Libraries in higher education are increasingly moving towards a participatory culture that emphasizes interaction with not only the physical space of the library, but also increased connectedness between students. This spirit of participation and active engagement with others is at the heart of the ModLab. According to the ModLab’s website, “the lab offers a dynamic and collaborative environment for post-disciplinary modes of research” (ModLab). Increasing communication and cooperation between Shields Library and the ModLab will be an important step towards creating a more participatory culture, and a place where students will want to come not just to read or study. At the same time, forming a connection with the library would benefit the ModLab by increasing access to physical space, should they be allowed to expand into the library or setup a second lab there, as well as drawing in additional interest and attention due to the more central location.
Emerging Technology Planning: Community Help App
I was trying to think about a technology or service that would be both plausible and useful at a community college library. I work as an instructional assistant for learning resources in the library at Cosumnes River College (CRC), and I would like to propose a service that utilizes an app to allow library users to assist each other by answering questions and providing information to each other anonymously.
My job is to help students use the library’s resources, whether they be printers, specific software, connecting to WiFi, databases, or even help learning to use a smartphone. Many of the questions I receive as part of my job are very similar and can seem simplistic. For instance, students often have questions about how use the printers or some aspect of Canvas. Because of the nature of these kinds of questions, I have encountered many students who felt embarrassed to ask for help because they felt like they should be able to do it on their own. I would like to provide a service where students can anonymously ask and also answer questions about library services and technologies, and which can eventually be expanded to include questions about other services around campus more generally.
Goals for the Community Help App
- Provide students with platform to ask questions anonymously and receive answers from other students who have experience with the same issues
- Give more experienced students an opportunity to help newer students learn about library resources, technologies, and class and campus information
- Encourage a community of participatory service within the library and around the campus
- Promote engagement in student learning and success on the student end
- Opportunity to implement web 2.0 services on campus, and to open the door to more participatory services in the future
- Allow the library to branch out by offering new campus-wide services and to become more involved in assisting the day-to-day experience of students
I hope to engage students at Cosumnes River College by giving them an accessible opportunity to support each other and actively participate in the campus culture. I see the Community Help App beginning in the physical library on a screen that people can see, so students can see the questions and the answers (remaining anonymous) on display. However, I would like to develop the app aspect of the idea if it shows some success in the library because it would allow students to interact with each other in a positive way while contributing back to the campus.
Action Brief Statement
Convince the Dean of Library and Technology Services that by 2021 they will approve the development of the Community Help Application which will foster the development of a more participatory culture because students will have a stake in the success of the app and the campus.
Live chat, remote tutoring, and “Ask a Librarian” services are common at libraries across the United States. However, these functions tend to require appointments. In order to make an appointment, one must indicate name, email, and sometimes other identifying information even if the question is meant to be very quick. For instance, Purdue’s “Ask Us – Live Chat” feature works perfectly fine. But one’s question may not warrant filling in multiple fields in order to get a response. The same can go for tutoring. Many tutoring centers, like the one at UC Davis when I was an undergraduate, do offer drop-in tutoring sessions, which works well for those quick questions and answers. However, not only have many programs like Davis moved to appointment based sessions, but online tutoring like that at Arizona State University is also by appointment. Drop-in sessions are quite rare, and even still can involve waiting in a physical line or online queue.
My proposal involves creating multiple open chat room-like forums where students or even staff and faculty can ask and answer questions pertaining to a wide range of topics. For example, there could be a forum about campus events where students can ask where or when a certain event is happening that day. Likewise, there could be a math subject-specific forum where students can ask math questions to be answered by tutors or other students who know the answer. The possibilities for growth are quite extensive, as one could foreseeably include a purely social chat room, ones to which only tutors or staff would be allowed to post replies, etc. This service could also be extended beyond the CRC to incorporate the other members of the Los Rios Community College District.
Policies, Guidelines, and Implementation
It will be important for the librarians to play a central role in setting policies and guidelines for use of the app, but instructional assistants and other library personnel will play a bigger role in monitoring the responses. With an app like this, it is of the utmost importance that students be respectful of one another. We can actually use classroom etiquette concepts that students are likely to be familiar with. Students are often required to interact online already via systems like Canvas, so we can take advantage of this by applying the same policies and guidelines that students know and even by enabling the Community Help App to be embedded in Canvas sites by faculty. Following already established guidelines for online conduct makes sense, and students will know that the forums are monitored by staff. An app like would be easy to take advantage of in terms of leaving intentionally wrong, unhelpful, or harmful remarks. The two-way anonymous nature should help discourage this kind of behavior while also enforcing existing policies about cyberbullying and misconduct.
I spoke with one of the head librarians at Cosumnes River College about my idea and she seemed receptive to the idea, except that someone would still have to develop the app, jokingly saying “If you’re going to make it.” This indicates that the main barrier to implementing a technology like this will be raising funds to design and develop a working mobile application that meets the required specifications. Developing an app can cost thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars for even relatively simple functionality. For this reason, it is important that we test the design with something more readily accessible, such as a live virtual help forum available through the library’s website and physical space, using display monitors and computers already in place.
Should the preliminary model of implementation be successful, it could be worthwhile to pursue the development of a standalone mobile app. Some options to generate funding or create the app include fundraising and donations, but I believe that a grant may be the most promising option. There are numerous grants awarded to both public and academic libraries, specifically in the area of technology innovation. The Librarian and Researcher Knowledge Space (LARKS) offers resources for those looking to learn about library grants as well as those seeking to write and earn grants. I believe it would be possible to successfully earn a grant should it be geared towards transitioning an already successful existing service into something more widespread.
It is very important that we prototype this service before pursuing a campus-wide app, although this or even a district-wide live help forum may be the ideal end goal. We must make sure that this concept can succeed at a very local level by implementing similar features in existing, accessible locations such as the CRC Library website in addition to physical computers and displays in the library. A live help forum could be implemented into the website in several months, which could then be easily displayed on one of the television displays in the library. To implement something on this level would mainly require the approval of the faculty librarians, but it would be helpful to get support from the Dean of Library and Technology Services. This early prototype would also be made much easier to implement due to recent changes and additions to library services given the remote operation status caused by COVID-19. Should the prototype be successful, it would then be a matter of determining how successful and worthwhile a more fleshed out project of a similar nature could be. This would involve several months of letting students know about the new service and eventually generating surveys to get feedback from students and staff.
Fortunately, this new service would require little in the way of additional staff. Instructional assistants and student workers already fulfill many technology help duties on campus, and monitoring these forums could be added to their existing job duties. This is a major positive because it minimizes the amount of increased expenditure for offering a new service. On the other hand, this service could also serve as an opportunity to offer new student worker positions who would like to work odd hours monitoring and responding to posts later into the night or early in the morning. The same ease of implementation also applies to training, especially considering experiences with remote work in the latter half of this semester. Most Library and Technology staff have already gained experience working online and working with the library’s online resources to some extent.
Promotion & Marketing for this Technology or Service: (How can the new technology or service be promoted? Brainstorm some ideas to promote within your organization. Brainstorm more ideas to promote outside your organization.)
In order for the Community Help service to be effective, we need students to not only be aware of it, but also participate. The success of this service relies on students knowing that it exists and seeing the potential for it to have a positive impact on their academic careers or wellbeing. As I briefly mentioned earlier, linking this service with Canvas and the library website will help students get exposed to it. Like we already do with course textbooks on reserve every semester, we can make an effort to reach out to faculty to share information with their students. One way for this service to become ingrained in the culture of the campus and move beyond the walls of the library is to share this concept with other libraries in the Los Rios Community College District and potentially get them on board. Many of our students take classes at more than one campus in the Los Rios system, and this is the kind of service that could help bring the institutions together. Each college could have its own section for questions and responses, but allowing students from all campuses to come to the same place for this kind of information would be a major key for success.
The room for growth for this kind of live, communal help service is huge, and the impact it can have on bringing the CRC campus and potentially the Los Rios colleges closer together cannot be understated. Should enough services come to be offered by this app, it could have a significant effect on the culture of campus and district as a whole. It is important to start small because some good can still come from implementing a prototype service in just the CRC Library and its website. We will be able to gauge by the number of queries on a weekly (and hopefully daily) basis how successful the app is at capturing student attention and in determining its perceived effectiveness. My goal is for any student to be able to post a question or even comment and be able to get a response in minutes from someone who knows the answer. The student who had their question answered will hopefully wish to reciprocate the quick and thoughtful response by actively seeking to do the same for others.
Something that really stood out to me as a core concept in the “Learning Everywhere” module was the quote from Thomas & Brown that Professor Stephens highlights in his lecture; “The world is changing faster than ever and our skill sets have a shorter life.” I think it is incredibly important that we recognize the fact that our world is changing and the effect that will have on what we learn. It would be easy to construe quote as evidence that education is devalued in our time. Why learn skills and information that are going to be different in ten years or less? This is the mindset that wants to see libraries as things of the past, book repositories that are dying or already dead. However, in typical fashion, Michael Stephens points to the importance of the message in this quote as identifying the value of a learning mindset. This is what should be emphasized in schools and what should be taken to heart by librarians. If our skills have a shorter lifespan, we must focus on learning how to learn and how to adapt. Identifying these as our core skills enables to embrace and seek change rather than resist it.
“Learning everywhere” invokes many ideas that we have discussed in this class such as participatory culture and an emphasis on community and technology. The rising prevalence of maker spaces speaks to shifting perceptions of the library as a space and the role of librarians. As Lauren Britton, Jennifer Koerber, and Sue Considine discuss in their three-part Digital Shift article on maker spaces, there is move towards a mindset of creation and exploration rather than simply consumption. This shift sees users taking a more active role in the information environment. Users not only produce information for themselves and others to fill a need, but also gain an appreciation and some insight into the importance of creation. Rafael Alvarado, a professor of mine at the University of Virginia, used to make a point that highlights this same shift in perspective. He would use Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” as a way of explaining the effect of removing the veil of digital technology by learning to code. The 2015 “Hour of Code” movement also speaks to the importance of recognizing the fundamentals of digital technology and hopefully eliminating some of the rejection or even fear that can be associated with things one does not understand. Experiencing the creation of computer code, music, film, or 3D printed objects offers insight that enables lifelong learning.
Cory Doctorow points out the importance of the library in this process in his article “Libraries, Hackspaces, and E-waste: How Libraries Can Be the Hub of a Young Maker Revolution.” Doctorow argues that libraries and internet access “should be the gateway drug for building a PC of your own.” He wants computer users to become familiar with how computers and operating systems work. While this goes beyond where many maker spaces currently are, with a current emphasis on 3D printing or participatory programs like the Idea Box, his assertion that one can learn more about the inner workings of computers by starting with junk material is not farfetched. In time, more libraries can develop programs that incorporate coding and collaborative making as in the DOKK1 library in Aarhus, Denmark.
“Learning everywhere” is closely tied with the idea of lifelong learning. Programs that encourage community participation and co-creation can help maintain the role of libraries as important information centers, but they should also be aimed at enabling users to take what they learn with them outside the walls of the library in order to meet the ever-changing world of technology.
I found the module on Mobile Devices & Connections to be particularly interesting because I have been thinking a lot about how mobile technology can be implemented in an academic library setting for my planning assignment. What really stands out to me as the key for mobile technology is a phrase that Michael Stephens applies to the hyperlinked library more generally, “Serving the user when and where they are” (2015). This fundamental premise speaks to not only the growing pervasiveness of smartphones, but also the need to constantly be on the lookout for the most effective way to engage users.
In her article for the Pew Research Center (2019), Laura Silver notes the rapid increase in smartphone ownership around the world. Importantly, however, this increase is not taking place at the same rate around the world. Being from the United States and having the privilege of owning a smartphone since my third year of college makes it easy to forget what it was like to not own a smartphone, and also realize the fact that roughly 20% of Americans do not own a smartphone according to the Pew survey. It is important for libraries and schools to understand the communities that they serve so they can approach them accordingly. The Deloitte article on “How do today’s students use mobiles?” (2016) sheds some light on this issue by examining expectations and usage patterns among different age groups, focusing on comparing habits of those aged 18-24 to older adults 25+. This study indicates that the target age group expects to be able to use their mobile devices regularly to manage most aspects of their lives. With this in mind, it is important that academic libraries take this into account when seeking to develop new services.
Academic libraries must embrace new technologies while also being able/willing to recognize when something is not working. David Weinberger discusses the fact that the role of library is changing in his article “Let the Future Go” (2014). Rather than determining their own future, Weinberger argues that libraries should work on contributing to the services that are part of the library mission even if they are not directly library related. Because libraries already contain a vast amount of information, and have undergone many years of development and organizational refinement, they are in a position to help improve systems and technologies that are already being widely used. This idea that libraries must enable others to determine their role in the future is connected to the importance of remaining relevant technologically. One example of a mobile technology that has been falling out of favor is the QR code. Sean Cummings (2011) and B.L. Ochman (2013) offer distinct perspectives on QR codes that can be helpful when thinking about how libraries can implement new technologies going forward. The former points out ways that QR codes have been used that failed, but offers alternatives that encourage creativity and could lead to potential future success. Ochman, however, sees the failure of QR codes and their implementation as an example for the adoption of new technologies in the future.
As quickly as new mobile technologies are developed, it makes sense to leave old ones behind. Recognizing when something can be improved on or is no longer working, when something new can be implemented in an engaging way, and learning from mistakes in the past will all lead to better practices for working with emerging technologies in the future, and help us “serv[e] the user when and where they are.”
As with possibly every post for this class thus far, I am finding it hard to condense everything I think and want to say about this week’s topic, Hyperlinked Environments (specifically in relation to academic libraries), into a concise and readable blog post.
The introductory video about the North Carolina State University’s Hunt Library Story led me to seeking out more information specifically on the game lab. I am particularly interested in the role of game labs in academic libraries, and, perhaps partially fueled by the fact that I chose not to pursue a Ph.D. at NCSU so I could finish my MLIS, I wanted to learn more about how it fits into the atmosphere/environment of innovation being cultivated at the Hunt Library. I found this article on how an English class on War Documentaries used the game lab space to develop an interactive film project. In one interview, a student highlights the fact that the group was not sure what they would be doing until they actually saw the game lab space in the library. As they became more aware of the kinds of tools available to them, their vision of the project continued to change. This process got me thinking about innovation itself.
First of all, there is a constant push for innovation, change, and looking towards the future to come up with ideas that can have a positive impact on learning and student success. As I continue to come across literature with this forward-looking perspective, a thought came to me that does not seem to get brought up very often. To put it simply, innovation is hard. This is part of the reason why there is so much literature being produced to assess the need for and to inspire innovation. An awesome example of seeking new avenues for innovation was the Eureka! Library Innovation Challenge which tasked students with coming up with their own ideas for improving academic libraries. This example of participation with the community that will be using the library seems like something that could be implemented much more widely. Scott W.H. Young provides another example of participatory design in his article on the User Experience for Underrepresented Populations project at Montana State. University (2017). What if more academic libraries had ways of getting input directly from students? I am not sure what I would have suggested as an undergraduate or graduate student had I been asked, but opportunities to offer real suggestions that would be taken seriously by my institution would have been great ways to implement the kind of critical thinking skills I was learning.
This kind of participation enables students to engage in real-world critical thinking and information issues, a subject Barbara Fister emphasizes in her article “The Boundaries of ‘Information’ in Information Literacy” (2017). Fister points out that the kind of knowledge and skills associated specifically with navigating academic databases and obtaining information on academic topics does not necessarily translate to the world students will encounter after college. She questions whether current modes of teaching are sufficient for helping today’s students find success. This issue ties back to the spaces in which innovation and learning are occurring in higher education. The physical spaces provided by libraries such as NCSU’s Hunt Library mentioned above and Carnegie Mellon’s Sorrells Library seek to break down traditional the traditional view of libraries as repositories for books. In addition to changes in the design of physical spaces, however, is the importance of the digital landscape for learning. Side note: I continue to find it interesting that the language for describing digital spaces is similar to that of physical spaces, such as architecture, environment, even the use of the word “space.”
Like physical spaces, the digital learning environment must also be designed in a way that encourages student engagement. This can happen in a number of ways. Fister points out a major change in modern searching for students in her article on “Reframing Libraries” (2016), where she writes that some of the key qualities that frame scholarly research as a conversation, such as footnotes and references, are often lost on modern students because of the easy of searching databases by topic. Kelly Dagan (2018) asks the question of how we can make library websites and systems that enable users in new ways by being more personalized and streamlined. Likewise, Malcolm Brown, Nancy Millichap, and Joanne Dehoney (2015) suggest that the learning management system (LMS) of today has served its purpose in enabling the “administration of learning,” but the Next Generation Digital Learning Environment (NGDLE) is one that would consist of an “ecosystem” or “confederation” of different components that assist in learning, not just management.
All of this is to say that there is currently a great deal of innovation of going on in academic libraries even though it is hard. The current attitude of always looking ahead, seeking new approaches to new issues, is yielding results. Innovation is taking place in the design of libraries’ physical spaces as we look to undermine stereotypes about libraries being outdated homes for old books, and in the digital learning environments of libraries and classrooms. I failed once again to keep my post short and concise, but this module, like those in past weeks, has given me a lot to think about and it helps to try to get some ideas in writing.
While this blog post title sounds cooler and more imaginative than this post will be, I couldn’t help using it when it came to me and was at least somewhat relevant to what I wanted to talk about. Spoiler alert: this post may be a bit scatterbrained. Each week we are given so much to read and think about that I have a hard time deciding what to focus on and how to pare it down for a blog post. I would like to discuss a few things that stood out to me this week in reading, watching, and listening to information on hyperlinked communities.
I will admit that the first thing I do when I open each week’s module after reading the introduction is watch all the videos. This week, the first video, called “Local Stories,” immediately called to mind feelings of being inside a museum rather than a library. The video shows an interactive screen where users can manipulate images and text to learn about the historical events and people on the display. This got me thinking about some of the similarities and differences between libraries and museums, and wondering if some of the boundaries between the two are really broken down by the idea of hyperlinked libraries. I am not an expert on museums, but the traditional view of museums seems to be a distinct directional transfer of information from museum exhibits and displays to the patrons. Museum patrons still go there with a variety of expectations, whether to learn about something specific, or just hoping to be (educationally?) entertained. However, this is quite similar to the shifting expectations of libraries as strictly containers of knowledge in book form to the kinds of interactive spaces seen in the video mentioned above and the Oak Park “Idea Box” space. I wonder if museums, too, are making the kinds of changes we see in libraries towards a participatory culture, and what could result from a continual shift away from their traditional institutional models towards ones that seem to blend the two together as community/cultural spaces. Is it the goal of both libraries and museums to “reach all users?” In his article for EveryLibrary, Matthew Enquist writes about how both libraries and museums serve as catalysts for community in unique ways and advocating for their continued importance.
I am increasingly interested in how perceptions of libraries (and now museums) are changing with the constant innovations taking place to make them more accessible, purposeful, and welcoming to all users. I was playing a computer game the other day called Daemon x Machina (in which you pilot giant robot suits to defend Earth and humanity from AI controlled robots in the distant post-apocalyptic future), where one of the missions tasks the player with keeping the AI from taking control of an “ancient” library. What results from the characters’ conversation is actually a pretty heady discussion of the fact that libraries do not only contain physical books, but harbor cultural information of all forms, citing one character’s interest in music as an example of important cultural expression. While this seemed like an odd situation for a conversation like this to occur, I was fascinated by the fact that so much interest was taken in having the characters debate the purpose and importance of libraries.
I think it is inarguable that libraries must be kept relevant as focal points for community interaction and development, and the attitude for acceptance and innovation is highlighted by Michael Stephens’ approach to “lead from the heart, learn from the heart, and play from the heart.”
I was initially drawn to Cory Doctorow’s Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future (2008) because I recognized his name as an author of science fiction. I read his novel For the Win (2010) as part of a video games and literature class as an undergrad, so I was curious about the kinds of connections I would find to libraries. It turns out, there are some very big ones: innovation, participation, and interconnectivity to name a few.
Doctorow begins the forward to Content by stating that he as been releasing his books online for free since publishing his first novel in 2003. He writes that “every one of those books, [he’s] included a little essay explaining why [he] does this sort of thing,” and rather than do it again in this book, he realized that this “whole book is [his] explanation for why [he’s] giving it away for free online. He refers to this collection as the closest he has ever come to a “Comprehensive Doctorow Manifesto” (p. 2). Upon reading this, I immediately checked the introduction to For the Win, having downloaded both books from his website, and sure enough there was a thorough explanation of his thoughts on copyright and making his work available online. I will return to the introduction in For the Win later because I would first like to discuss how Doctorow’s ideas establish a philosophy of innovation that speaks to the development of libraries today.
Doctorow wants to make his work available online because he sees that as an inevitability. He writes, “Once it’s in the world, it’ll be copied. This is why I give away digital copies of my books and make money on the printed editions: I’m not going to stop people from copying the electronic editions, so I might as well treat them as an enticement to buy the printed objects. The information economy is all around us” (p. 50-1). Rather than keeping information behind what he sees as easily overcome obstacles such as digital rights management (DRM), it is important to recognize that in a world run by DRM, nothing would be accessible online at all without payment. His opposition to DRM speaks to one of the core tenets of libraries to make information accessible. While some economics remain involved in libraries, such as access to journals, e-books, software, etc., this is a barrier that is being intentionally torn-down when possible rather than built up. Doctorow describes this relationship by describing the failures of DRM, “Better access to more information is the hallmark of the information economy… none of us rely on curtailing access to information… we compete by supplying a superior service, not by eliminating competition” (p. 63). Doctorow’s innovative approach to copyright and publication speaks to idea of “radical trust” espoused by Michael Stephens. Providing a product online is Doctorow’s way of marketing his work, not undermining the existing economy of artists selling their work for a living.
Doctorow’s philosophy falls in line with Brian Kenney’s “Three Ways Libraries and Publishers Can Work Better Together” (2016) in not only advocating for e-books alongside print books but also seeking to remove barriers to access. Kenney calls for changes in the way libraries access e-books, noting the increasing cost of the Penguin Random House model. Publishers and authors need to work together with libraries to make their work accessible. This is where Doctorow makes a radical comment about the nature of e-books that highlights the participatory and interconnectivity of the hyperlinked library of today and the future. He writes, “The thing about an e-book is that it’s a social object. It wants to be copied from friend to friend, beamed from a Palm device, pasted into a mailing list” (p. 68). For Doctorow, e-books and the internet in general, as he later notes (p. 69), are social by nature. The sharing of information is essential in his eyes as it is for libraries that seek to reach more users. In K.G. Schneider’s “The User Is Not Broken: A meme masquerading as a manifesto” (2006) as well as Kenney’s later “The User is (Still) Not Broken” (2014), the path toward innovation and continued success of libraries is an emphasis on the user. Doctorow is acutely aware of his users and appreciates their importance in the way he distributes his work. He further establishes this point by highlighting the importance of the individual, “That’s the purpose of copyright, after all: to decentralize who gets to make art” (p. 73). It is not for large organizations to decide, but for any participant to have the right to take part in creating and sharing information.
Doctorow also turns his attention towards the concept of Wikis as a space where there is a truly participant and collaborative culture enabled by the internet. He asks the question, “Can we merge composition and editorship into a single role, fusing our creative and critical selves?,” and then answers it himself, “You betcha” (p. 136). They type of collaboration involved in developing Wikis is similar to what Michael Casey calls for in his post “Revisiting Participatory Service in Trying Times” (2011). In it, Casey wonders why libraries have remained somewhat limited in their use of emerging technologies to foster true participation on the part of users. It is easy to use new systems of sharing information to spread news and ideas, but to actually allow users to contribute themselves is the goal of 2.0 libraries moving forward.
Although I have gotten a bit carried away with this post, I said I would return to the For the Win introduction, and I will do so to continue discussing innovation in participation and interconnectivity. After receiving numerous emails offering donations because of his free online model, Doctorow created a fund that would allow teachers and librarians to receive free copies of the novel for their libraries or classrooms. He writes that this system has put more than a thousand books into the hands of readers in schools and libraries (p. 3). This anecdote about the impact that his copyright philosophy has had reminded me of Michael Stephens’ post about keeping, sharing, and making stories (2017). Doctorow’s philosophy allows stories to be kept and shared easily, which in turn lets new users make their own stories by participating in the ones he created and sharing them with others. He advocates for a change in the way we use technology and a new approach to copyright that aligns with the evolution of libraries and librarianship.
Casey, M. (2011). Revisiting participatory service in trying times. Retrieved from: https://tametheweb.com/2011/10/20/revisiting-participatory-service-in-trying-times-a-ttw-guest-post-by-michael-casey/
Doctorow, C. (2008). Content: Selected essays on technology, creativity, copyright, and the future of the future. Retrieved from: https://craphound.com/context/download/
Doctorow, C. (2010). For the win. Retrieved from: https://craphound.com/ftw/download/
Kenney, B. (2014). The user is (still) not broken. Retrieved from: https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/libraries/article/60780-the-user-is-still-not-broken.html
Kenney, B. (2016). Three ways publishers and libraries can work better together. Retrieved from: https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/libraries/article/69404-three-ways-publishers-and-libraries-can-work-better-together.html
Scheider, K.G. (2006). The user is not broken: A meme masquerading as a manifesto. Retrieved from: http://freerangelibrarian.com/2006/06/03/the-user-is-not-broken-a-meme-masquerading-as-a-manifesto/
Stephens, M. (2017). Telling stories. Retrieved from: https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=telling-stories-office-hours
There was so much to think about in the module this week on the model of the hyperlinked library that I have been finding some difficulty in deciding how to narrow down my thoughts. I would like to focus on two key concepts that seem to me to be at the core of the hyperlinked library model and to ask a question that pertains to something (hopefully) coming up in my life.
The idea that the world has changed and is continuing to change with the development of the Web is not a new concept. However, the fact that we are having to adapt to and contend with constant change gives rise to a new mindset and core skillset that are necessary for success in this world. I particularly appreciate the heartfelt conviction for meeting the needs of people around the world expressed in the first chapter of Michael Stephens’ The Heart of Librarianship (2016) and Steve Denning’s Forbes article “Do We Need Libraries?” (2015). Each author emphasizes a policy of not only asking users for input and incorporating user-centric practices in libraries, but also seeking to place the success and well-being of the user at the forefront. Denning’s “fourth question,” “What needs could libraries meet that users haven’t even thought of yet?” speaks to this idea that librarians as “facilitator(s) and guide(s)” (Stephens 2016) need to be creative innovators rather than simply performing the same reference tasks that have been performed for decades. Stephens emphasizes that we should be wary of the statement “We’ve always done it this way” (p. 13) as a sign of tradition remaining unchanged out of habit rather than intention.
This dichotomy of change and tradition made me think about a job that I am currently applying for as a library assistant at the UC Davis Mabie Law Library. As an undergraduate at Davis I heard stories about the law library being intensely quiet, full of students who would glare at anyone who made a sound and who would check out important course books so other students would not have access to them before an important exam in order to improve their own class rankings. While I have no way of verifying these stories, my perception of the library is as the most traditional form of library, one centered on physically books with minimal noise or interaction. Thinking about change as it is discussed in the readings for this module in library practice, organizational structure, and purpose has made me wonder how specialized libraries like a law library for students of a specific professional school might fit in with the hyperlinked library model. I am not sure what my exact question is, but I still wonder if there is a place for the more traditional library (although not endorsing the behavior of the students in the stories above) in this rapidly changing world and field.
My name is Robert Hoile and I am currently living in Sacramento, CA. I got my BA in English, History, and Classics at UC Davis before doing an MA in English at the University of Virginia. I just moved to Sacramento last summer and I am now teaching English and writing a community college while working part time in a library at another community college, and as a teaching assistant in Classics at UC Davis. Despite being spread pretty thin this semester, I am excited to be taking this course because I took INFO 200 with Professor Stephens last year and it was by far my favorite course I have taken in the MLIS program. I am hoping to learn a lot more about emerging technologies and how libraries are incorporating technology as one of their core functions in academia.