Sunday, September 9, 2007


let's try this again.

i read the posts by the pundits. some things i agree with. some things i don't. how do i feel about 2.0? my feelings on the topic are still in flux to be quite honest. like cotton candy it can be delicious (not in controlled amounts, but too much leaves you bouncing off the walls feeling a bit queasy.

what i like about 2.0 is that it encourages collaboration with the end user. wikis, podcasts, youtube, blogs, all encourage the individual to contribute, and through contribution to become part of a larger whole. to belong to a community. what does this mean for the library? i don't believe that library 2.0 necessarily translates into increased web presence and technological gadgetry. i believe it means that we should encourage collaboration with our patrons, thus building a stronger community within and around the library. what books do patrons want to see in our collection? what lecture series would they like to attend? what furniture would they like to sit on?

are there ways in which we can incorporate 2.0 technology into a 2.0 library? sure. we could provide rss feeds of new materials, we could open a wiki to allow users to review materials, and discuss materials with each other, we could offer im reference services, we could start a public library blog and provide content with instructional videos, or video booktalks. there's a lot out there that we could be doing, and a lot that we are doing.

what don't i like about 2.0? i don't like the technolust, and i don't like the sense of exclusivity that comes with it. sometimes it seems as though 2.0 is the buzzword of a club, a club that is very, very cool and i'm not sure i'll ever measure up for membership. i don't like the assumption that the web can be everything to everyone. i don't like that as we advance technologically doomsayers continue to listen for the bells tolling the death knell of the book.

as libraries search for ways to evolve in a 2.0 world (or a 3.0 world or an 7.3 world) we need to continue to consider our user. yes, technology is wonderful (it can also be terrifying and dangerous), but there are those who are unable to access all of these new toys that are being developed. what about our patrons who live in rural areas with only dial up internet access? what about our patrons who can't afford to have something like a computer in their home? what about our patrons to whom computers continue to be mysterious and somewhat daunting entities? as we strive to achieve 2.0 we need to remember that the ideology behind 2.0 is not merely technological, but is about inclusion in the process, whether it be digital or analogue.

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