoes this statement and emphasizes the need for digitization, and outlines how library services can move from the analog to the electronic library that Buckland proposed.

References

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

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

Denning, S. (2015, April 28).  Do we need libraries? Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2015/04/28/do-we-need-libraries/

Palfrey, J. (2015). Bibliotech: Why libraries matter more than ever in the age of Google. New York, NY: Basic Books

Thoughts about the The Hyperlinked Library Model

I worked my way through all of the readings from Module Three, The Hyperlinked Library Model.  I really connected with some of them and some of them I struggled to find the thread that would illuminate the author’s/’ view of the Hyperlinked Library.  I also struggled, initially, to see how Library 2.0 and the Hyperlinked Library are different.

I believe I’ve figured out that the idea of Library 2.0 has more to do with the participation of the users in the information seeking and creating process and the Hyperlinked Library has more to do with the way the organization functions internally and how its structure can interact with users externally to better serve them.  Library 2.0 says, let’s invite the users, see what they have to say. They Hyperlinked Library Model says, we can create networks to solve problems and find information; we don’t have to stick to the old way of being gatekeepers of information. Let’s see who can help and let’s create a partnership within or without our organization to find solutions or to create something new.

Libraries following the Hyperlinked Model have shifted their focus to the user.  I found Denning’s (2015) five questions for libraries helped me make the abstract idea of a “Hyperlinked Library Model” much more concrete and actionable:

  • How can we delight our users?
  • How can we manage the library to enable continuous innovation?
  • What will make things better, fast, cheaper, more mobile, more convenient, or more personalized for our users?
  • What needs could libraries meet that users haven’t even thought of yet?
  • What are the things that libraries are currently doing that users already love?

These questions turn the libraries’ goals outward, so that you’re not looking at what’s best for the organization, but what’s best for the users who make the library a vital part of the community?  It’s the connections and partnerships and learning that is created by asking the questions posed by Denning (2015).

I don’t currently work in a library, but even in the organization where I currently work, these questions and their answers provide insight into changes that need to be made but also leave space to continue doing what is working for the organization and its users or clients.

References

Denning, S. (2015, April 28).  Do we need libraries? Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2015/04/28/do-we-need-libraries/

“Allow myself…to introduce myself”

image of Nikki at Crater LakeI’m Nikki, and I am beginning my third term at the iSchool.  I am a working mother to two boys, four and nine years old, and I live with my husband and kiddos in Portland, OR, after having moved here from Los Angeles about eight years ago.

I have undergraduate and graduate degrees in Germanic languages and historical linguistics. I love language and learning languages, and I spent time living abroad in Scandinavia and Iceland during and after my college studies.  I have no Scandinavian or German heritage; my interests in these languages and cultures came about because I took high school French and German and then just continued taking language and linguistics classes through college. I try to maintain my language skills through reading online newspapers and listening to online radio and social media, but I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle.

I have worked in universities my entire post-graduate career.  I have been an assistant to a neurologist, a department manager in a college of education, an administrative analyst in institutional research, and I currently work at a labor center assisting faculty with their classes and research.  My work experience has revolved around helping people, from making copies and assisting students with registration to maintaining databases and creating and managing surveys. I enjoy and am good at working with others to support their goals and help them find solutions. In fact, I find my job to be the most interesting and satisfying when there is a problem that requires creativity or research to solve.

I started the SJSU program with the public librarianship pathway in mind, but after a few semesters of getting to know other people in the program and reading more about information professions I have started to consider other options, such as digital librarianship, academic librarianship, and web design.

Despite juggling parenthood, work, and school, I have found the lectures and readings for my courses to be very engaging in this program, and I look forward to learning more about emerging technology and how to cultivate my curiosity to make me a better information professional.

When I’m not studying or working, I like to be outside with my family, riding bikes and hiking in and around Portland.

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