Library 2.0

The Web 1.0 world was a world of static links and pages. Enter Web 2.0. Today, the web is a budding, buzzing network of social interactivity. The web of today represents a burgeoning conversation, with users from all ends of the earth providing the impetus and inertia driving the news and commentaries of today.

Library 2.0 is all about libraries leveraging these platforms in order to help better serve their communities; meeting patrons “where they are” and “when they are,” beyond the walls and stacks of the physical library structure and into the virtual spaces of society. The online “conversation” will take place, with or without your library’s presence. Better, though, to seize these tools and use them for the good of your library’s “image” as well as for the good of your local community. The social layer of the world is presently interlaced with the web world, and libraries constitute powerful hubs for knowledge and resources to help assist communities in their endeavors.

Library 2.0 also makes good economic sense. Times are hard, and resources are strained. Web 2.0 tools are, more often than not, free, easy to use, and do not require additional software/downloads on the part of the end user. Web 2.0 tools can serve a myriad of purposes, from education, to event notification, to resource distribution, to “you name it.”

Libraries should utilize these tools; however, tools are only means to ends. A library should set clear goals before entering into any online setting. Web 2.0 services may be easy to initiate, but they are not particularly easy to maintain. While setting one’s goals, patrons and their needs should be kept in mind; for, after all, a service that is not “used” is not a Web 2.0 service. Interactivity and relevance are key to the success of a Library 2.0 endeavor.

Concerns also exist for the Library of the Web 2.0 world. Who will update the materials? Staff members have their prescribed duties, and these duties often take up the bulk of their days. Library 2.0 activities are frequently activities that are “beyond” one’s paid duties.  And what about if that individual leaves? Who will host the data? If they are hosted on another site, is there a risk that one’s data might be lost? Who will monitor the activities on these sites? Is there a concern that users may post inappropriate materials to the online service?

I believe that there is little to lose in adopting Web 2.0 technologies and much to gain. In large part, a library’s success in this forum involves its ability to set goals and then enact those goals, all while keeping its audience in mind.

References:

Casey, M., Stephens, M. (2008, Oct. 15). Transparent library: Library PR 2.0. Library Journal, 24. 

Crawford, W. (2011). Library 2.0 five years later. Online, 35(2), 58-60. 

Strong, M. L., Dunnington, A. (2009) Can u wiki, Flickr, and blog?. Louisiana Libraries, 72(2), 15-17.
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