The Hyperlinked Library Model: Elevating Local Knowledge

I’ve been inspired by the hyperlinked library model. The most exciting aspects of the model to me are the ideas of sharing and building local/intergenerational knowledge, elevating the practices of everyday life (rather than the sensational), the local identification and meeting of needs, and building places for local storytellers and narratives (rather than allowing corporate media to build our meaning). I’ve tried to capture this in this presentation.

I’ve really enjoyed this class and look forward to pondering how my practice can advance the rich ideas I’ve been exposed to through the course modules and the postings of my fellow students. Thanks, everyone, for sharing amazing thoughts!

Here is my virtual presentation.

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Librarian as Teacher, Librarian as Learner

In participatory culture, we are teachers at the same time we are learners.  An ecological view of the world sees the interconnectedness of all things and recognizes the need for deep disciplinary knowledge, and the appropriate placing of that knowledge within the interdisciplinary constructs of real life.

As information professionals, we contribute expert knowledge in the hyperlinked library, but we situate that expertise amongst the interests and information needs of our users. In order to do so, we must learn from our users and engage in meaningful conversations with them. As such, in the hyperlinked library, we are librarian teachers and librarian learners.

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Beyond the Walled Garden paints a beautiful picture of what this looks like as librarians create environments for new forms of information use, reuse and sharing, as well as a climate that fosters informal mentorship (Stephens, 2011). Teaching and learning in the hyperlinked library takes place through learning and exploring together, through the development of new services and the collaborative creation of knowledge. The hyperlinked library, by its very nature, forces us to engage our imagination due to its two-way conversations, fluid access to linked knowledge, and ever-changing technologies. Because of the dynamic nature of all of these elements, the hyperlinked library can also become a place of ‘play’ and innovation and experimentation.

The hyperlinked librarian must always remain agile – and that requires a posture that recognizes self as teacher librarian and learner librarian.


Stephens, M. (2011). Beyond the Walled Garden: LIS Students in an Era of Participatory Culture. SLIS Student Research Journal, 1:2, San Jose State University. Retrieved at .

Vulnerability or Performance?

Transparency requires a certain courage

On a personal level, I’ve learned about the danger of pursuing certainty and control at all costs – it smothers everything. Likewise, I’ve learned that transparency requires a certain courage and vulnerability. Personal transparency, although risky, is transformational. The readings this week address the organizational application of these same attitudes and postures of transparency, and courage as vulnerabiltiy. It seems paradoxical but courage is manifested in being transparent, vulnerable and engaged. In an organization, this means that leaders are accessible and straightforward, and that successes, failures, problems and victories are all communicated openly. Libraries, like businesses, are seeking increased trust from their intended audiences and it is “necessary for them to be prudently transparent in ways that matter to their stakeholders” (Lincoln, 2009).

Trust is too important to play around with

As in personal relationships, lack of transparency in organizations is not really an option. It is always best practice to behave ethically and share openly, whether with staff on internal matters or with clients and interested others. I was particularly moved with the steps outlined toward organizational transparency in The Transparent Library: A Road Map to Transparency (Casey & Stephens, 2007). In fact, they are so important that I include them here:

  • Give your staff multiple avenues for open communication, including internal blogs and vertical teams.
  • Visit front-line staff regularly.
  • Cross-train staff so they have a sense of what their fellow front-line workers do all day.
  • Encourage new ideas and the hearing of ideas among all levels of staff and with the public.
  • Provide learning opportunities for all staff, including regional and web conferences. Start a Learning 2.0 initiative so that staffers can learn from the comfort of their own desk. Reinforce their knowledge of the library’s mission and introduce them to the planning process and how things get done at all levels of library administration and management.
  • Invite staff (on the clock) to attend governance meetings and other user community gatherings to get to know the political leadership.
  • Get all departments, all divisions, to plan their projects as a group so everyone knows (and can prepare for) what’s on the upcoming calendar and so everyone can offer input and suggestions.

Engagement vs. Performance

That transparency is manifest to differing degrees in organizations is an understatement. Our local realities may allow for differing levels of transparency; ideally, we hope to move in cultures of honest, constructive, and engaged feedback. In her book Daring Greatly, social researcher Brene’ Brown discusses the lie of perfectionism and the shame that accompanies it – shame that puts up false facades and only allows for performances, shutting down genuine conversation and engagement (Brown, 2012). Although she is speaking of the reality in our personal lives, the same dynamics come into play in organizational life. When organizations put up false fronts, or require that their employees do so, they are squelching vulnerability and the opportunity for genuine engagement – both internally amongst staff and externally with clients and partners. Engagement is the antithesis of performance. If the hyperlinked library is to engage staff and clients in participatory service and learning, it must be transparent. If otherwise, the types of creative and generative connections and conversations we hope for cannot happen. Perfection-based and closed environments only allow for performances – by staff and by users. The hyperlinked library thrives on engagement. Genuine and authentic engagement occurs in transparent environments. __________________________


Brown, B. (2012). Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. New York: Gotham Books. Casey, M. & M. Stephens (2007). Road Map to Transparency: Lincoln, M. (2009). Transparency:

Participatory Culture and Professional Development

This week I read a study from the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab, Designing With Teachers: Participatory Approaches to Professional Development in Education (Fall 2012). The study focused on professional development within a culture of participatory learning.

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New Strategies Needed

This study caught my eye because I have been seeking to grow in my capacity, as an OER librarian, to work with other librarians to build knowledge, understanding and best practice around open educational resources (OER), especially in the K12 sector. Although awareness of OER is growing, use of these resources is a challenge for many educators, as well as for librarians.The design of these digital resources is not familiar to many and the licensing that governs their use and reuse is unfamiliar. The integration of OER into local contexts such as classrooms and libraries necessitates a new range of supports and strategies.

And that is why the study out of the Annenberg Innovation Lab caught my attention. I want to support conversation and shared learning that builds these supports and strategies. I, like many librarians, spend considerable time training and sharing about my resources, their access, potential and appropriate use, as well as about our systems and services. My professional practice in this area continues to change as I explore new ways of effectively connecting with others in the field – especially, as previously noted, with other librarians who wish to integrate open education resources into their libraries and services.

Distributed Expertise

I was especially intrigued with the report’s discussion about transitioning from the notion of providing professional development for teachers [librarians] to professional development with teachers [librarians]. Just as participatory service in the hyperlinked library is built upon customer participation in building and maintaining the services they want (Casey & Savastinuk), participatory learning relies on a model of “distributed expertise”, which assumes that knowledge, in all contexts, is distributed across a diffuse network of people and tools (Reilly & Literat, 2012). This mindshift is exciting to me and complements the participatory service model. I will be envisioning how this model can be integrated into my practice as I relate with other librarians interested in open education models.

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Participatory PD Values

Participation, not indoctrination;
Exploration, not prescription;
Contextualization, not abstraction;
Iteration, not repetition.


These values excite me because they are strongly correlated to conceptual frameworks in the field of open education of collaboration and knowledge sharing around educational resources, and users/teachers as expert creators, adapting open educational resources for their instructional goals and their learners’ needs.

New Foundations

I am thrilled to be exposed to the model of participatory professional development. I believe it provides a foundation and theoretical framework for my own emerging practice in this area. It will help me begin to articulate a pathway of participatory professional development and learning together with other professionals who work, or wish to work, in the open education space.



Casey, M. E., & Savastinuk, L. C. (2007). Library 2.0: A guide to participatory library service. Medford, N.J: Information Today.

Reilly, E. & Literat, I. (2012). Designing With Teachers: Participatory Approaches to Professional Development in Education. USC Annenberg Innovation Lab. Accessed at . 2012 Feb 6.

Reflective Practice and Discovery Underway

I’m currently OER Librarian for ISKME and my primary projects are OER Commons, OER Commons Green and the newly launched OER Commons Arabic. We are doing great things at ISKME and I love my work. Because I’m involved in such rich work, I’m particularly excited about discovering ways of building community and relatedness through new types of conversations, transparency and participatory service to extend its touch.

In this blog, I’ll be engaging my imagination to consider how I can be fully human, present and engaged in new ways to extend the reach of my work. Quite honestly, I have no idea what this fully means or what this will look like, but I’m excited to spend time here and discover new ways of practice and being. As I explore these themes, your thoughts are also welcome. If you share the same interest, please engage here with me!