Monday, February 04, 2008

Library 2.0--- edited to add: Thing 2

I am trying to avoid going the easy route on my library 2.0 post by posting something banal-- although it is awfully tempting to post a generic sentence without putting a lot of thought into it.

My thoughts, though, fall somewhere between the hopeful posts listed on the page for Thing 2 and the newer Library 2.0 post on Blyberg's blog. I do have one basic problem with Blyberg's blog post that is required reading on the 23 Things page: the assumption that libraries aren't relevant. Circulation has, for the most part, steadily increased since 1990. How is that proving our irrelevance? But somehow, all the library literature out there acts like libraries are some decaying being. That bothers me. We fail as librarians in buying into the hype that libraries are dying on the vine, without actually looking at the situation very critically. I think that is one of the main failings of Library 2.0-- it's all about poking holes into institutions that may, yes, sometimes need a finger in their direction-- but it seems to be poking those holes at random with no real evaluation going on.

I don't think I'm alone in this frustration. I think a lot of librarians have tuned out of Library 2.0 for that very reason-- it's calling anything that came before it a failure. Libraries were not failing before this buzz word came into being. They were reexamining their place in the world-- as most institutions do.

That being said, I am cheerleading for this program, pretty much to anyone I can talk to. I don't think libraries were broken-- but I always think we should push ourselves a little bit. I've had the conversation a couple of times recently that some of the things I've enjoyed most in life were things that made me really uncomfortable, at first. I didn't know that I had the right rapport with children to work with them as a career-- but I ended up loving it. I wasn't sure I was technologically competent enough to move into an organization where I would be working pretty exclusively with tech staff-- but it has been endlessly rewarding. Libraries can challenge themselves to dip their toes in the waters a bit, too.

There are lots of excuses to avoid getting a little uncomfortable the biggest being that it doesn't appear library's primary patrons-- some people say boomers-- are using a lot of 2.0 technology yet. Then again, maybe libraries just don't know they are, because they haven't asked. Either way, acquiring this knowledge isn't that painful. And it makes it easier to assess what is actually out there, happening in your community.

Besides, I'm having fun. Aren't you?


Blogger Nancy said...

Thanks for your insight into It certainly sounds like a possibility. I'm thinking about creating a blog for library resources and the list of urls would fit perfectly there. This is a fun, useful project and I'm enjoying the challenge. Have a great week and stay warm this weekend.

8:30 PM  

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