Question for you guys/gals about the newness of Library 2.0

OK – so every once in awhile, I see someone mention in a blog, in an article, or even in passing, that some of the concepts grouped under the moniker of Library 2.0 aren’t really all that new – even that it’s business as usual… just under a new name.

I’m thinking it might be fun to tackle that one head-on (cause I’m a glutton for punishment, if nothing else). But to do that, I need some examples. What should be covered here? For example, I’ve heard people say “we’ve always been about change” or “libraries have always had changes.” I have also heard some librarians state “we’ve always been user-focused – what’s different now?”

Those are they types of things I’m looking for… so. If you have some good examples of questions you’ve heard or posts/articles you’ve read that state that Library 2.0 is “same as it ever was” please leave them in the comments to this post!


Q&A From My SirsiDynix Webcast

The SirsiDynix Institute presentation I gave with Thad Hartman on August 14 went well! Here’s a link to the presentation (audio and screencast/video). As usual with these webcasts, there wasn’t enough time to get to all the questions at the end, but Sirsi/Dynix sent me the questions that were asked… and here they are, with answers:

Question: Do you have use statistics to share with us for your online / digital initiatives? e.g. How much use or users?

Answer: Not yet – our new site isn’t up yet! On our current website, we have approximately 30,000 visits per month. We get an additional 30,000 visits on our various public blogs.

Question: How can a reluctant director be convinced to offer computer classes in the library? He feels that other than catalog instruction, computer classes are not the purpose of the library.

Answer: Placing gobs of patron requests for computer classes in front of manager’s and director’s and board member’s faces is one way to do it. Admin likes numbers.

Question: What sort of staff involvement is required to maintain physical and digital displays, blogs, etc.


Question: How much staff time is spent on the digital side of this project?

Answer: On the digital side – we have a number of staff working on our digital branch. We have:

  • Two full-time web workers, one focused on design and maintenance, and one focused on programming
  • We have a “Creative Group” made up of the two web workers and our two graphic designers. They focus on design and access issues
  • We have a Digital Branch Taskforce make up of about 10 staff who are making decisions on the redesign
  • And… we have all of our library staff, who will potentially be content developers (some already are).

Question: David, if you remember can you post the public library with the community wiki, so we can have a look please?

Answer: It’s the SCRLD Wiki Project, at – created by the Stevens County Rural Library District. Here’s what they say about the project: “The wiki project is dedicated to creating an online wiki guide to Stevens County, Washington, USA. We hope that all of you who know and love the area will contribute your knowledge to the wiki and all our visitors may learn more about Stevens County. If you like this site, please tell your friends! The more people who get involved, the better this guide will be.”

Question: Some communities, probably mostly in schools, are reluctant to embrace 2.0 technologies. How does a librarian change those attitudes?

Answer: Ultimately, you might not be able to change the school’s attitudes. You can certainly meet with school officials and show them “the rest of the story.” For example… if you block MySpace, and the local public library has a MySpace presence, the school is ultimately blocking the library (and that’s certainly NOT their intent). So education is one good way to tackle it.

Also simply providing access to 2.0 technologies yourself is a great way to tackle it – kids can’t get to 2.0 sites at school, but they can learn about them and use them at the library. You could even partner with teachers to do this – for example, my library has partnered with a local high school on Second Life projects – they supply the kids, we supply the PCs and the SL island.

Question: I have seen a lot of interesting ideas on the digital branch. How do you check if your clients use these new ideas? And how do you know they like it?

Answer: We ask and we observe. Asking = focus groups (which we are holding in September). Observing = watching what patrons use on your library’s public computers. At my library, we see patrons using FaceBook MySpace, gaming sites, YouTube, Meebo (a web-based instant messaging service), etc… so we know they are familiar with 2.0 tools.

Question: I browsed the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library website during your presentation, and I noticed that one way you connect to your users is by encouraging them to complete a reading interest survey and then providing them with a customized, personalized reading list. Has this been well-received by your users?

Answer: Yes! It’s a great service, and the patrons that are using it really like it. And like most libraries, I don’t think we have heavily marketed that service… but then, we are in the midst of writing a new marketing plan, too – so this will hopefully change.

Question: How often do you have to scrub comments – moderate?

Answer: We currently moderate all comments – I’m not certain how often we have to edit them (I don’t think we generally have to edit).

Question: How much have you used social networking sites, such as Facebook, to promote library services and to achieve the goals of your library? Please give examples, if any.

Answer: We currently use MySpace (here, here, here, and here), YouTube, and Flickr. One big goal of our library is to create a Digital Branch, and we are using these tools to help us do that.

And… don’t forget that this presentation was the first in a two-part series! Next up on September 18: Dump the Org. Chart: Get `Er Done!: Management for a 2.0 Library by Gina Millsap and Rob Banks.

The Annoyed Librarian is Annoyed With Me

{Coolness – I made the Annoyed Librarian blog! I must be doing something right!}

The Annoyed Librarian has been, well… annoyed lately. About Library 2.0. She doesn’t like the term, doesn’t like articles, videos and blog posts that claim to be manifestos, and she writes about it (on her 2.0 BLOG, complete with tags and blogroll… but then, that’s another story entirely).

And she quoted me yesterday. Here’s the back story: she recently wrote about Library 2.0, and I didn’t agree with her, so I left a couple of comments on her post.

So the Annoyed Librarian created another post, claiming “twopointopians” are “cultists who don’t like disagreement.”

That, to me, is hilarious in and of itself (hello! I disagreed with you and left a comment saying so!). I’m guessing she doesn’t read my blog… I always ask for comments, thoughts, other opinions, and sometimes even post those discussions. And I have disagreed with other twopointopians before, and have both posted my thoughts and have left comments on their blogs [and a quick aside – readers, feel free to disagree with me, and to post about it or comment on my posts – that’s what blogs are for!].

But… back to the quotes… in a comment on her post on 2.0, she was complaining that she was “reading the barrage of 2.0 propaganda from you and others” and that it “gets tiresome to a lot of people.” So I suggested that she didn’t have to read my blog. Or that she could write something else.

So she answered back, saying “it turns out I did write something. And the twopointopians don’t like it because it’s critical.”

Did you catch that? Listen closely – First she says twopointopians are “cultists who don’t like disagreement” and then, when I disagree with her, she changes tactics and says “the twopointopians don’t like it [her blog post] because it’s critical.”

AL – you can’t have it both ways! Do you WANT to have disagreement and criticism, or not? Because I will most likely not be agreeing with your ideas about 2.0. And how will you know that if I don’t leave comments on your post, or post about it on my own blog?

{And did I mention that the Annoyed Librarian got annoyed with me? Woo Hoo!}

Library 2.0 Ripples – Another Go at the Graph

Remember my Library 2.0 Spectrum post and graphic, and all the discussion that took place on my blog and on other blogs earlier this month? I asked for reader’s input and received some great responses – so thanks, you wonderful readers, you!

Here’s the finale of that discussion: I created a second image. I have to say, I liked my original one, disruptive though it was, and I liked Cindi’s video version as well – all show generally the same idea. But let’s try this new one on for size, and see where it gets us.

So – introducing Library 2.0 Ripples (graphic and explanation below):

Library 2.0 Ripples

Explanation of the Library 2.0 Ripples:

  1. Traditional Library: everything starts here.
  2. Augmenting the traditional library: This is where libraries realize that search engines, online databases, and email reference can augment their traditional services. They haven’t yet realized that these tools can be stand-alone services instead of simply augmenting traditional services.
  3. Change and Scanning the Horizon: Library realizes that 21st century services can stand by themselves. They start reading and watching trends, they realize that to meet current and especially future demand, they need to change/grow. The library is ready to experiment with emerging tools.
  4. Pilot Projects: The library starts experimenting with emerging tools. They take Learning 2.0 courses, they start blogs. Staff are allowed to “play” with emerging tools, start holding digital conversations, experiment with video, or start podcasting.
  5. Customer Participation: the library starts evolving their website into a digital branch that offers participation to customers rather than just information. Conversations start taking place via the digital branch, in many different forms. The library realizes that radical change=growth. The library trusts their staff enough to allow them the ability to interact via the digital branch (this is huge. Old models of website content sometimes went through PR. New models turn website content into conversation that gets added to rather than edited).
  6. Community Engagement: the goal. The library and the library’s local community are actively creating digital community via the digital branch. The library trusts the community enough to allow real-time customer participation. The digital branch is recognized as an actual “branch.”

More explanation:
I really liked Carrie’s idea (from comments on this post) – here’s what she said: “I see our evolution as a series of circles, like concentric rings, the heart and soul of librarians or libraries will always be books and knowledge, but the tools we use to share it and how we interact and network with the community expands in different ways out from the center of the library.”

So that’s where the circle/ripple idea came from. I’m calling them “ripples” because I was reminded of a rock tossed in the water when I read the circle idea. The hope is that this version isn’t as negative as my first one (ie., luddites), and focuses less on specific technologies (ie., iPhone) than the first one seemed to do.

The Library 2.0 Ripple is doing something else – like Carrie’s idea, everything starts with the traditional library. This isn’t a negative thing! None of this library 2.0 stuff would happen without there being a library 1.0, right? So the Traditional Library is at the center of the ripples. Then, ripples start moving outward towards the edge of the graphic. I honestly don’t think anyone has made it to the edge of the ripples yet (though we are headed that way).

So… thoughts?