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David Lee King

Confrontational Aspects of Library 2.0 Discussed



Better Update: Go figure. I post the update, check to make sure my update posted correctly, and find that everything’s ok again… so comments are working again.

update: for some odd reason, direct linking to this post and to comments is down for this post… bummer. If it doesn’t clear up soon, I might delete it and post again… we’ll see.

I have read Walt Crawford’s large piece on Libary 2.0; Jenny’s and John’s recent posts; and now Meredith’s latest post. Wow – for a term that’s been around maybe five months, there sure is A LOT of discussion going around about it!

Meredith, in her last post, says:

“And what Jenny Levine wrote about the “L2 opponents” who feel “confusion and fear” over Library 2.0 really surprised me. Jenny is a nice person, a rational person, and I was really surprised to see what looked line a line in the sand being drawn. I really hope that Library 2.0 isn’t a polarizing force in the blogosphere because we all need to continue sharing our good ideas and success stories.”

Walt says something similar: “I find it hard to look at the term and not see confrontation, but that’s me” (page 2 of his PDF).

I certainly can’t speak for Jenny (or anyone else in this conversation), but here’s what I saw at Internet Librarian 2005. Michael and I gave a couple of presentations on technology, staff, and training. At the end of the session, during the question-and-answer time, someone asked this question (swiping the wording from Michael’s post about it): “I’m not interested in new technology, and I don’t have time for it and i’m not one to play with technology..what about me?”

That was a hard question to answer for a number of reasons (and we did a fine job of it, too). But my point in drudging this up again is this: I don’t think Jenny is drawing lines in the sand. I don’t think the concept of Library 2.0 (however one defines it) is drawing lines in the sand. When I received that question, I wasn’t trying to draw any sort of line – I was simply talking about how to hire techie staff. Michael was talking about training those staff. No lines there… but lines are being drawn nonetheless.

Where are those lines coming from? Let me illustrate: The person that asked Michael and myself the question mentioned above had definitely drawn a line in the sand, one that basically says “I would really rather not learn anything new, but would still like to be a librarian.” I hear other questions when libraries are planning a “what’s new at the library” blog that start out with “why in the world would my library ever want to start something like that?” – I see a line drawn in the sand when I hear those types of statements.

What’s going on here? I think Library 2.0 is a library response to the larger social technology changes going on right now. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s an Automotive 2.0, a Psychiatrist 2.0, or a Teacher 2.0 (update – see my short post on this). Some librarians are noticing the change and are trying to figure out how libraries can capture the good stuff of Web 2.0 and use it to further serve our patrons. They have added a library-centric name to a larger concept that is appearing in our libraries, in our cities, and in the world at large (check Howard Rheingold’s blog for some of those mentions).

And yes – some individuals who don’t “do change well” are probably not doing well right now with current technology changes. But then, my guess is those types of people have ALWAYS drawn lines in the sand, and will continue to do so. A worthy goal for libraries and librarians should be to embrace those staff members and help them along the sometimes rocky road to change.

Who’s with me?

library 2.0, web 2.0

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://www.librarycrunch.com Michael Casey

    Thank you for your post. I don’t believe a single librarian blogger who is discussing Library 2.0 wants to exclude anyone, thinks public libraries are failures, wants in any way to be confrontational, or do anything to harm the role and future of libraries. What we want is to discuss and search for ways to improve library services and reach more users — without leaving any existing users behind. This is not an easy goal, but one that should be discussed. I really (REALLY) hope we can do this in a constructive manner that bears quality fruit.

  • http://www.librarycrunch.com/ Michael Casey

    Thank you for your post. I don’t believe a single librarian blogger who is discussing Library 2.0 wants to exclude anyone, thinks public libraries are failures, wants in any way to be confrontational, or do anything to harm the role and future of libraries. What we want is to discuss and search for ways to improve library services and reach more users — without leaving any existing users behind. This is not an easy goal, but one that should be discussed. I really (REALLY) hope we can do this in a constructive manner that bears quality fruit.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/1481565 David

    You are welcome!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/1481565 David

    You are welcome!