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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Library 2.0, Its Concept, & What it Means to Me

Library 2.0: The Concept

Library 2.0 is vague, although although I think everyone can agree that the concept is well founded. Libraries need to keep up with technological trends to stay relevant. Blyberg quotes Sarah Houghton's idea behind Library 2.0, "The basic drive is to get people back into the library by making the library relevant to what they want and need in their daily lives…to make the library a destination and not an afterthought." Library's need to use new technologies to achieve the concept Houghton has defined as Library 2.0.

The most interesting aspect of Library 2.0 is how this concept will be translated into actual change in the library and information science realm. This will be dependent upon how library and information professionals interpret this concept as it relates to their libraries' specific circumstances. Because there is so much room in this concept for interpretation and variation in implementation, the concept of Library 2.0 is dynamic and exciting.

What Library 2.0 Means to Me

There is more to Library 2.0 than only technology upgrades and keeping libraries relevant in the eyes of users, patrons, and possible patrons. Yes staying relevant to patrons and their needs is important and all libraries should pursue that goal with great haste. However, there is an implied, inherent message of the need for change with how libraries provide services and operate, and even their own organizational perception.

The theme of change riddles this week's readings. Blyberg discusses non-authoritative data and the usefulness of it, where libraries need to change their mindset so they may offer this type of information to their patrons, where user/patron generated information is hosted by the library. Casey and Savastinuk wrote, "the heart of Library 2.0 is user-centered change," where this is a model of "constant and purposeful change" and the ship is partially steered by patron contributions and needs. Miller and Chad frame Library 2.0 as the way libraries can evolve to deliver information and research services in ways their patrons expect. Considering these and the myriad of other descriptions and conceptualizations, I interpret Library 2.0 to mean great changes in how information professionals conceptualize what a library is and how this affects a library's future.

What do you think? Comments are welcome ...


  1. I think what you touched upon with regards to "user-centered" change is extremely important to define Library 2.0. Before the dawn of the Internet, libraries were the center of information authority. If the library didn't have it, it didn't exist (okay, a bit of a hyperbole, but I feel it fits). Everyone has learned (hopefully no more than once) that the Internet never claims to be an authority on anything (in fact, be extra cautious about sites that DO claim to be an authority), but the authority lies in the collective knowledge of the users who add to the Internet's content. This user-created content gives the Internet that sense of authority the library once held. The fact that now if the Internet doesn't have it, it certainly does not exist is something today's library has to content with. They no longer hold that position in our society, but they still function as such. I think libraries who attempt to allow users to provide or create content (like patron reviews of library services, books in the catalog, movies in the stacks, etc.) would get patrons more active with their local library and thus making it more relevant to them and their physical community. Just like Web 2.0 is defined by user interaction, Library 2.0 is also defined by how their patrons interact with their library.

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  3. I see Library 2.0 as a library following their demographic and what they are into. If most of their patrons are online, then the library needs to be there as well. After all, the library is a resource to the community.

    M brings up a good point too. Web 2.0 is defined by user interaction, maybe libraries should let patrons become more active with library sites.

  4. Your mention of change reminds me of Ranganathan’s Five Laws of Library Science, and in particular, the idea of the library as a “growing organism”. I agree that change is inevitable, and we must be adept to it for survival. An interesting thought that I’ve been tossing around is in the added value of new technologies. I think it’s important that libraries focus on their values, and the added value they can bring to people’s lives. I also think that it’s not just about constantly embracing new technologies, but thoughtfully selecting and nurturing the ones that will advance the lives of our patrons, and the relationship we have with them. At any rate, thanks.

  5. I agree with you, ebeckrest and m, regarding libraries needing to include their patrons more in their content and their Web sites, thank you for your posts. This is how libraries will stay relevant in the near and distant future. I think libraries need to let their patrons take a more active role in the content they provide their patrons, this will entail a huge change in the way libraries perceive themselves and how they perceive their role in society.

    Thanks for your post as well, librarylemonade. You have a clear vision of the exact actions and perceptions libraries need to focus on right now. Libraries are "growing organisms" that will continue to evolve as their environment evolves.