As this semester comes to a close, I still find it hard to keep my mind off of how radically different the state of the world is compared to January. The COVID-19 outbreak has altered day-to-day life in surreal, unfathomable ways and has highlighted the incredible fragility of our economy, our health care system, and our already-wavering sense of “normalcy.” News headlines express the emergence of a “new normal,” a designation which seems to imply that the world we had is irrevocably lost. I try to maintain a reasonable level of optimism — that if the COVID-19 outbreak has exposed weaknesses in our societal structures, it has also highlighted the need to work on these weaknesses to find solutions.
The outbreak has led me to reflect about my own role in the LIS field and what areas I should work on as I move forward in my career. I’ve learned to understand my role as a LIS professional in a more holistic way, especially in regards to how social concerns, participatory practice, and technology intersect. Moreover, the quarantine has led me to consider what areas that libraries need to strengthen. This is the first semester I’ve taken an elective course and it never occurred to me how relevant or timely the teachings of the Hyperlinked Library model would be. I took this course by chance, not knowing how immediately it would inform my beliefs about what libraries need. Writing the Director’s Brief on the COVID-19 enabled me to explore how the tenets of the Hyperlink Library model can help inform a crisis response. While enrolling for this course, I imagined that the Hyperlinked Library was a model for libraries in some far removed future. I learned that the far removed future I was envisioning is actually now.
Well, it’s been a long but fulfilling school year, and I hope everyone has a good end to their semester and a summer full of rest and rejuvenation.