Is Library 2.0 and/or Web 2.0 really serving our patrons?

I saw and participated in a discussion on this on one of my email lists last week. I thought I’d take more time to write out my thoughts and responses on my blog.  Sarah posted this over in MaintainIT but it looks like she didn’t open it up for comments so I’m going to.

Here is part of the email I sent the list

One of the problems I’ve seen with 2.0 is the library runs out and gets a blog or facebook page or whatever and declares themselves 2.0. They don’t consider who they are trying to reach, what they are trying to accomplish, how they will accomplish it or measure success. We need to take the same approach to 2.0 that we’ve taken to library services for years. Not every tool will work for every library and community. Some libraries have wildly successful film programs or extensive tools for small businesses, but not every library does. We look at what our community needs and what works best for them. The same approach should be taken with your web tools.

My answer is yes.  I think there are many aspects of Library 2.0 (and web 2.0) that are providing better service to our patrons.  Right now I’m using a blog to create a new Readers Advisory service for our patrons.  Learning 2.0 & Learning 2.1 teach our staff about technology and terms our patrons are using that they might now have known about before.

I can go on and on with examples and arguments, but what I really want to know is What do you think?  Do you have some great examples of Library 2.0 or Web 2.0 is helping (or not helping)?  Is the objection to 2.0 that we’re placing a value judgment on it that we don’t apply to traditional services ( and by that I mean when we order the latest romance or horror novel)? Are we doing a disservice to our patrons by having a blog?  Are gaming events a waste of our valuable time?  What should we be doing with our time?

7 thoughts on “Is Library 2.0 and/or Web 2.0 really serving our patrons?

  1. Hi Bobbi,

    Embarrassed! Our blog is always open for comments, but for some reason the post about you was not. I’ve changed that, and soon, I’ll stop blushing out of embarrassment and annoyance, because I’m a big believer that a blog isn’t a blog if comments are not allowed.



  2. I think we need to consider what it means to be “library 2.0.” This doesn’t mean our library has a myspace page or a blog. What web 2.0 means is integrating and arranging user created content into the open web in a more meaningful way. To apply this to libraries it would mean we allow our patrons to integrate and arrange their own content into our library in a more meaningful way. For example, allowing patrons to comment on books or write reviews in the libraries catalogue, to allow user created tags, to allow users to arrange the material in a virtual “bookshelf” in a way that is more meaningful to them.


  3. P.C. – well said, 2.0 doesn’t just mean blogs or facebook or myspace, it means using the new social tools to provide connection, service and communication with our patrons.


  4. One of my colleagues and I taught some session on 2.0 this summer and what we tried to stress to them was that even if they didn’t use the tools, it at least gave them a chance to know that they were there and may help them rethink their traditional services.


  5. I think there are loads of good examples of Web2.0 – Library2.0, for me, is still a growing idea – and I’ll be honest in saying I’m not sure we’ll ever really be able to assess whether it’s ever really ‘here’ anyway as it’s too amorphous a concept.

    All great web2.0/library.20 stuff needs the considered approach you describe and it just is too easy to set up a blog and pat yourself on the back…


  6. I saw a recent definition of web 2.0 that may be useful here. It’s when we stop using the web to publish our own stuff, and start using the web to ask people to participate in our space *with* us. If we’re giving our patrons a voice or a place in our spaces, to what end? It always must come back to the library’s mission. And these days, there are many of them – there just isn’t a “one size fits all” solution.

    There’s the story of the Carver Bay Public Library that created a local gaming program that included access to online gaming (as a reward for various activities). The library’s mission was, very simply, to keep local kids in high school through graduation. The director found a way to use gaming access to drive to his mission; kids got access to gaming for doing homework or extra-curricular activities at school or in the community. Say what you will about this approach, the gaming program was offered because it directly supported the library’s mission, clear and simple. I think we need to do more of this sort of validating of all our services, not just those that have to do with the participatory web.


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