Web 2.0, Library 2.0, Librarian 2.0 Conversation

I just attended A SirsiDynix Institute Conversation: The 2.0 Meme – Web 2.0, Library 2.0, Librarian 2.0, and aside from the fact that our library doesn’t cater to teens and a lot of conversation focused on them, it was a great presentation.

The thing that stuck with me the most was the Librarian 2.0 discussion. The speakers felt that the 2.0 Librarian had to be a “flexible professional” and needed to have training integrated into their daily schedules. Librarians are busy busy people who are dealing with patrons all day long and they need to have a break – a fun break where they also learn something. One speaker (sorry I lost track of who was talking) had a great suggestion. Give your staff the go ahead to play! Let them play with a different 2.0 technology each day so that they can learn – don’t force the issue with admin mandated sessions – if you have a “flexible professional” they will use that time to learn about the technologies they’re hearing about.

I love this idea! I also agree with Michael Stevens who said that it’s the library school’s responsibility to mold future librarians into “flexible professionals”, people who will want to learn and will go with the flow – wouldn’t that be great??!!

Library 2.0 Debate

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.

I love this guy!

Okay – I’ve never met him – but I love reading John Blyberg’s comments on Library 2.0. I’ve mentioned Blyberg in the past in reference to his ILS Customer Bill-of-Rights, now he’s talking more about this & Library 2.0 in general.

I wish I could write like this:

Vendors need to stop assuming that they know what we want better than we do. For instance, find me a single library coder who does not want read-only SQL access. We're telling you want we want. If you want to know what will drive a library coder to coffee in the morning, it's the spectre of non-technical staff believing that they can hack together a “Library 2.0″ site on their own because they've been sold a bill of goods that tells them they can.
….
Ultimately, MLS programs are going to have to start offering CS electives and eventually requirements. The profession itself is changing with the industry. Databases and networks, increasingly, are information's domain and if we want to be part of the vanguard, and if we want to call ourselves the stewards of that information, we darn well better know how to work with it.

I totally agree with everything John is saying here and I couldn’t (in a million years) say it better. So go read the whole (very long) post.

Is your library ready?

I just read a great post over at LibraryCrunch entitled: 3 Degrees of Separation: Libraries, Technology, and Administration. I haven't read all of the other articles & posts that are referred to in this post, but it got me thinking about all the work I've had to go through to get my library Web 2.0 ready.

A line from a post at Tinfoil+Racoon caught my attention:

As much as I love learning about Library and Web 2.0 and finding ways to make technology work for patrons and colleagues, I'm not sure that many (most) libraries are ready to take even the baby steps suggested by Michael.

and I have to agree … but that doesn't mean we don't keep pushing.

The one thing that Michael (from LibraryCrunch) mentions that I can't empethize with is that the administration is the force to be reckoned with … in my library that is not the case. Our administration is all about upgrading, it's the librarians (not all of them) that needed the pushing.

Over the last 2 years I have slowly introduced bits & pieces of Web 2.0 technology into the library … our librarians are now doing more and more online … so much so that we just had a discussion with our IT staff about creating a back up machine for our Intranet in case the machine it's on goes down … without our Intranet (which includes modules to allow the librarians to add research links, research tips, blog posts, document delivery orders and much more) our staff would be crippled.

In January I will be releasing our first database driven Intranet, complete with Project Blogs, News Blog, Wiki pages, Shared Calendar and Membership module (specifically for our staff). I have spent the last 4 months sharing tid bits with different staff members, getting them excited about what they'll be able to do … and it has worked. I have heard from more than one librarian that they can't wait for the new Intranet – that it sounds “exciting”.

It took time, and a lot of pushing, but we are on the road to Library 2.0 … and the librarians are right … it is very exciting!