≡ Menu
David Lee King

Basic Competencies of a 2.0 Librarian: Why Learn this Stuff?



There’s some good discussion going on related to my two posts on the Basic Competencies of a 2.0 Librarian. For example, the author of the Library Shrine blog says this: “Judging by the questions we do get, most of the competencies David Lee King suggest seem kind of unneccessary.” And an anonymous commenter said “What’s the point in knowing these skills, if they can’t be used on library computers? … So until the library’s computers are capable of supporting the tasks on this list, it’s ridiculous to ask librarians to know how to do these tasks.”

I didn’t make something clear in my previous posts, so I will attempt it now. When I created this list, I was thinking about librarians producing content. The library world is beginning a transformation from a single focus on content-storing-and-retrieval to a more varied focus where creating content is also important. This is happening for many reasons… one reason being the ease of digital content creation that web 2.0 tools allow. Librarians, especially librarians hired to do 2.0-ish stuff, are being asked to create content – write blog posts, create screencasts and podcasts, experiment with video, and teach other library staff how to do these things.

So that’s where my list came from… and that leads to the other question I received: why learn these things, when you can’t do them on public PCs? At my library, for example, they’re correct – no one can come up to a PC, plug in a microphone, and start recording a podcast (not yet, anyway – get back with me in a year or so). So why should staff learn to do things at the library that patrons can’t do?

Here are my reasons:

  • Professional development – to keep your skills up – what if you suddenly need a new job? Many libraries are starting to ask for these skills, and learning them will place you at the head of the pack.
  • saving time – some of these skills can actually save you time. RSS, for example – do you check new/hobby/library websites often? If you subscribe to those pages via RSS, the updated info comes to you, so you can read them at YOUR convenience. Just one example of many.
  • be relevant to the next generation – National trends show that people under age of 30 do 2.0ish things at home and on other websites (hence the popularity of Flickr, Youtube, Facebook, etc, etc, etc.). These people expect the same level of service and freedom when they visit the library. And (probably more important) they also expect the person who works with the library computers ALL DAY LONG (ie, a reference librarian) to understand 2.0ish things, and to be able to answer their questions.
  • teach the current generation – People older than 30, employees asked to do new things at work, etc… they need to learn to do these things. Why not teach them at the library? For example, Topeka teaches MySpace and Blogging Basics classes, and we’ll probably expand those offerings.
  • be a community leader – I’d guess that many people in Topeka have probably not heard of web 2.0 – but they HAVE most likely come into contact with it – RSS feed and Subscribe buttons can be found in many places on the web, many businesses are starting blogs, many people have used customer reviews on Amazon, etc – can’t we be the leaders? Can’t we be the resource people come to when they want to know more about a topic? Isn’t that what a library is for?

OK – those are my thoughts. What are yours?

,

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://librariansmatter.com/ Kathryn Greenhill

    Hi David. Maybe there is a groundswell of librarians who are not into this techie stuff discovering it and asking “why?”. Eight months ago they had no idea it existed, so it is probably progress…

    After hearing some similar comments last week, I tackled the issues of learning about emerging technologies when they don’t yet have application to your job in and .

  • http://librariansmatter.com Kathryn Greenhill

    Hi David. Maybe there is a groundswell of librarians who are not into this techie stuff discovering it and asking “why?”. Eight months ago they had no idea it existed, so it is probably progress…

    After hearing some similar comments last week, I tackled the issues of learning about emerging technologies when they don’t yet have application to your job in and .

  • http://librariansmatter.com/ Kathryn Greenhill

    Oh dear, looks like your comments box doesn’t like html tags. Here are the links to the two posts that discuss these issues

    Why shoud I learn about that when I’m busy with other stuff… http://librariansmatter.com/blog/2007/07/05/why-should-i-learn-about-that-when-im-busy-with-other-stuff/

    20 reasons why learning emerging technologies is part of every librarian’s job … http://librariansmatter.com/blog/2007/07/06/20-reasons-learning-emerging-techologies-is-part-of-every-librarians-job/

  • http://librariansmatter.com Kathryn Greenhill

    Oh dear, looks like your comments box doesn’t like html tags. Here are the links to the two posts that discuss these issues

    Why shoud I learn about that when I’m busy with other stuff… http://librariansmatter.com/blog/2007/07/05/why-should-i-learn-about-that-when-im-busy-with-other-stuff/

    20 reasons why learning emerging technologies is part of every librarian’s job … http://librariansmatter.com/blog/2007/07/06/20-reasons-learning-emerging-techologies-is-part-of-every-librarians-job/

  • http://austinpubliclibraryblog.blogspot.com/ Diana Miranda-Murillo

    I was invited to write a chapter of a book about the use of new technologies (Library 2.0) in Latin American libraries (I am from Costa Rica but I live in Austin TX now). In my research process I posted a message in one of the electronic lists asking for ideas, websites or any trace of the use of Web 2.0 tools in libraries in the region. A Guatemalan librarian wrote me back saying: why should we care about this technology?? We barely have libraries here! Two days after, another Guatemalan colleague reply talking about all the wonderful things she and her staff had done at her library with Library 2.0 tools. Once again, we are facing the same debate we had during the 90’s: computers?!?! What for? It looks like now is not about computers but about the use of the new technological tools. A good thing is that this debate is happening not only here in this country but everywhere, and through discussions and debates about topics like this our profession redefines itself and change for our benefit.

  • http://austinpubliclibraryblog.blogspot.com/ Diana Miranda-Murillo

    I was invited to write a chapter of a book about the use of new technologies (Library 2.0) in Latin American libraries (I am from Costa Rica but I live in Austin TX now). In my research process I posted a message in one of the electronic lists asking for ideas, websites or any trace of the use of Web 2.0 tools in libraries in the region. A Guatemalan librarian wrote me back saying: why should we care about this technology?? We barely have libraries here! Two days after, another Guatemalan colleague reply talking about all the wonderful things she and her staff had done at her library with Library 2.0 tools. Once again, we are facing the same debate we had during the 90’s: computers?!?! What for? It looks like now is not about computers but about the use of the new technological tools. A good thing is that this debate is happening not only here in this country but everywhere, and through discussions and debates about topics like this our profession redefines itself and change for our benefit.

  • http://www.designinginfo.com/multitypelibrarian Multitype Librarian

    I suggested these 3 reasons to be Library 2.0 in one of my posts:

    1. Using 2.0 technologies stretches budget and outreach
    2. Developing 2.0 tools produces training opportunities and models
    3. Be in the know

    Expanded information is on my blog at:
    http://www.designinginfo.com/multitypelibrarian/2007/02/why-be-library-20.html

  • http://www.designinginfo.com/multitypelibrarian Multitype Librarian

    I suggested these 3 reasons to be Library 2.0 in one of my posts:

    1. Using 2.0 technologies stretches budget and outreach
    2. Developing 2.0 tools produces training opportunities and models
    3. Be in the know

    Expanded information is on my blog at:
    http://www.designinginfo.com/multitypelibrarian/2007/02/why-be-library-20.html

  • http://www.davidleeking.com/ david lee king

    Multitype Librarian – definitely good reasons. Thanks!

  • http://www.davidleeking.com david lee king

    Multitype Librarian – definitely good reasons. Thanks!

  • Bo

    You state….”National trends show that…” and then state statistics. Most Librarians would have provided sources for these “National Trends.” I just hope in all this content producing that Librarians are advised to be doing now and teaching that the information is reliable. This example shows me Librarians have enough to do with providing good information.

  • Bo

    You state….”National trends show that…” and then state statistics. Most Librarians would have provided sources for these “National Trends.” I just hope in all this content producing that Librarians are advised to be doing now and teaching that the information is reliable. This example shows me Librarians have enough to do with providing good information.

  • Bo

    ps. and the sources they come from!

  • Bo

    ps. and the sources they come from!

  • davidleeking

    Bo – this blog is not a hard-core research paper. If it was, I would have certainly pointed to sources, like the Pew Internet research numbers, OCLC’s findings, etc, etc.

  • davidleeking

    Bo – this blog is not a hard-core research paper. If it was, I would have certainly pointed to sources, like the Pew Internet research numbers, OCLC’s findings, etc, etc.

  • Bo

    And that is one point, you make above, that people question about Internet sources. How good is the information? (See Consider The Source by Paige Taylor.) I am in the field of providing good information more than how to produce a scrapbook or diary electronically and then be expected to teach others how to do that. Nothing wrong with that, but that is ANOTHER field….called computer stores.

  • Bo

    And that is one point, you make above, that people question about Internet sources. How good is the information? (See Consider The Source by Paige Taylor.) I am in the field of providing good information more than how to produce a scrapbook or diary electronically and then be expected to teach others how to do that. Nothing wrong with that, but that is ANOTHER field….called computer stores.

  • Jenny

    I justed started working at a new organisation where the library doesn’t use web2. This after working with a group of librarians from another organisation who where embracing web2 as fast as they could. I can tell you, a library with out web2 is just boring!!

  • Jenny

    I justed started working at a new organisation where the library doesn’t use web2. This after working with a group of librarians from another organisation who where embracing web2 as fast as they could. I can tell you, a library with out web2 is just boring!!

  • http://idahoshs.blogspot.com/ Amy Vecchione

    There’s always the added bonus of community! Our community members are using it, so … we have to!

    I agree that it helps for our own professional development, and they really save time (esp. if content is in XML!) – but then there’s the part where it’s all actually really fun (at least for me!).

    Nice blog. Nice presentations.

  • http://idahoshs.blogspot.com Amy Vecchione

    There’s always the added bonus of community! Our community members are using it, so … we have to!

    I agree that it helps for our own professional development, and they really save time (esp. if content is in XML!) – but then there’s the part where it’s all actually really fun (at least for me!).

    Nice blog. Nice presentations.

  • Pingback: library 2.0 « jsmileytigg’s blog()