Organic and Enabling Environments

I continue to think of the hyperlinked library in biological terms. I’m seeing it as an ecology that builds a more wholistic and organic system for everyone involved in its life – from the library professionals who ‘manage’ the system to those who use its ‘services’. The primary shift considered this week is around how its ‘management’ and ‘services’ are conceived, grown and sustained.

Before I continue, I want to share that I in other courses I have previously challenged the notion that planning is only a function of management. Rather, I have argued that an organization must present enabling contexts that encourage organization-wide collaborative discussion, collective reflection and engagement when building its services and professional practice – together. But, I was arguing for internal structures that supported full staff engagement in organizational planning and learning. My thinking did not extend to considering the need for enabling structures for a more public, broad and engaging participatory management, not to speak of planning and supporting frameworks for building participatory services.

My ‘aha’ moment arrived this week when reading Matthews’ “Think Like a Start-Up” with its exhortation toward freeing ourselves as librarians to be entrepreneurial visionaries. He noted that “many library strategic plans read more like to-do lists rather than entrepreneurial visions …”. Continuing, he discusses the need for strategic cultures, more than for strategic plans. He points out the need for an attitude shift where we always consider that our work is in ‘beta’, looking for spaces and opportunities for advancing teaching, learning, service and research in new ways. His is a call for not only an entrepreneurial attitude, but for a reflective practice of continual and creative iterative design of services. I extend this to say that this creative iterative design of services is  built from conversations and planning with all library staff and with the community it serves.

If the hyperlinked library is as organic as I’m envisioning, I would expect it to reflect the social, cultural and even spiritual nature of the community to which it is connected. I was thrilled to find that the Escondido Public Library was hyperlinked to in the article! Escondido is my childhood hometown and most of my family still lives there. As a child and teenager, I spent many hours in the library, browsing the shelves, studying and reading. I haven’t visited the library in several decades, but was deeply touched to discover that it is still playing a vital role in the community.  The Escondido Public Library has developed “LibraryYOU” services where individuals in the community can share local knowledge and their personal expertise through videos and podcasts. Through these community created videos and podcasts, local knowledge is preserved and others in the community can learn about gardening in the area, quilt making, beekeeping, local history, and more! If interested, here is more information about the growing LibraryYOU network.
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Boekesteijn, E. (2011) DOK Delft takes user generated content to the next level : http://tametheweb.com/2011/02/15/dok-delft-takes-user-generated-content-to-the-next-level-a-ttw-guest-post-by-erik-boekesteijn/

Casey, M. (2011). Revisiting Participatory Service in Trying Times: http://tametheweb.com/2011/10/20/revisiting-participatory-service-in-trying-times-a-ttw-guest-post-by-michael-casey/

Danforth, L. (2011) Finding the Future: http://reviews.libraryjournal.com/2011/04/blogs/games-gamers-gaming/finding-the-future/#_ (Video too)

Harris, C. (2006) School Library 2.0: http://schoolof.info/infomancy/?p=129

Loertscher, D. (2008) Flip This Library: School Libraries Need a Revolution.  School Library Journal Online:
http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6610496.html

Mathews, B. (2012) Think like a start up (PDF): http://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/bitstream/handle/10919/18649/Think%20like%20a%20STARTUP.pdf?sequence=1

Miller, R. (2009) New Library Opens in Darien, CT: http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6628789.html

Schmidt, A. (2010) Services before Content: http://www.libraryjournal.com/lj/ljinprint/currentissue/885299-403/the_user_experience_services_before.html.csp

Stephens, M. (2006). Into a New World of Librarianship: http://www.oclc.org/nextspace/002/3.htm

Stephens, M. (2012). The Age of Participation: http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2012/02/opinion/michael-stephens/the-age-of-participation-office-hours/

Visser, J. (2011) DOK Delft: http://themuseumofthefuture.com/2011/01/22/dok-delft-inspirational-library-concepts/

3 thoughts on “Organic and Enabling Environments

  1. Oh! LibraryYOU is cool. You make a good point about including staff in the discussions. I think this must come first, before opening up to the public, to the world.

  2. One more: I would be interested in a graphic representation of what you see THL model looking like in organic format… Tree? Cells? so cool to think about!

  3. Hmmm, … not a tree …

    (Imagining now in progress) that representation might be a deep pool –> on a pristine creek –> that flows into the primary river in watershed –> that flows all the way to the ocean –> and merges into its deeps currents (lots of oxygen and food is created all along the way) –> and then is evaporated up in the powerful cycle of life –> to rain down and return to the ground –>to flow back to the pool –> on the pristine creek –> in an *unlimited and cyclical* way.

    Maybe the THL model is analogous to global watersheds? each capturing the regional ‘melt’, sustaining life, but connected to and dependent upon other flows and other watersheds in near and far-away places?

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