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  • valarie907 9:32 am on September 25, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , participatory   

    what can libraries deliver? 

    I came across the answer before I came across the question, but these tweets caught my eye!




    I appreciate that we get to explore the next step of how we can do this in The Hyperlinked Library class with Dr. Micheal Stephens!

  • valarie907 11:17 pm on September 23, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , participatory   

    context book report – community 

    Community Context Book Report

     “Communities are human systems given form by conversation that build relatedness.” (p. 178)

    Peter Block did not write about libraries in Community: The Structure of Belonging.  Yet, the concepts explored lend very well to developing a culture of change in many contexts, including the library, by increasing accountability and responsibility of each member of a community through citizen-to-citizen engagement.  The purpose of this framework of community engagement is to re-frame our conception of community and how a sense of belonging can be deliberately and authentically constructed in order to facilitate the connectedness necessary to achieve real and intentional transformation in a small group.


     “…to belong is to be related to and a part of something.  To belong to a community is to act as a creator and co-owner of that community.” (p. xii)

    Membership can be sold and purchased, but the membership Block proposes is democratic and deep.  Belonging as a fundamental human need is central to Block’s philosophy and the language used reflects the variety of ways we talk about belonging: collective, connected, membership, linked, interdependence, involved, participated, associated, related, attached…  We have all experienced loss of a connection to some degree and the words associated with the loss often evoke a strong reaction:  marginalized, unattached, fragmentation, broken, detached, disconnected, isolated, loneliness, dividedness, separated, divorced, different…

    The Conversations

    “The power is in the asking, not in the answers.” Block (p. 184)

    Intentional transformation is made possible through conversation and Block emphasized that the right questions are essential to transformation.  In order to create or transform a community, Block suggests we trade problems for possibilities through carefully formulated questions.  The small group meetings are carefully planned and feature specific conversations centered on:

    • Invitation:  A call to create a new future and its possibilities.
    • Possibility:  Problem solving is about the past, possibility is about the future.
    • Ownership:  In contrast to blame, we decide on our value and meaning.
    • Dissent:  “No” responses are not closed doors; they are opportunities to begin a dialog.
    • Commitment:  Promise made with no expectation of a return; it’s a deal, not a bargain.
    • Gifts:  Focus and capitalize on gifts rather than deficiencies.


    “Invitation is the means through which hospitality is created.” (p. 113)

    The concept of hospitality is emphasized in the first step to transformation beginning with an invitation and is reinforced when preparing for the meeting and the meeting space.  The goal is to be sure those involved each know they are valued and welcomed to encourage participation in the conversation regardless of status.  Attention to details of the space center around equality and comfort.  Some libraries have prioritized hospitality as they strive to improve their spaces and service so their customers will look forward to returning to the library as well as enjoying their visit.


    “The essence of creating an alternative future comes from citizen-to-citizen engagement that constantly focuses on the well-being of the whole.” (p. 178)

    Application of this framework may be made on various levels within a library context.   A library interested in seeking meaningful change or enhancing their institutional culture should begin exploring the ideas proposed by Block internally before inviting their customers and broader community to the conversation.  The internal library culture can be empowered by applying Block’s community concepts to transform its organization, creating a flatter and more collaborative work environment when everyone is equally valued and given permission to ask questions.  Because this framework requires a personal investment, co-creation and co-ownership, the leadership needs to be invested and set an example to ensure success.  It will be by leadership’s example that the rest of the staff will build the trust necessary for them to enter into the conversation.  Once the institutional connections are realized the broader community may be invited to participate in the decision and change making process so that services can be improved with increased customer contribution and participation through an open and creative dialog.

    “All of this takes time, but we are choosing depth over speed.” (p. 148)

    Block emphasizes that language is powerful and illustrates how to use it throughout each chapter.  At times, the explanations of his ideas are rather abstract, but he offers practical ideas and encouragement, too.  Equipped with the framework offered in Community, a library can affect positive change on all levels while strengthening relationships.  The most powerful message is that of action.  The act of structuring an authentic experience of belonging suggests a deliberate and purposeful construction of that experience to facilitate a sense of accountability and responsibility to the community attained through ownership and co-creation.  It is an investment that might be costly in time and attention to begin with, but will deliver results worth the effort.


    Block, P. (2008). Community: The structure of belonging. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

  • valarie907 1:34 pm on September 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , participatory,   

    fabulous find of the week 

    “Rather than thinking of our users as remote, we should instead recognize that it is we who are remote from our users.” –Anne Lipow

    I came across this fabulous quote in an email from Samantha Hines on a listserv and it stopped me in my tracks.  I needed to know more about where this quote came from.  Upon investigation, I traced it to:

    Lipow, Anne G. “’In Your Face’ Reference Service,” Library Journal 124(13) (August 1999), p. 51.

    It turns out Hines wrote a chapter titled “Libraries and Distant Users: An Evolving Relationship” (pdf) published in 2008 in the book “Technology in Libraries: Essays in Honor of Anne Grodzins Lipow” (pdf), which are available at no cost.

    Since many examples of participatory services are in public libraries, I was wondering how the academic library community was approaching the participatory model.  I am looking forward to reading about it.  What an unexpected and serendipitous find!


    BTW, it appears that Hines is working on a book project titled:  “Revolutionizing the Development of Library and Information Professionals: Planning for the Future.”  It is an exciting time to be in the library and information profession!


    • michael 2:56 pm on September 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Cool! We need more good academic library examples.

  • valarie907 10:57 pm on September 16, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , participatory, ,   

    no more “business as usual” 

    cc opensource.com

    It seems overly simple to say that libraries need to meet people’s needs rather than their own; after all, isn’t that what they’ve been doing?  Well, yes, but the traditional library model is also rather self-serving.  Libraries have formulated mission statements and set goals to promote ideals they feel society ought to value as much as they do.  It might be tempting for libraries to cling to traditional services they know and love when continued funding and support are questioned and/or reduced, if not eliminated.  It is what they know how to do…the problem is that younger generations are growing up using information in a very different way and a traditional model will not meet their needs.   The evolving digital landscape requires innovative services.

    The library of the future is focusing on the young people’s needs for
    the library, rather than the library’s need for young people.  ~ Mindspot the Movie, 2009

    cc City of Marietta, GA

    Participation is fundamental to the Hyperlinked Library model.  Without participation, there is no relationship on which to build upon in new and innovative ways; creating relevant library services becomes a guessing game.  Mutual participation affords an opportunity to gain insight into the needs and desires of users that libraries so desperately want.  In order to facilitate user participation, the users need to be let in…

    DOK’s Aarhus’ Mindspot program is spot on with the methods it uses to engage young library users.  Young people are the libraries future and if they are not engaged now, exactly when should we expect the library to suddenly become relevant to them?  I especially love that they use the young people to create their services and leave the library to meet them where they are at.

    There is still a place for traditional services provided they are modified to meet new access and delivery methods, at least for the time being.  A shift is required to involve as much of the demographic of a given community so that modified traditional services, new participatory services and library spaces are relevant to the community in ways that uphold the mission of the library.  It is exciting to see so many brave libraries and librarians paving the way for all of us.

    cc opensource.com

    cc opensource.com


    American Library Association. (2006). Core values of librarianship. [website] Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/offices/oif/statementspols/corevaluesstatement/corevalues

    Transformation Lab. (2009). Mindspot the movie: The library as a universe. Retrieved from http://youtu.be/ixsOLvLSARg

    • michael 1:04 pm on September 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Nice synthesis of core values in light of the model. Note: it’s Aarhus not DOK for the Mindspot program. 🙂 Those European libraries are on fire with innovation – easy to confuse them.

      • Valarie 1:43 pm on September 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for the correction! I’ll pay better attention next time, for sure. What exactly is it that is driving them? Are their public libraries funded much like ours or in a different way? I tend to think that money and economy drive much of what we do, though I try not to be a skeptic. While reading articles and watching videos about them (European public libraries), I wondered how they afford to do what they are doing.

        I was wondering if you have a source for blog publication etiquette? Do I go in and make a note of my edit? There’s been a few times (like just now when I published a post without a title or tags!) when I forgot to add something to my post or notice a mistake…I think it will improve with practice, but I was just wondering how best to handle those changes.

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