moving forward with eyes wide open

cc modified from at

I’m excited about the Hyperlinked Library model!  Libraries like Anythink provide a great model, but I am even more excited for the libraries that are venturing out and giving it a go.  Why?  Because, it takes a certain amount of risk-taking and bravery to venture into new territory.  Not only is it new, the Hyperlinked Library engages the people in a very public manner.

While I understand the barriers to integrating new service models and social media into the library culture (we experience much of the same ones in the school library where I work), the payoff for connecting with our users and our public is fantastic.  Please note that I did not use “program” to describe it.  Programs tend to generate a lot of excitement and energy to begin with, but tend to fizzle over time as enthusiasm and creativity wans.  The silent blogs, Twitter accounts, blogs and Facebook pages do little to promote a positive image for their libraries.

I really appreciate the emphasis on thoughtful and purposeful decisions and actions for the Hyperlinked Library, Stephens, 2011).  When Pam Sandlian Smith of Anythink libraries shared her experience with the success of their newly branded library at our 2011 AkLA library conference, I was most impressed with how thoughtfully and purposefully it was done.  She shared that much of the changes in their libraries came about with the help of the concepts presented in Setting the Table by Danny Meyer (2006).  Hospitality was a significant and guiding principle that set the impetus for each change made.

For social media to be successfully integrated into a library culture, I was thinking a few things need to be considered.  Here is a checklist list I am starting to put together:

  • Mission:  Supported.  Changes need to support the mission or the mission needs to be reconsidered if it prevents forward thinking.
  • Purpose:  Ask why.  Nothing should be adopted unless it meets a specific need or goal of the user.
  • Plan:   Learn. Research. Learn.  This is where true marketing begins – get to know your demographics and community and research the new idea and how other libraries have done it.
  • Implement:  Game on!  Full on engagement and participation.
  • Diligence:  Be persistent. Integration requires the change to be attended frequently…probably daily to be successful.


Lastly, change needs to happen with a happy heart to continue to converse in an enriching and affirmative manner.  Have you ever noticed how you can hear a smile when someone is talking?  My favorite part of the Hyperlinked Library is how visible it becomes and that it allows the library to do what we’re supposed to do.

Libraries are “dynamic centers – places that offer tools for personal development and economic improvement, places that create a sense of local community and provide a connection to the global community.” (from the Hyperlinked Library Model lecture, Stephens, 2012)


Meyer, D. (2006). Setting the table: The transforming power of hospitality in business. New York: HarperCollinsPublishers.

Stephens, M. (2011) The Hyperlinked Library: Retrieved from