Thoughts on the Hyperlinked Library

After reading the materials from the Hyperlinked Library module, I finally feel that I have a grasp on what the concept really means. Hyperlinked libraries are “hyperlinked”: they are managed and operated in ways that are non-sequential and non-hierarchical. They are also hyper-linked: they are “excessively” connected, with each part of “the library” (its people and services) connected to many things both inside and outside of the library. Operating in this way makes the library more connected to (and aware of) its community and makes it more flexible and responsive to the current and future desires of its community.

I particularly liked the example from the lecture in which the pages of a picture book were posted along the path in the park and how this made connections between people, the park, and the library. I was less thrilled by the Open+ system, even though it promised to give people more access to their libraries. My concern is with equity of access to the library, specifically with who will be allowed to have codes to enter the library during off-hours. I’m already sensitive to the ways in which libraries are often biased against unhoused people, and I can only envision that being a sticking point with Open+ as well.

Because Internet by Gretchen McCulloch

Having just finished reading the book Because Internet by Gretchen McCulloch, I couldn’t help but see connections to the hyperlinked library concept. Several of the themes of the book apply to the hyperlinked library’s themes of social engagement. McCulloch describes two ways in which people see the internet: as a tool or as a social place. Some people have only used the internet for their work and do not see it as a social space comparable to the offline world. However, people from early Usenet days to young people who have grown up post-Facebook see the internet as a highly social place, another type of “third place” in the world. And according to McCulloch, while many people think that so-called “digital natives” are fluent in all aspects of computer usage, in reality they are simply fluent in using computers as part of their social network. As the library is also a kind of “third place,” it makes sense for the library to take part in the social internet. The internet isn’t simply a tool, it is a place where people communicate, socialize, and make connections.

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