I got my first public library card the week we immigrated to the United States. Clinging to my mother’s leg as she filled out paperwork over the counter, I blinked at all the shelves, tables, and carousels bristling with books. At the time, I was barely literate in Chinese, so stared at the English accompanying their illustrations, yearning to understand. That, right there, is what we librarians must preserve.
According to Visser in “DOK Delft, inspirational library concepts”, he used to hold museums and libraries as sacred, but in ‘the world’s most modern library’ he found his voice getting louder, earnestness rising. Reading his words made that little girl in me want to run with all the hyperlinked library theories and models, and embrace even harder my own sacred goals to learn, to bring everyone along for the ride. Let’s be loud! Messy! Dig ourselves into the drama! Find out all the stuff!
But, like Schmidt in “Exploring Context” urged, we must evaluate the initiatives introducing these new technologies in ways that consider the library less and their communities more. Libraries didn’t begin as a public service, but for them to remain so, or even in existence, they must keep leveling up to the bar people set for their information needs. Of course, per Savolainen (2010), that can mean anything anyone ponders to. For example, my mother has pretty much been a shut-in since getting laid off almost a decade ago, and no amount of urging or offering of electronics and online classes have successfully entreated her to seek a hobby, if not a calling. This is the same lady who, before registering me for school or taught me how to write my new English name, made sure I got a library card. At one time she understood the value of the institution in her life. Thus, the hyperlinked library is well-suited to help her, and others stuck at home, out of her socio-intellectual isolation.
Savolainen, R. (2010). Everyday life information seeking. Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences (3rd ed.). https://doi.org/10.1081/E-ELIS3-120043920