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Library 2.0 Debate

Jan - 11 - 2006
Nicole C. Engard

There’s a debate/discussion going on on the web right now about Library 2.0. Some people are denying it exists – some people are asking for a new label – and everyone has a different idea of what exactly Library 2.0 means.

Most of the posts I’ve read have decided that the defintion from LiB is the “official” one.

“Library 2.0 simply means making your library's space (virtual and physical) more interactive, collaborative, and driven by community needs. Examples of where to start include blogs, gaming nights for teens, and collaborative photo sites. The basic drive is to get people back into the library by making the library relevant to what they want and need in their daily lives…to make the library a destination and not an afterthought.”

I just finished reading 2 great posts – one from John Blyberg and the other by David King.

John says:

L2 is actually happening

I differ with those that believe L2 is all theory and no action. I'm seeing a number of libraries taking the initiative right now. There are not just gaming conferences, there are actual gaming programs. Individuals are not just talking about their plans to use IM for virtual reference-they're doing it now. Coffee shops are opening up in libraries, policies are being rewritten, facilities are being built to reflect some of these changes. I don't buy that L2 is a passing fancy. In fact, L2 is partially an articulation of the action that is already happening.

David says:

What’s going on here? I think Library 2.0 is a library response to the larger social technology changes going on right now. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s an Automotive 2.0, a Psychiatrist 2.0, or a Teacher 2.0 (update – see my short post on this). Some librarians are noticing the change and are trying to figure out how libraries can capture the good stuff of Web 2.0 and use it to further serve our patrons. They have added a library-centric name to a larger concept that is appearing in our libraries, in our cities, and in the world at large (check Howard Rheingold’s blog for some of those mentions).

And yes – some individuals who don’t “do change well” are probably not doing well right now with current technology changes. But then, my guess is those types of people have ALWAYS drawn lines in the sand, and will continue to do so. A worthy goal for libraries and librarians should be to embrace those staff members and help them along the sometimes rocky road to change.

What do I have to add? I’m not sure how I can put it better than these guys? I think with every new concept you’re going to have those who are sceptical – if that’s the right word in this case. I understand that a lot of librarians aren’t sure about the label and the hype that goes with it – I however am not one of them. I like 2.0 is a great way to say we’re entering a new stage – and a little side note – our library is one of those with a cafe built right in :)

I was shocked to read in Dave’s post about a librarian who had the nerve to ask “I’m not interested in new technology, and I don’t have time for it and i’m not one to play with technology..what about me?” at the Internet Librarian conference no less, but this is the world we live in – it’s not just librarians – it’s people from all walks of life that see technology and fear it – or have no interest in it – I just don’t expect them to have their libraries spending money to send them to a conference that is all about technology in libraries!

Anyway, I guess that was a side note of sorts – something that upset me when I read it.

So – basically, I’m all for Library 2.0 and our library is on the road to upgrading our services, including our users in more of our content, and just embracing the idea of the library as a destination.

One Response so far.

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