≡ Menu
David Lee King

Not a Destination



I’ve been working on an upcoming presentation, and I was looking for a way to discuss the concept of web as platform and how that might impact libraries… and came up with this:

Before Web 2.0

Before web 2.0, people came to the library to do stuff at the library – they came in to check out books, read magazines, do research, etc. Even with computer use and the “old web,” they still came to the library and probably thought they were doing stuff at the library. The library was a destination – a place to visit.
After Web 2.0

But with the advent of web 2.0 and especially with the concept of web as platform, this has changed. Now, people come to the library to access the web… and then [digitally] go somewhere else. They aren’t really using the library’s resources (well, other than the internet line). They possibly think of themselves as going somewhere else – be that Runescape or Facebook, YouTube or various blogs.In this emerging model, the library is no longer a destination.Instead, the library provides access to a destination… outside of the library!

Just a little shift to ponder!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://pegasuslibrarian.blogspot.com/ Iris

    I agree with the “providing access to a destination” part of your conclusion, but I think it can be added to rather than a replacement of the library as a destination of itself IF you simply mean “destination” as “a place to go” and not “the place where my resources are.” We’ve noticed increasing traffic in our library, not decreasing. But the usage of the space has changed. Our books and journals and other “stuff” is not necessarily the main draw (as you point out). Instead, the main draw is that all of these things, plus help using them, plus access to other stuff, plus computers, plus computer help, plus your friends, plus comfy couches are all in one place and ready for use. We also collect things like datasets and ejournals and eReserves that you can’t see when you walk into the building, but that are only accessible because of us.

    So yes, I agree that the materials we own are not the only important and defining things about our library. And yet, it’s more complicated than that when you start talking about “destinations.” Of all buildings on campus, the library gets to the most use. It’s a destination. But it’s not the ONLY destination, and the people who come into the building aren’t ONLY using what we provide. Which, I’m sure, is what you were saying.

  • http://pegasuslibrarian.blogspot.com/ Iris

    I agree with the “providing access to a destination” part of your conclusion, but I think it can be added to rather than a replacement of the library as a destination of itself IF you simply mean “destination” as “a place to go” and not “the place where my resources are.” We’ve noticed increasing traffic in our library, not decreasing. But the usage of the space has changed. Our books and journals and other “stuff” is not necessarily the main draw (as you point out). Instead, the main draw is that all of these things, plus help using them, plus access to other stuff, plus computers, plus computer help, plus your friends, plus comfy couches are all in one place and ready for use. We also collect things like datasets and ejournals and eReserves that you can’t see when you walk into the building, but that are only accessible because of us.

    So yes, I agree that the materials we own are not the only important and defining things about our library. And yet, it’s more complicated than that when you start talking about “destinations.” Of all buildings on campus, the library gets to the most use. It’s a destination. But it’s not the ONLY destination, and the people who come into the building aren’t ONLY using what we provide. Which, I’m sure, is what you were saying.

  • Joyce

    I find it interesting that you assume that people are coming to the library at all to take advantage of 2.0 technologies. You don’t require that they come to the library to utilize 2.0 library services, do you?

    When I think of the physical library building today, I’m not thinking of it as the place to “jump off to” 2.0 technologies. I would think of a **library web portal** or **a content management system such as Drupal** as a place to jump off to those technologies. This means I can access the library and these resources 24 hours a day, whether I’m on campus, in the library, or in a at home in pjs and bunny slippers.

    I mean, isn’t the whole of point of social networking technologies being able to access resources, collaborate and communicate no matter where you are? Implying that I need to go to the physical library building to take advantage of library 2.0 is rather limiting, I think.

  • Joyce

    I find it interesting that you assume that people are coming to the library at all to take advantage of 2.0 technologies. You don’t require that they come to the library to utilize 2.0 library services, do you?

    When I think of the physical library building today, I’m not thinking of it as the place to “jump off to” 2.0 technologies. I would think of a **library web portal** or **a content management system such as Drupal** as a place to jump off to those technologies. This means I can access the library and these resources 24 hours a day, whether I’m on campus, in the library, or in a at home in pjs and bunny slippers.

    I mean, isn’t the whole of point of social networking technologies being able to access resources, collaborate and communicate no matter where you are? Implying that I need to go to the physical library building to take advantage of library 2.0 is rather limiting, I think.

  • davidleeking

    Joyce – good point. Let me clarify… I was thinking of the patrons that visit my library every day to use our computers. They aren’t using library services – they are connecting to other stuff.

  • davidleeking

    Joyce – good point. Let me clarify… I was thinking of the patrons that visit my library every day to use our computers. They aren’t using library services – they are connecting to other stuff.

  • Joyce

    Oh.

    Well, then, in the immortal words of the late, great Gilda Radner as Emily Latella: “Never mind.” :)

  • Joyce

    Oh.

    Well, then, in the immortal words of the late, great Gilda Radner as Emily Latella: “Never mind.” :)

  • Richard Glady

    I really believe that we can make the “library” a destination-online destination that is, if we are willing to step out othe traditional OPAC and create a metaversal web site that allows our patrons to access all their Web 2.0 sites as well as their traditional web sites like e-mail. If we can make our destination fun and easy, we can compete with Second Life, Myspace, or Facebook.

  • Richard Glady

    I really believe that we can make the “library” a destination-online destination that is, if we are willing to step out othe traditional OPAC and create a metaversal web site that allows our patrons to access all their Web 2.0 sites as well as their traditional web sites like e-mail. If we can make our destination fun and easy, we can compete with Second Life, Myspace, or Facebook.

  • http://stevelawson.name/seealso/ Steve Lawson

    What is interesting to me is the idea that the technology is just highlighting a characteristic of the library that has always (or often, or for a long time) been the case. After all, books take you “someplace else” in a way that is similar to the web.

  • http://stevelawson.name/seealso/ Steve Lawson

    What is interesting to me is the idea that the technology is just highlighting a characteristic of the library that has always (or often, or for a long time) been the case. After all, books take you “someplace else” in a way that is similar to the web.

  • davidleeking

    Steve – great point! I actually came really close to mentioning that in the original post, then realized I’d need to do more writing/explaining than I cared to do… (busy day).

    But yes – there IS a similarity there.

  • davidleeking

    Steve – great point! I actually came really close to mentioning that in the original post, then realized I’d need to do more writing/explaining than I cared to do… (busy day).

    But yes – there IS a similarity there.

  • Pingback: Not a Destination : David Lee King « Suggested Reading

  • kelly

    I disagree. The academic library in which I work is a major destination for group work, research, *and* all of the web 2.0 stuff you mentioned. The public library in my town is also still a destination – every time I go, there is a fairly steady stream of people checking out books and DVDs, as well as attending book discussions, story time, and other events. Web 2.0 tools are resources that we are providing to patrons, so they are still using our resources. It’s not so black and white. If it were, we could just set up drive through computer kiosks and forget about all the other services and resources we offer patrons. We are not just buildings housing computers… yet.

  • kelly

    I disagree. The academic library in which I work is a major destination for group work, research, *and* all of the web 2.0 stuff you mentioned. The public library in my town is also still a destination – every time I go, there is a fairly steady stream of people checking out books and DVDs, as well as attending book discussions, story time, and other events. Web 2.0 tools are resources that we are providing to patrons, so they are still using our resources. It’s not so black and white. If it were, we could just set up drive through computer kiosks and forget about all the other services and resources we offer patrons. We are not just buildings housing computers… yet.

  • Francesco Giacanelli

    Hi,
    I am a librarian in a small documentation centre in Rome (Italy). I think the point is also to distinguish among the field of studies (expecially in the case of academic libraries): are patrons who come from humanistic studies used to use library services and resources differently than patrons who come from scientific fields?
    Thanks for attention (sorry for my bad english).
    Francesco

  • Francesco Giacanelli

    Hi,
    I am a librarian in a small documentation centre in Rome (Italy). I think the point is also to distinguish among the field of studies (expecially in the case of academic libraries): are patrons who come from humanistic studies used to use library services and resources differently than patrons who come from scientific fields?
    Thanks for attention (sorry for my bad english).
    Francesco

  • Lissa

    I think for many of the teen patrons I observe using Runescape and Myspace at our library, the library is *THE* destination, because they are using several computers collaboratively, moving from station to station, visitng with friends WHILE using the computers. The teens I observe here (I am in Topeka) are not using the library’s computers to escape from the library, many times they are using the computers to e-mail or chat with other friends who are here in the library. If a magic wand gave each of these teens a home computer and wifi, they would still be here every afternoon enjoying our beautiful safe building, the clean restrooms and water fountains, the cafe, and the company of their friends WHILE they use the computers here. I think that some people in the world use the Internet to go somewhere else, but I would guess that the majority of people I observe using 2.0 type sites are using them in the company of friends here at the library, and using them simultaneously as both virtual and physical social networking at the same time. Has anyone else noticed this in their libraries?

  • Lissa

    I think for many of the teen patrons I observe using Runescape and Myspace at our library, the library is *THE* destination, because they are using several computers collaboratively, moving from station to station, visitng with friends WHILE using the computers. The teens I observe here (I am in Topeka) are not using the library’s computers to escape from the library, many times they are using the computers to e-mail or chat with other friends who are here in the library. If a magic wand gave each of these teens a home computer and wifi, they would still be here every afternoon enjoying our beautiful safe building, the clean restrooms and water fountains, the cafe, and the company of their friends WHILE they use the computers here. I think that some people in the world use the Internet to go somewhere else, but I would guess that the majority of people I observe using 2.0 type sites are using them in the company of friends here at the library, and using them simultaneously as both virtual and physical social networking at the same time. Has anyone else noticed this in their libraries?

  • Terry

    As a reference librarian, I can tell you that people are still using our resources. In fact, I would venture to say that 90% of our current users have no idea what Web 2.0 is. Even if they are using the Web, they are using a computer, which is a tool (library resource) for gathering information. Maybe in the “olden days,” a patron would come in and use a physical map to find his/her way to an event, where now they will print off a Mapquest copy and leave the library. But, the library is still a destination to find information. I don’t think it has really changed because of 2.0. The reality of library users just doesn’t yet reflect the emerging model.

  • Terry

    As a reference librarian, I can tell you that people are still using our resources. In fact, I would venture to say that 90% of our current users have no idea what Web 2.0 is. Even if they are using the Web, they are using a computer, which is a tool (library resource) for gathering information. Maybe in the “olden days,” a patron would come in and use a physical map to find his/her way to an event, where now they will print off a Mapquest copy and leave the library. But, the library is still a destination to find information. I don’t think it has really changed because of 2.0. The reality of library users just doesn’t yet reflect the emerging model.

  • davidleeking

    Lissa: yes, I think you’re right in the physical sense – we are the destination. But I was thinking about digital destinations. Even though the kids playing Runescape are interacting with each other, they are visiting not tscpl, but Runescape.

    but still – they are sorta in BOTH places at the same time – the physical building, with their preferred community.. and in Runescape/Myspace etc. Interesting…

  • davidleeking

    Lissa: yes, I think you’re right in the physical sense – we are the destination. But I was thinking about digital destinations. Even though the kids playing Runescape are interacting with each other, they are visiting not tscpl, but Runescape.

    but still – they are sorta in BOTH places at the same time – the physical building, with their preferred community.. and in Runescape/Myspace etc. Interesting…

  • davidleeking

    Terry: of course people are still using our resources! And that’s great. But whether or not they know what a 2.0 site is isn’t really the issue. Because if you walk around right now, you will see Runescape, MySpace, even Amazon and Ebay – all sites with interaction, participation, 2.0 services, etc. So they are using them whether they know it or not.

    My point was that they aren’t coming in to use traditional library resources. Instead, those users are coming in and then using someone else’s services – like MySpace. They are interacting within MySpace – but using us as a jumping-off point to get there.

    And again – just thinking out loud. I do that with this blog quite often!

  • davidleeking

    Terry: of course people are still using our resources! And that’s great. But whether or not they know what a 2.0 site is isn’t really the issue. Because if you walk around right now, you will see Runescape, MySpace, even Amazon and Ebay – all sites with interaction, participation, 2.0 services, etc. So they are using them whether they know it or not.

    My point was that they aren’t coming in to use traditional library resources. Instead, those users are coming in and then using someone else’s services – like MySpace. They are interacting within MySpace – but using us as a jumping-off point to get there.

    And again – just thinking out loud. I do that with this blog quite often!

  • Terry

    Well, I still disagree. A lot of people are still using traditional services. And for that matter, isn’t a person using someone else’s “services” whenever they read an encyclopedia or a work of fiction or a self-help book? The Web is just the latest medium for many of the same age-old human needs. And thank goodness we have it! But I just don’t see the library as a conduit for “going somewhere else.” We will always be a place for people to think and explore and expand their worlds. Thanks for letting me think out loud on your blog, too. ;)

  • Terry

    Well, I still disagree. A lot of people are still using traditional services. And for that matter, isn’t a person using someone else’s “services” whenever they read an encyclopedia or a work of fiction or a self-help book? The Web is just the latest medium for many of the same age-old human needs. And thank goodness we have it! But I just don’t see the library as a conduit for “going somewhere else.” We will always be a place for people to think and explore and expand their worlds. Thanks for letting me think out loud on your blog, too. ;)

  • Greg

    I for one am a strong believer in synthesis. For what it’s worth, I think the strength of libraries today is their willingness to embrace the “old” (books) along with the “new” (emerging technologies). This synthesis of ideas and methods has made for a wonderful thing in libraries. While I long for the library of my youth that was nothing more than rows and rows of books with a few nooks and crannies to read in, I’m more than happy to step away from that and into the digital realm too, and am glad to have a library where I can still do both. I’m just writing to say I agree. Libraries are not a destination — they’re a portal. But, then again, they always have been.

  • Greg

    I for one am a strong believer in synthesis. For what it’s worth, I think the strength of libraries today is their willingness to embrace the “old” (books) along with the “new” (emerging technologies). This synthesis of ideas and methods has made for a wonderful thing in libraries. While I long for the library of my youth that was nothing more than rows and rows of books with a few nooks and crannies to read in, I’m more than happy to step away from that and into the digital realm too, and am glad to have a library where I can still do both. I’m just writing to say I agree. Libraries are not a destination — they’re a portal. But, then again, they always have been.

  • http://freerangelibrarian.com/ K.G. Schneider

    The point about synthesis is key. The last time I used my library, I took out a big stack of books. I can’t do that anywhere else.

  • http://freerangelibrarian.com K.G. Schneider

    The point about synthesis is key. The last time I used my library, I took out a big stack of books. I can’t do that anywhere else.

  • Pingback: 2.0: Benchmarking and ruminating « Library Alchemy

  • Rob

    I think it is interesting that a number of us are looking at this issue in different ways. It indicates to me that we are no different than our public who see and value the library in a variety of ways. I think a lot of us use the library to meet our needs at the time. For me that is one of the exciting aspects of the 2.0 stuff. It provides additional alternatives or new and different ways to get at stuff; some of it traditional some of it not. The neat part is that we can more or less do what we want when we want. Which means I can still get my stack of books, read in a quiet corner or do stuff at home at 3:00 am all at the same library or through the same library. For those of us that wax nostalgic for the old days, it makes you wonder what our current kids will remember about the library of their childhood. Will they think fondly of the days when they had to go to the library to play a “clunky” game called Runescape and laugh at how primitive it all was?

  • Rob

    I think it is interesting that a number of us are looking at this issue in different ways. It indicates to me that we are no different than our public who see and value the library in a variety of ways. I think a lot of us use the library to meet our needs at the time. For me that is one of the exciting aspects of the 2.0 stuff. It provides additional alternatives or new and different ways to get at stuff; some of it traditional some of it not. The neat part is that we can more or less do what we want when we want. Which means I can still get my stack of books, read in a quiet corner or do stuff at home at 3:00 am all at the same library or through the same library. For those of us that wax nostalgic for the old days, it makes you wonder what our current kids will remember about the library of their childhood. Will they think fondly of the days when they had to go to the library to play a “clunky” game called Runescape and laugh at how primitive it all was?

  • http://www.simplycharly.com/ Charles

    I doubt that many librarians would dispute the value of the Internet in research. It provides access to numerous reputable free or low-cost databases, journals, books, reports, and other publications as well as to many important commercial resources. Oftentimes, the Internet serves as the sole source of information, or offers the shortest path to an answer.

    Conversely, libraries house mounds of materials that are not digitized, and likely never will be – at least, not in my lifetime. Libraries give patrons access to databases that sometimes would be otherwise unavailable, or available at a significantly higher cost. Libraries also may provide a greater number of authoritative resources in certain subjects.

  • http://www.simplycharly.com Charles

    I doubt that many librarians would dispute the value of the Internet in research. It provides access to numerous reputable free or low-cost databases, journals, books, reports, and other publications as well as to many important commercial resources. Oftentimes, the Internet serves as the sole source of information, or offers the shortest path to an answer.

    Conversely, libraries house mounds of materials that are not digitized, and likely never will be – at least, not in my lifetime. Libraries give patrons access to databases that sometimes would be otherwise unavailable, or available at a significantly higher cost. Libraries also may provide a greater number of authoritative resources in certain subjects.

  • Pingback: the strange librarian » Internet Desintation

  • Pingback: Make it the destination | boxedfool.com