Saturday, October 15, 2011

Some Thoughts on Library 2.0

This week, I decided to check out the activity on Library 2.0. As I was reading through the different perspectives on Library 2.0, I thought about how libraries are far from being static entities. This world is always changing and libraries must change along with it in order to stay relevant and strong. I think that they have been remarkably adaptable in the face of such rapid technological changes. However, with all of the advances and transformations, there is still something about libraries that never changes. I cannot quite put a word to what that "something" is, but there is just a quality that remains there in the face of change and gives libraries that comforting sense of being familiar.

 After reading up a bit on Library 2.0, it is my understanding that this phrase/term essentially refers to making libraries more user-oriented, especially through the use of Web 2.0 technologies. It turns the older library model, which was more of a "one-way street," on its head and allows the patrons and librarians alike to work together and have a say in how the library functions. Moreover, it highlights the fact that libraries are dynamic, growing and more dimensional. As Wendy Schultz so poignantly expresses in 'To a temporary place in time...', "Libraries are not just collections of documents and books, they are conversations, they are convocations of people, ideas and artifacts in dynamic exchange. Libraries are not merely in communities, they are communities..." I think this sense of community and facilitating conversations is important when understanding what a library's mission is. It is so much more than just a building. It is where ideas, history, and people come together to learn and make a difference. 

"Away from the 'Icebergs'" by Rick Anderson was also an interesting perspective on Library 2.0 and brought up a couple of great benefits in using Web 2.0 technologies in the library setting. I certainly do think that in this age of the internet, people certainly do have greater expectations of accessing more and more information. Web 2.0 technologies definitely can help in make access to the overwhelming amount of information out there more feasible and manageable. Additionally, these technologies are useful in reaching out to patrons who may, for whatever reason, be unable to actually go to the library. Nowadays a person can even chat with the librarian without having to physically be in the library. One point Anderson brings up that I still need to really think about is the effect Web 2.0 has on the library's collection. Though I can see how computers and the the Web would have an impact on a library's circulation and the size of its physical collection, I am not so sure I see a library's print collection going away anytime soon. Call me old-fashioned, but I certainly hope it doesn't anyway. Accessing information via the Web is great, and Web 2.0 applications certainly help make that easy, but I do not think it ideal to completely overthrow the concept of a library collection just because Web 2.0 has come along.

It seems both an exciting and hectic time to be a librarian. I am interested to see where libraries are headed and where the conversations on Library 2.0 will go.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Teresa,
    I, too, was skeptical about Anderson's idea of ditching the print collection, but I'm starting to warm up to the idea if it's done incrementally - as more books are scanned into electronic versions (or become available in electronic versions), the less space we need to take up with the physical version. I love books and won't stop buying the ones I really like, but I have to admit that for storage, there is a limited amount of physical space to keep them. Plus, the more inviting we make the physical space, the more people will visit, and so if we have to give up some book space to do it (as long as those books are accessible in other formats), then I think the trade-off is worth it.