Sunday, August 27, 2006

more on parenting...

Ever since attending Internet Librarian in October 2005, I've been trying to get a grip on the concept of Web 2.0 and social networking. As with most things, the best way to understand this phenomenon is to experience it firsthand. As a result, I've been putting myself out there a bit by creating this blog, a account, and posting pictures on flickr. I'd like to experience this more fully, but have been limited in the amount I've been able to participate by the increased demands I've experienced as a parent.

Paradoxically, one of the best discoveries I've made is the vast amount of networking happening between parents of young children. We are all dealing with this major life change, finding ourselves limited in ability or time to get out of our houses, but not yet willing to give up the social nature of our lives. In fact, we're all sort of desperate for the sympathy that we can only find from peers. I can't believe the sheer volume of parents out there in the social networking environment, trying to keep connected to someone-anyone- who shares our experiences.

While I consider this, I think back to a workshop I attended this past spring discussing libraries role in the 2.0 world. A librarian made an offhand comment about how this phenomenon really didn't serve the community, since it mostly served to connect people from disparate locals. Because of this, it really wasn't building a community in the traditional sense-- the community that pays library taxes. I beg to differ. I've been in contact with several other parents in my town of under 30,000, sharing our experiences as we watch our children grow.

What does that mean for the library? I'm not sure yet, but I wouldn't assume that all social networking our patrons engage in is happening beyond our library's borders. How does one stay at home parent find another in a world were moms no longer gather at the playground? How does one stay-at home-dad find another when all the media focus goes to stay-at-home moms? (I'll get into the rant about the proclaimed "death of feminism" implied in articles about stay-at-home moms another time.)

Anyway, some of my favorite places to observe other parents from afar, some of these local and some not:

Finally, if the way I celebrated my daughter's six-month birthday getting my husband to watch her, then running 5 miles, does that make me a bad parent? hee..hee...


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