Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The ongoing saga of Thing 16: Library 2.0

OK. This post has been nothing but trouble for me all day. I have written it and deleted it several times (on purpose), and accidently deleted what I actually wanted to say once. So here is the truncated version of what I wanted to say.

I refuse to believe that the advent of Library 2.0 will signal the downfall of print collections. There is just something about holding a book in your hands that no Kindle, IPod, or computer download will ever replace. I do not forsee a mainstream society where I move my virtual avatar to my virtual library to find virtual materials. Coming from the perspective of working in a library that is just barely into 1.0, the mere thought of Library 2.0 is sometimes scary. A year ago our collection was only 60% automated (thankfully this should be remedied by the end of the month when we will be FULLY automated). I still have charging boxes on my circulation desk. Many of my patrons are still mad they can't just write their names on the checkout card anymore. Many of my patrons are also mad that I have mostly stopped ordering audio cassettes because "those CD's are so darn tricky". Playaways? Forget about it....

Following is a quote from John Blybergs blog "11 Reasons Why Library 2.0 Exists and Matters which requotes Sarah Houghton:

“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.”

When I look at it from this perspective, Library 2.0 seems a little less scary. It doesn't necessarily have to mean completely getting rid of what we are doing now, it is just a matter of incorporating new ideas from our ever-changing world into our ever-changing workplaces. Isn't it easier to jump online to the library's webpage to find information about upcoming events? Doesn't it save time to check the OPAC from home to see if a book you are looking for is in? Isn't it convienent to use IM technology to ask a reference question? AND don't all of these things save librarians time in the long run? Tally up all of the minutes you have spent answers "What are your hours?" phone calls and get back to me. These tools give us more time to plan and implement programming, teach computer classes, and order new materials.

Really it is all a matter of going to where your patrons are. The fact is that an increasing number of our current and potential patron base can be found online. I think if libraries can establish a presence in people's virtual lives, the probability of them including libraries in their offline lives goes up as well.

1 comment:

Susan said...

I really like your post, and especially your final sentence. It is a great acknowledgement of the importance of both the online and offline world and their potential interaction. Of course there will be some people who won't do anything online and others who will ignore anything that is not online, but most people will fall somewhere in between.