The Hyperlinked Library: All Heart

I like to say the library connects people to information, ideas and each other. Within those connections, the library lives and breathes, as the pulse of its community. We’ve all heard it (so often it is almost cliche): The library is the heart of its community.

The parallels between Web 2.0 and Library 2.0 are unmistakable. Consider this, written in 1999 by Weinberger about Web 2.0. “What connects you to me to everyone else are web pages and email and chat and discussions. These are all artifacts of human voice. … An economy of voice. The voices are heard in conversation. That’s why the Web has its transforming power. It turns out the fundamental elements of our world have been products of deep conversations all along” (Weinberger, 1999, p. 28). “The Web is the realm of the human voice,” Weinberger wrote, facilitating “new types of connections. The heart flowing to other hearts” (p. 21 & 29).

Replace the word “web” with “library” in the quotes above. Reread it. I’m willing to bet it resonates with the softness in your librarian heart. This was a future Stephens envisioned when he said in 2009: “I imagine the school library, public library and academic library forming a connected web of support and service for learners as they grow. Learning will happen everywhere…” (Continue the Journey section, para 10).

And the stewards of that learning and that connectedness? Weinberger(1999) wrote that “a useful expert is not someone with (containing) all the answers, but someone who knows where to find answers” (p. 10). Although he was talking about hyperlinks in Web 2.0, I can’t help but think of this as a description of librarians in Library 2.0. Isn’t that why we are all here? For the finding, for pointing to those connections? Librarians have always done this finding and pointing artfully in service to their patrons, but in the hyperlinked library, the connecting is the key as libraries nowadays not only serve, but also collaborate with their communities. To connect. To explore. To innovate. Together.

Tomlin, Mathews and Metko (2018) asked (and answered) of the hyperlinked library: “what relationship do we want learners to have with their library? One that is grounded in dynamic, interdependent partnerships. One that propels ideas forward and posits the library not just as a place where learning happens but as an institution that transcends its walls” (para 11).

To which I would like to add: One heart flowing to other hearts.

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Here is the original “hard to read” version:

2 thoughts on “The Hyperlinked Library: All Heart”

  1. I changed the format of this post after it was published. I was trying to be experimental (and let myself be uncomfortable with the risk) but it was just so hard to read. Maybe next time…

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