Monthly Archives: October 2019

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).


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


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

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

Multnomah County. (n.d.) Framework for future library spaces. Retrieved from

Multnomah County Library. (n.d.) Launch your own podcast today [Web page]. Retrieved from

Multnomah County Library. (n.d.) Priorities 2019-2021 [Web page]. Retrieved from

Stephens, M. (2019a). Hyperlinked library model [Lecture]. Retrieved from

Stephens, M. (2019b). Planning for participatory services [Lecture]. Retrieved from

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”.


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?

Skip to toolbar