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David Lee King

Am I a 2.0 Librarian and the Library 2.0 Spectrum



Recently, I was asked “am I a Library 2.0 Librarian” by someone… and that started off a flurry of thought, mainly because I don’t think there’s a simple answer to that question. For starters, you can’t answer the question by simply dividing the room into tech geeks and non-tech geeks. Knowing xhtml and css does not make one a Library 2.0 librarian! In the same way, you can’t divide the room by age – there are older librarians who “get it,” and younger librarians who don’t.

You can also play the “you might be a 2.0 librarian if” game. Let’s do it now – You might be a 2.0 Librarian if:

  • you have a Library 2.0 job. That one’s a no-brainer – if your job consists of implementing emerging web 2.0 and other trends, you’re probably a 2.0 librarian.
  • You don’t have the job title, but you implement emerging trends anyway. This could be as part of your job, or something you do as part of your professional interests/activities.
  • You don’t do it on-the-job, but you do it personally… you have a blog, a facebook account, multiple IM accounts, etc.

But this yes/no game only covers the more extreme examples. There are many librarians who aren’t extreme geeks. They don’t understand the whole range of web 2.0 tools, but they might understand parts and pieces of it. For example, they might understand the need for IM reference, or for a MySpace teen page.

Library 2.0 SpectrumSo – what I’d like to suggest is that there’s a library 2.0 range, or spectrum (click the image to see a larger version of the spectrum). Every library and librarian is somewhere on this spectrum – either on the more traditional, luddite side, or on the “participation, web 2.0″ side.

Library 2.0 Spectrum
My Library 2.0 Spectrum has seven points. In reality, there are many more! These seven points on the spectrum can help you understand where you are in relation to Library 2.0, and where you might be headed. Here’s an explanation of it:

  1. On the left-hand side of the spectrum are the Luddites. These are very traditional libraries and librarians who really don’t understand the need to change and/or adapt to emerging trends.
  2. next up is the librarian who grudgingly realizes that online databases and search engines are useful tools, and that email reference is a good thing to do.
  3. Here, the library/librarian discovers that some customers primarily visit the library’s website, and that the library has alot of non-traditional library usage.
  4. The Lightbulb – This is a major point on the Library 2.0 spectrum. Something “clicks” – The library/librarian realizes that the organization/librarian needs to change to meet emerging customer needs. They start trend-watching, and are ready to experiment. At this point, they might not know what to do next!
  5. At this point, the library allows staff to “do stuff” – ie., start a library blog, start pilot projects with emerging technology, and maybe decide to keep customer comments open. As a librarian, you are taking a Learning 2.0 course.
  6. At this point, pilot projects are finalized, and implementation is underway. As a librarian, you have embraced many of these concepts – you have an IM account, you regularly read blogs, you are not afraid to participate in the digital world.
  7. Honestly, I’m not sure anyone has “arrived” on the far right of my spectrum… but this side is for libraries that have embraced and implemented participation, trust, and community wholeheartedly. For librarians, you can talk turkey with Stephen Abram :-)

So… where are you on this spectrum? Where’s your library? How do you bump yourself up to “the next level?”

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  • http://www.librarianslibrary.com/ Chintha Nagabhushanam

    In future
    Do we have to work according to Library 2.0 ?
    anyway great presentation

  • http://www.librarianslibrary.com Chintha Nagabhushanam

    In future
    Do we have to work according to Library 2.0 ?
    anyway great presentation

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  • royce

    you people still talking about 2.0? (scoffs) I’m 2.5 baby!

  • royce

    you people still talking about 2.0? (scoffs) I’m 2.5 baby!

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  • Joanne

    I searched google for a definition of Librarian 2.0 and found your website. Checked my blog and found your message. I was curious how you were able to get into my blog and how you found me. Assume your website tracks all hits.
    Thanks for stopping by. Enjoyed the article.

  • Joanne

    I searched google for a definition of Librarian 2.0 and found your website. Checked my blog and found your message. I was curious how you were able to get into my blog and how you found me. Assume your website tracks all hits.
    Thanks for stopping by. Enjoyed the article.

  • davidleeking

    Hi Joanne – I’ll email you.

  • davidleeking

    Hi Joanne – I’ll email you.

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  • davidleeking

    Steve – as always, thanks for the comment! Not sure I see what's eating you.

    “Getting close to a religion” – how? I basically said there's no yes/no answer to whether or not someone's a 2.0 librarian, and instead it's all shades of grey – that answer is pretty far away from most traditional religions.

    Using books/iPhones… my use of those icons, admittedly, was a bit tongue-in-cheek. I originally thought of using Gorman's head on one side and Abram's head on the other, then thought better of that!

    But I'm definitely NOT saying that iPhones are for the enlightened – I think you are reading way too much into my use of icons. I used it as a visual example of something that's trendy, that's cutting-edge, that's VERY early adopter, that's very transformative. That's all…

    I hope this helps!