In the beginning of the semester, Dr. Bird had us read a few articles by David Carr on the topic of a Community Mind. The premise is that libraries, museums and archives need to work together to tell the collectives story. These are the places where our histories are capture and stored, but they need to work together and present the entire communities stories, while constantly monitoring and adapting to the changing story.
Carr had 6 points in his article which he felt an institution should embody:
- Connecting Through Story
- Experimentations in Inquiry
- Public Spaces
- Foundations of A Community Mind
- Acts of Giving
- Necessity of Story (Carr, 2002)
I struggled with some of these concepts as I felt that libraries, museums and archives all struggle to finance themselves. There is only so much that can be allocated to staff salaries, preservation, collections, and acquisitions, not to mention the new collections/exhibits that need to be developed to present to the public. So my initial reaction was somewhat luke-warm. Our follow-up assignment was to read about digital libraries and then visit a few sites. Again, I wasn't too impressed with what I was seeing and, to be honest, I was having a hard time making 'connections' with some of the online libraries. They seemed totally disconnected and I wasn't sure how they would ever be useful to the public, especially after reading Carr's article.
However, the more I have thought about digital collections and libraries, the more intrigued I have become and am starting to see the value in them. I was on my way to ERIT Wednesday afternoon when a book on the shelves near the circulation desk caught my eye. "Library 2.0 and Beyond" is a compilation of works by various authors on technology use and users in the library, however, there is a great chapter on Digital Storytelling by Karen Diaz and Anne Fields. In this work, they discuss the importance and effect that regular storytelling has on a community and how, with our now digital capabilities, storytelling can open our structures to allowing users to learn more about who we are and what we do. (2007)
Of course, gleaning the stories and making them so that others would want to read them is part of the difficulties that they mention. I think, though, that people would read them if they saw them online. Digital stories can build relationships between the community of users, not only in the academic setting, but also in a public library where incentives can pay off in tax dollar amounts. (Diaz & Fields, 2007)
I know this is a bit much for a reflective post, but I wanted to share this thought and hopefully, generate some discussion about it. What would it mean for Jackson Library to start incorporating this model of digital storytelling on their website? How would it enhance the user experience according to Carr's ideas of community mindedness?
Carr, D. (2002). A Community Mind. Public Libraries , 41 (5), 284-288.
Diaz, K. & Fields, A. M. (2007). Digital Storytelling, Libraries, and Community. In N. Courtney (Ed.), Library 2.0 and Beyond: Innovative Technologies and Tomorrow's User (129-139). Westport, Connecticut: Libraries Unlimited.