Why oh why Library 2.0? I didn't even like Web 2.0. Some hipster librarian just took the pretentious Web 2.0 and made it worse by applying it to libraries. I cringe every time I hear either one.

While I am not a software developer by trade, I understand that version numbers serve an important purpose, each version number identifies a very particular thing with a very specific functionality and feature set. Neither Web 2.0 nor Library 2.0 define anything in particular, both simply attempt to place a label on new ideas.

I do agree that it's time for librarians to start using technology in new and creative ways. However, I believe that many of these efforts will show only marginal returns. Are we really going to see a revolution in Millennial library usage because we open a Facebook account and start a MySpace page? I don't think so. For the most part, these endeavors are undertaken, I believe, by libraries who have no shortage of staff time to throw at such follly.

In the reality of our particular library system, we just don't have the time to instruct staff to maintain blogs or keep up a social networking presence. By most accounts, we don't even have the staff to check books in and out and handle reference questions. As a colleague of mine often says about marketing and promoting our library, why are we seeking to bring more people into the library, when we can't handle the existing load?

I suspect we'll have IM reference in the near future. Services like Meebo make it so easy that we've already done most of the technological work. Unfortunately, the problem always comes down to staffing. The technology has been in place and ready to go for weeks, now we just have to staff it.


I do agree with you, but like you say the tools of 2.o are useful to libraries...it will be interesting to see what the next ten years brings...

Cindy Gruwell
CMLE 23 Things Coach

February 21, 2008 at 8:38 AM  

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