Reflection 1: Hyperlinked Communities

Greetings fellow hyperlinkers!

Video gif. A giant bear is sitting behind a gate and they see us. They look directly at us as they raise a paw and wave hello, very cutely and rather derpy.

Upon reflecting on this week’s material, I found one piece in particular to stay stuck in my mind. Sally Pewhariangi’s article, A Beautiful Obsession, discussed an idea that has been popping up in a lot of my recent conversations with my coworkers at my local public library system. This is the notion that the best way to keep a community engaged with the library is to become “obsessed” with providing your most valuable or engaged patrons with the best services possible as well as treating them as equal partners in library development.

Pewhariangi acknowledges that the main currency with regard to getting and keeping customers is no longer simply information, products, or services, but human attention. This notion has become very evident as the world has grown more digital, attention spans have gotten shorter, and the customer’s range of choices has multiplied beyond our comprehension. What many libraries still need to grasp however, is the fact that the best way to compete is not by rebranding or restructuring, but by getting to know the patrons. 

Work Wtf GIF by CTV

As Pewhariangi points out, patrons do not care about these internal changes, nor do they even care if you are qualified. Their main concern is whether you are able to help them with their question or request. As a part-time library support staff member (the lowest rung of qualification in our system), my entire job is attending to our patrons and I feel as though I am observing this dissonance all the time.

The more I learn about library services and the more I learn about our community, the more I feel a fire to turn over the status quo of library work and give our patrons the quality of service that they deserve. I wish to see more community involvement with library developments and more prioritization of community needs over statistics that tell us what is best for the library. Statistics absolutely have a vital place in library work, but there is no amount of rebranding or standardization that can substitute the simple act of human connection. 

Friends Cartoon GIF by Peanuts


Pewhariangi, S. (2014, May). “A beautiful obsession”. Weve, 7-10. 

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Assignment X: Libraries for the People, by the People

When most people think about libraries, they conjure up an image of a silent building for books, complete with stern librarians shushing any patrons speaking above a whisper. However, with the rise of the digital age, libraries are moving away from their traditional reputation. No longer are they a simple home for books, but a hub for information and community connections. When we think about the future of libraries we should make sure that our facilities are designed for the people they serve, not simply for the information they store.

An excellent example of prioritizing people in library design and services lies in the work that school librarians have done with their Media Center at Creekview High School in Georgia. Instead of creating a simple space for study, meetings, and internet access, the Media Center was designed to be the Unquiet Library, “a highly participatory learning environment embedded with interaction and technology”. (Matthews, 2010) The space is equipped for a variety of purposes from quieter activities like lounging and reflection, to instruction and conversation. It essentially functions as the largest classroom on campus, as well as an entertainment space for activities like trivia, poetry readings, live music, art exhibitions, and video games. When librarians introduce students to the Media Center, they incorporate personal devices like smartphones into the instructional material, establishing the Unquiet Library as a place that does not shy away from innovation. 

With librarians serving as part of the teaching staff, teachers getting involved in library services, and students looking forward to their time in the library, the creators of the Unquiet Library at Creekview High are an example of success with designing for the community over the information. (Matthews, 2010) Though the library initially opened eighteen years ago, it still sounds to me like the kind of forward thinking that has the chops to withstand the tests of time. I would have loved to have a community space like that during my time in high school, and I would love to see this type of design be prioritized more in both school and public library settings. 

While in the context of a school library or media center the focus is education, collaboration, and fun, translating the same innovative energy over to public libraries requires some rethinking and additional considerations, as the focus is now on the needs of an entire community. In the interview for his book, Palaces for the People, Eric Klinenberg discusses the idea of libraries as social infrastructure. (Peet, 2018) Before creating a physical infrastructure that effectively supports a community, designers should be considering many crucial ways that libraries support community learning and connection. If a library is not designed with input from the community, then it will not succeed in providing useful services and a beloved place for communication.

At base, designing libraries for the people we serve begins with simply understanding the community and their wants and needs. Incorporating highly-requested information as well as engaging ideas into design or layout of the library space could help to make the building more welcoming and simplified for new or timid patrons. Simple design ideas like a “citizenship corner” could go miles in ensuring that everyone feels welcome and supported by their local library. (Roberts, 2018) I see the future of libraries as a healthy combination of innovative design thinking and good old fashioned conversation. A librarian is only as good as their connection to the community. Without it, the heart of the organization may get lost along the way. 


Mathews, B. (2010). Unquiet library has high-schoolers geeked. American Libraries. 

Preet, L. (2018). Eric Klinenberg: Libraries and social infrastructure. Library Journal, 143(18), 1-10. 

Roberts, A. (2018). Designing adult services: Strategies for better serving your community. Libraries Unlimited. 


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Hello Reader,

I am pleased to make your acquaintance as a fellow member of the Hyperlinked Library course! My name is Sabrina and I’m a second year MLIS student and current Library Support Staff employee with my local public library system in the Central Valley of California. My interests lie mainly in Public Librarianship, but I am still curious about other avenues like archives and special libraries.

As I gain more experience with library work and delve deeper into this program’s curriculum, I find myself ready and excited to take up arms for the library and discover new ways to connect with the communities I serve. I am a firm believer in the library as a third place and I plan to utilize my career to expand the definition of what a library means to its community, always rooting it as a place of connection: to information, to services, to each other.

When I’m not attempting to earn my librarian stripes, I am most likely to be found listening to or making music, meandering in nature, or frequenting my local karaoke night with my pals. I also enjoy spending my time reading, cuddling with two spunky house cats, and playing cozy games. I look forward to discussing the future of libraries with you all and chatting about anything else we happen upon!

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