Friday, November 2, 2007

All things in moderation

I thought that this post by Michael Casey and Laura Savastinuk on Library 2.0 was an interesting evaluation of where things in libraries are going. I'm going to voice my decidedly unsolicited opinion about the four points that these authors make about Library 2.0.

Library 2.0 is user-centric. It is a shift in our focus from having libraries decide what is best for users to letting users decide what they want, how they want to get it, and how we can best serve them. Are we doing enough to find out what our users want? It is imperative that we do the research before we throw programs and initiatives at them. Otherwise, we’re the one deciding what our users want and need – a concept that is decidedly not Library 2.0.
I'm all for finding out what our users want and how they want to get it. I'm also for attempting to guide our users towards quality materials and services and I'm afraid that often Library 2.0 chastises librarians who hold this belief.
Library 2.0 is constant change and evaluation. Once we’ve decided to implement a new service or program, we must continually revisit and evaluate it. Are we asking our users not only if they like it, but also how it can be improved to better serve them? Are we involving staff at all levels in the creation and evaluation process?
I wholeheartedly embrace this. I don't think that the library that I work in is doing nearly enough surveying of our patron's opinions.
Library 2.0 is not just about technology. No matter how much this is said, technology continues to be a leading topic of discussion. We should all be grateful for the doors to our users opened by new technologies. However, we must remember that while technology can be a tool to better serve our users, it is not the final answer to all of our problems.
Thank you for saying this. I'm a self confessed techno-geek, but I see on a daily basis that very few of our patrons are really ready for this. We can, and should work with them towards improving their technology skills, but if you don't know how to use email you really don't need to learn about Digg.
Library 2.0 is political. Politics tends to be a dirty word, but we absolutely must consider it. Politics, within both our organizations and communities, plays an unavoidable and undeniably important role in our path to better serving our users. We have to get not only our staff and administration on board – we also have to get our library boards, community leaders, and users on board as well. And the best way to do that is to talk to them – let them know that we all share a common goal of providing access to all kinds of information.
I'm wondering what the best way to talk to them is? What kind of forum would be best? How do we reach the widest spectrum of library users with this talk? Does anyone have ideas?

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