Thursday, November 26, 2009

23 Things #15

#15 of the 23 Things is: Read a few perspectives on Web 2.0, Library 2.0, and the future of libraries and blog your thoughts.

One of the articles about Library 2.0 and Web 2.0 that I read was called "Away from the Icebergs." It was written by Rick Anderson, Director of Resource Acquisition at the University of Nevada, Reno Libraries. I agree with this author's viewpoints regarding the need to change the ways libraries provide services to their users. He writes: "In particular, there are three 'icebergs' that I believe pose significant threats to our future success. All are remnants of a bygone information age, practices and attitudes that no longer make sense but which we have difficulty letting go." These "icebergs" are: the "just in case" collection; reliance on user education; and the "come to us" model of library service.

I especially agree with the last two of Anderson's main points; libraries need to create user friendly interfaces to their catalogs, because libraries don't have the resources to teach all customers how to use their catalogs. If our customers have a difficult time using our OPACs, then the problem isn't them---its us. Anderson also feels that libraries need to stop expecting users to come to them (both physically and virtually)---we no longer have a "monopoly" in the information marketplace.

Exactly, how we will "bring our services to patrons rather than insisting that they come to us" is the great challenge facing libraries in a Web 2.0 world. Anderson doesn't give much advice on this topic; he does say, however, that: "At a minimum, this means placing library services and content in the user’s preferred environment (i.e., the Web); even better, it means integrating our services into their daily patterns of work, study and play." I think this statement sums up the essence of Library 2.0: libraries need to find a way to meet the preferences and needs of users---instead of expecting users to adjust to our ways of doing things! Utilizing emerging technologies and the Internet, obviously, will be vital in this task. It is essential that libraries find a way to prevent customers from going elsewhere in the community or on the Web to meet their information needs. I think Anderson recognizes how necessary major changes to the way libraries provide services to customers in the future, will be, if we want to ensure our continued success in the Information Age.

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