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Reflection: Hyperlinked Public Libraries

For my “choose your own adventure” into hyperlinked environments, I took a deeper look at public libraries. I was really impressed by the common thread woven in the week’s readings regarding being flexible and adapting to change. Change is often the word that makes some people shrink with dread. (I, for one, know the feeling all too well.) Then again, there are those people who feed off the churning waves of new ideas. This could look as simple as expanding and creating unconventional library collections like the Scenic Regional Library of Missouri with its fishing poles and telescopes for checkout (Hemphill, 2019). Change could also look like reevaluating how library space is used, like Laerkes writes about in his article, The Four Spaces of the Public Library (2016). It could even extend to the kinds of partnerships a library seeks out (Stevens, 2016). At the end of the day, change does not have to be a bad thing.

Change does not need to be daunting especially when we are not meant to soley focus on change. It is best summed up when Ostergard described Dokk1. He said, “we designed our libraries for people, not for books” (Stevens, 2016). This shift in perspectives is what is so important. In fact, it is more than just important…it is the whole reason for this service in the first place. When we are considering what our patrons need, libraries should be rising to meet those needs. It is in the opportunity to make people the focus that libraries can grow and expand with changes that best suit their communities.

Morehart tapped into another people-centered idea that is the perfect extension to this idea. He writes about the IFLA forum which spent time considering that libraries need to consider expanding the concept of “third place” to consider it a community gathering point as well (2016). “Marion Morgan-Binion, city librarian for Gold Coast, Australia, [said] ‘public libraries will always adapt to and reflect the communities they serve’” (Morehart, 2016).  Morehart draws the connection from Morgan-Binion’s presentation to the “importance of embracing a library’s communal nature” (2016). Hemphill brought this full circle when he wrote, “…there’s a community-driven rationale to the wide-ranging activities” her library is expanding (2019). More often than not, people want to have positive interactions with other members of their community. The library can offer a safe, friendly, and useful place for this. It can be more than just a third place but a real social community hub.

References

Morehart, P., (2016). Moving beyond the “third place”: IFLA forum examines library designs that embrace the community. American Libraries Magazine. https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/blogs/the-scoop/library-design-moving-beyond-third-place/

Laerkes, J. G., (2016). The four spaces of the public library. IFLA Public Libraries Section Blog. https://blogs.ifla.org/public-libraries/2016/03/29/the-four-spaces-of-the-public-library/

Hemphill, E., (2019). A look at the evolving role – and shifting spaces – of today’s public libraries. St. Louis Public Radio. https://news.stlpublicradio.org/show/st-louis-on-the-air/2019-02-05/a-look-at-the-evolving-role-and-shifting-spaces-of-todays-public-libraries#stream/0

Stevens, M., (2016). Dream. Explore. Experiment. Office Hours. Library Journal. https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=dream-explore-experiment-office-hours

4 replies on “Reflection: Hyperlinked Public Libraries”

Hi Jen,
I have been coming across this idea of the third space for a while now and I really like it. It’s the perfect explanation for me about what a library should be–a space for people! If a library has to change to provide the best service for its community, so be it. That’s what the library is there for!
Thanks for your post!
Kimberley

Hi Kimberley,
I also really like this idea of third space. There is something really safe and reassuring about a place that people can find comfort in. I love the idea of the library being that place. I also really liked what the Morehart article talked about when considering taking it one step further and building the library to be more than just a safe third space for some people, but expanding it to be a community gathering space. It is a comforting thing to think about having libraries operate as the third space for a community of people.

Thank you,
Jen

Hi Sarah,
I do too. In week 8’s lecture, I loved how professor Stevens suggested the library be viewed as the “community livingroom”. It should be comfortable, inviting, cozy, and safe. What an exceptional way to view the library and what it is capable of becoming!

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