Saturday, November 19, 2005

Library 2.0

It's taken me a few weeks to catch up from Internet Librarian--the usual drill, so much excitement for projects, long to-do lists, wanting to get things rolling, trying to get the right people in the right room for things to catch fire, and you know, trying to keep all the projects we have already started up in the air. (Selecting a new CMS, designing a new Web world, working with a new Intranet system, community Web partnerships, e-audio books, link resolvers, hiring new staff--woo hoo! etc, etc, etc...)

Anyway, I just got around to reading, "Library 2.0 Movement Sees Benefits in Collaboration with Patrons." There are some great quotes from folks like Jenny Levine, and Jessamyn West, but my favorite quote about the impact of web 2.0 tools on libraries is from Aaron Schmidt: "Asking if these tools will replace librarians is like asking, 'Are power tools going to replace carpenters?'"

Overall, the article is fine, and certainly, it should be printed off and left lying indiscriminately around staff rooms, copy rooms, and anywhere your colleagues might stumble upon it, because I realize that library 2.0 has yet to be realized....but I admit the title makes me prickly. It's like writing, "librarians see benefit in books." Collaborating with patrons is the essence of what we do. Here's my wish: in the near future, articles will no longer focus on teaching "shy" librarians how to use Web tools, or figuring out how to "get them [librarians] to interact with patrons through blog comments, IM and Wiki entries," or about how IL is a bunch of librarians speculating how to "survive in a world of Web-based, user-created content." It's not a matter of librarians being taught how to use the tools, being cajoled into interacting with patrons with said tools, or speculating on how to survive in a world of (gasp) patron-created content.

Librarians will not have to be taught about new tech; we'll be the teachers and the developers of Web tools. Librarians will be the early adopters, and libraries (and library Web sites) will be the places where the public learns about new Web tools, and finally, librarians won't be thinking about how to survive in web 2.0 or web 3.0--they'll be the pioneers that are creating it, and creating new worlds for patrons to interact, create, and engage. This isn't just a's already happening in libraries everywhere, and I would argue that this is what Internet Librarian is really about. It's not about how to survive in the new world. It's asking, what new worlds will we create?


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