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Mar - 1 - 2006
Nicole C. Engard

Looks like I ruffled a few feathers with my most recent L2 post. The problem with communicating in this way (via the web) is that people don’t really know you, your personality, or your tones. First, I want to apologize for making people think I was telling them to “shut up” … in fact my mother would probably call me up to ground me right this second for even typing that … Steve Lawson (who commented on Walt’s thread) interpreted me correctly

I do not read that as “make them shut up and sit down” I read it as “make them stop ripping on Library 2.0 long enough to think about what Abram is saying.”

And I didn’t mean that just because Stephen Abram said something it must be true – I just meant that his post was really well written, made some excellent points, and had an impact on me.

Update 8:56am:

I just wanted to add this postscript because I’ve been sitting here perplexed for the last hour or so – why is there any controversy at all surrounding such a little idea – the idea that it’s time for libraries to re-evaluate, learn new things and give the patrons more control? Is it the control issue? Is it the change issue? Is it the learning issue? I just don’t get it – and maybe that’s why I had such a “spunky” (to use Stephen Cohen’s word) post. Maybe the problem is because L2 has been used in conjunction with words like bandwagon – which I agree gives it a negative feel – but can’t we look past that and see that all we all want is to offer better services to our patrons? So what if I call it L2 and you don’t want to give it a label? I’d like to think we all want the same thing in the end.

Okay rant over – I’m done – for today :)

12 Responses so far.

  1. I, too, would like to think that, no matter the name, what we all want is simply to improve library services and reach more people. I cannot imagine that’s controversial!

  2. Nicole says:

    I’m glad I’m not alone – I loved the webinar you guys gave on Library 2.0!

    Now if I could figure out this Spam Karma thing so that it would stop blocking all comments I’d be happy – sorry you were blocked.

  3. I, too, would like to think that, no matter the name, what we all want is simply to improve library services and reach more people. I cannot imagine that’s controversial!

  4. Nicole says:

    I’m glad I’m not alone – I loved the webinar you guys gave on Library 2.0!

    Now if I could figure out this Spam Karma thing so that it would stop blocking all comments I’d be happy – sorry you were blocked.

  5. T Scott says:

    Indeed, figuring out ways to use new technologies to improve library services and to reach more people shouldn’t be controversial at all. I’d be very surprised to find anybody who has participated in the discussion who thinks it is. All the same, I must confess that it surprises me that librarians (who I would have imagined to have been particularly attuned to the nuances, connotations and power of language) would be so quick to say that it doesn’t matter what we call it. When Hemingway was asked what the most difficult part about writing was, he said something to the effect of “getting the words right.”

    You can’t have productive conversation if you can’t define your terms clearly enough that everybody in the conversation can be sure they’re all talking about the same thing. That “Library 2.0″ can’t be clearly defined has been conceded by many of those who continue to use it. So it gets in the way rather than helping us help each other to get to where we all want to be. The conversations about improving services would be more effective if we didn’t keep tripping over a bit of meaningless jargon.

  6. T Scott says:

    Indeed, figuring out ways to use new technologies to improve library services and to reach more people shouldn’t be controversial at all. I’d be very surprised to find anybody who has participated in the discussion who thinks it is. All the same, I must confess that it surprises me that librarians (who I would have imagined to have been particularly attuned to the nuances, connotations and power of language) would be so quick to say that it doesn’t matter what we call it. When Hemingway was asked what the most difficult part about writing was, he said something to the effect of “getting the words right.”

    You can’t have productive conversation if you can’t define your terms clearly enough that everybody in the conversation can be sure they’re all talking about the same thing. That “Library 2.0″ can’t be clearly defined has been conceded by many of those who continue to use it. So it gets in the way rather than helping us help each other to get to where we all want to be. The conversations about improving services would be more effective if we didn’t keep tripping over a bit of meaningless jargon.

  7. walt says:

    T Scott’s last paragraph on the significance of names is more lucid than I’ve apparently been on this point, so I’ll just say, “What T Scott said.”

    I have yet to encounter anyone who says that no librarians should spend any time working on new services that use the tools sometimes lumped under the Web2.0 brand. I have yet to encounter anyone who believes that libraries should not change. Which is quite different than agreeing that public libraries will fail if they don’t “transform” themselves in X years or that every library, no matter how small and underfunded, must devote X amount of time/resources to these new tools.

  8. Nicole says:

    Is that what you think giving L2 a name does? Force libraries to change in a certain time frame or else they’ll fail? Well if that’s what I thought it meant I’d be against it too!! That’s such a negative way of interpreting it – don’t you think?

    I don’t see it that way – every library has different resources, every library has different staff members who can do different things. My library is lucky to have 3 people on the staff who can program (2 in PHP and 1 in Perl) We’re also lucky to have a full time IT staff of 3 (with one more on the way) and a part time staff of 1, but I know that we are in the minority (probably a very small minority).

    I just think that L2 is about moving forward, in the end I’m not picky about what people decide to call it, but I hope to see more changes going on in my library especially since we have the resources to do so.

    Walt, you have opened my eyes to a side of L2 I hadn’t seen before – I don’t know who’s saying that “public libraries will fail if they don’t “transform” themselves in X years or that every library, no matter how small and underfunded, must devote X amount of time/resources to these new tools.”, but I’m not one of those people – I’m just supported of new technologies and moving forward as fast as my little fingers can take me :)

  9. walt says:

    T Scott’s last paragraph on the significance of names is more lucid than I’ve apparently been on this point, so I’ll just say, “What T Scott said.”

    I have yet to encounter anyone who says that no librarians should spend any time working on new services that use the tools sometimes lumped under the Web2.0 brand. I have yet to encounter anyone who believes that libraries should not change. Which is quite different than agreeing that public libraries will fail if they don’t “transform” themselves in X years or that every library, no matter how small and underfunded, must devote X amount of time/resources to these new tools.

  10. walt says:

    Sorry, Nicole: My first and second paragraphs weren’t supposed to be read as a single thought. It’s two comments in one.

    I think the Cites & Insights special issue explores the virtues and dangers of the name itself as much as I’d choose to explore them.

    The second paragraph notes some attitudes that have definitely popped up, some instances referred to in the special issue, some since them.

    I suspect you’re doing what needs to be done: Paying attention and building tools within your library’s means, and presumably seeing how those tools work/tuning them to work better. This is all good, this is what progressive (in the apolitical sense) librarians should be doing…and, albeit given different tools, what they’ve always done. Which is not to say the new tools aren’t powerful and worth attention: They are.

  11. Nicole says:

    Is that what you think giving L2 a name does? Force libraries to change in a certain time frame or else they’ll fail? Well if that’s what I thought it meant I’d be against it too!! That’s such a negative way of interpreting it – don’t you think?

    I don’t see it that way – every library has different resources, every library has different staff members who can do different things. My library is lucky to have 3 people on the staff who can program (2 in PHP and 1 in Perl) We’re also lucky to have a full time IT staff of 3 (with one more on the way) and a part time staff of 1, but I know that we are in the minority (probably a very small minority).

    I just think that L2 is about moving forward, in the end I’m not picky about what people decide to call it, but I hope to see more changes going on in my library especially since we have the resources to do so.

    Walt, you have opened my eyes to a side of L2 I hadn’t seen before – I don’t know who’s saying that “public libraries will fail if they don’t “transform” themselves in X years or that every library, no matter how small and underfunded, must devote X amount of time/resources to these new tools.”, but I’m not one of those people – I’m just supported of new technologies and moving forward as fast as my little fingers can take me :)

  12. walt says:

    Sorry, Nicole: My first and second paragraphs weren’t supposed to be read as a single thought. It’s two comments in one.

    I think the Cites & Insights special issue explores the virtues and dangers of the name itself as much as I’d choose to explore them.

    The second paragraph notes some attitudes that have definitely popped up, some instances referred to in the special issue, some since them.

    I suspect you’re doing what needs to be done: Paying attention and building tools within your library’s means, and presumably seeing how those tools work/tuning them to work better. This is all good, this is what progressive (in the apolitical sense) librarians should be doing…and, albeit given different tools, what they’ve always done. Which is not to say the new tools aren’t powerful and worth attention: They are.


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