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David Lee King

It’s About the Community



Do you read Robert Scoble’s blog? It can be very interesting! Here’s a post I suggest you read. It’s a good intro to Scoble and his blog, and he also makes a great point in this post, too.

Scoble says: “… eBay is NOT about the technology. It’s about the community…” (OK – so most of the rest of his post is a rant, really – but it’s a good rant!).

Think about that statement… then think about your library’s blogs. It’s Flickr account. The YouTube channel you’ve just started. Your teen MySpace page. Who have you put in charge of those library services? Is it public service staff who work with community? Or is it IT staff who work with technology? Who SHOULD be in charge of it?

I’m not saying IT is bad or public services staff are the only people who “get” community. But I am saying these things:

  1. Websites and web tools have changed from brochureware into digital communities. That is, if you allow them to change into that.
  2. People are “doing life” online – not just finding citations
  3. People are actively participating and creating online – not just surfing.
  4. Many libraries take what can be vibrant patron communities and ignore them, relegate them to a back office with one person acting as a mere “digital janitor,” and treat these potential communities as secondary and ephemeral at best.

When your library started adding community-based services to it’s website (blogs, commenting, myspace, etc…), you landed at Plymouth Rock (or started a new Sim City – take your pick). How are you growing your community?

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  • http://web2learning.net/ Nicole C. Engard

    David, I totally agree! But what about those public service librarians who are “too busy” to maintain these tools? I know that that is the case in many libraries – the staff who should be in charge of the project claims to be too busy (or are too busy) and then the maintenance is passed back to the IT staff – who probably are too busy – and then the whole thing falls apart.

    I didn’t plan on that turning into that rant – but it’s the case in many libraries – sometimes it’s not that the IT staff wants to control the technology – but that they were the last resort.

  • http://web2learning.net Nicole C. Engard

    David, I totally agree! But what about those public service librarians who are “too busy” to maintain these tools? I know that that is the case in many libraries – the staff who should be in charge of the project claims to be too busy (or are too busy) and then the maintenance is passed back to the IT staff – who probably are too busy – and then the whole thing falls apart.

    I didn’t plan on that turning into that rant – but it’s the case in many libraries – sometimes it’s not that the IT staff wants to control the technology – but that they were the last resort.

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  • http://www.pvld.org/ Kathy Gould

    As a Library Administrator I think one of the challenges is that these online tools can be seen as one more thing that has to be done while the Librarians still try to staff the reference desk, answer telephone reference questions, do collection development, and increasingly also do programming. The question is “What are we going to stop doing to allow us to work on these new things?” Alomost every time we have stopped to really look at this question we have found things that could be stopped or redistributed…but you have to ask the question!

  • http://www.pvld.org Kathy Gould

    As a Library Administrator I think one of the challenges is that these online tools can be seen as one more thing that has to be done while the Librarians still try to staff the reference desk, answer telephone reference questions, do collection development, and increasingly also do programming. The question is “What are we going to stop doing to allow us to work on these new things?” Alomost every time we have stopped to really look at this question we have found things that could be stopped or redistributed…but you have to ask the question!

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  • kevin velaz

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  • http://myspace kevin velaz

    hi