Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Week 6, Thing 15 - Library 2.0

Library 2.0 is a very strange creature. You can see those in the workplace discussing it and how to make it evolve. But has it reached the outside world yet? Have any of these libraries that jumped on the bandwagon with blogging, wikis, tagging, etc. actually helped their patrons?

Michael Stephens talks about controling "technolust" - the urge to use the technology just because it is there. There are several areas of Web 2.0 that I think can and should be utilized by libraries to help market themselves. There are other things that we should use what is out there but not feel the need to create our own And even more that we should just watch to see if they last.

I've seen many library blogs, but I wonder if anyone reads them. (I guess sites like Technorati and Delicious would let us know how many are linking and watching them?) I think blogs are a great way to get information out there. They are free to set up, easy to maintain, and just as easy to customize. Other social networking sites - like MySpace or Facebook - might also enjoy a library presence. BUT it is just as easy to create a blog and include a "Share" button (you will notice several sites suddently have "Share on Facebook" buttons) that a very nice and professional blog would be enough. The thing to understand is that these items cannot remain static. In the world of the internet, you can't let anything stay empty for long. Blogs must be updated weekly, DAILY even, if you want to maintain a steady stream of interest. Websites that stay static for any longer than that are forgotten.

Dr. Wendy Schultz talks about the library as a community, something I firmly believe in. I think that in our modern society, we have lost many of the community spaces we used to take for granted. Watch the old movies and tv shows of years gone by and characters talk about going to social activities held by the town. Cities still have a few places for gatherings, but I find that the suburbs struggle to create these kinds of spaces. Libraries have free events, free items, and are (hopefully) welcoming areas. As with all things, we should look closely at how we started before we go changing ourselves to fit the model of the future. We (libraries and librarians) need to make sure we have our "mission statements" in mind before we start logging onto every site out there and creating links to pages we don't plan on updating.

Web 2.0 may be easy to create, but it takes a little bit of time and effort to make a website or blog that is worthwile. Otherwise, you end up looking like that 50 year old high school teacher that keeps saying words he thinks are "cool" but it's very obvious to the students in his class that he is completely out of touch. In society, especially the internet culture, this is the kiss of death. So if you are going to take a step into Web 2.0, don't just know where your foot will land, but know where you are heading. Because the visitors you get to your online spaces will be more tech saavy than you, and they can spot a "poser" before the page is fully loaded.
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