Saturday, November 17, 2007

the too and the oh (#15)

Happy Thanksgiving from Westminster, MD! Since I won't be here for Thanksgiving, my mommy invited my brother and my step-sisters and their families over for a big turkey meal. Tomorrow, I go to the Ravens game with my dad and brother. Tonight, I write about Library 2.0 on my mother's annoyingly Vista'd computer.

Believe it or not, I read every post every participant makes, keeping up with it through my Bloglines account which now has 133 feeds. I won't claim I read every post closely, but I like keeping tabs on what people like and don't like. It should be easy for me to write about Library 2.0, right? I should be one of its biggest fans, right?

When Stephen Abram talked about Library 2.0 last March, he spoke about many things related to the library experience and its users. One thing he noted was that Generation X, my generation, had been lost. For whatever reason, compared to other age-groups, we simply weren't fans of going the library. Part of my interest in wanting to bring Learning 2.0 to Queens Library had to do with wanting to figure out how to reach those that do not traditionally come through our doors. If we used MySpace, Facebook, Second Life, and YouTube, would we reach that set that considered the library irrelevant? Do they think of the library as anything other than storytime, books, and shushing librarians?

I think of Library 2.0 as just Tomorrow's Library Today or perhaps Today's Library Tomorrow. Even as much as we'd like to be on the edge, we're probably always behind. In "Library 2.0: Service for the Next-Generation Library, " the authors state, "Libraries have a tendency to plan, implement, and forget. Library 2.0 attempts to change this by encouraging the development of a schedule that includes regularly soliciting customer feedback and evaluating and updating services." Put simply, that's just good business and not quite the revolutionary statement some would have you believe it is.

Library 2.0 isn't just a library with a Web 2.0 mind-set and the accompanying technologies. It's a library that evaluates its communities needs and wants, builds its library resources, and utilizes the Web 2.0 toolbox (if necessary) to connect the need/want to the resource. In the same way I believe in the right book right person right time, I believe in right technology right audience right time. We must be careful to not introduce services and technologies that the customer will not use.

In "To better bibliographic services," John Riemer writes:

"Relevance ranking techniques should be driven by much more than the mere revalence of keywords in the bibliographic record and be fed by a wider range of metadata, such as circulation activity, placement of materials on class reserve lists, sales data, and clicks to download, print, and capture citations."

Now that's the kind of "too and oh" I can get behind.

1 comment:

Stacey said...

Put simply, that's just good business and not quite the revolutionary statement some would have you believe it is.

I think this will be one of my biggest challenges in starting my new career. Coming from a business background, I think like a business person. Who are we trying to reach? What do they do? How can we convince them this product will improve their lives? How do we get them to feel passionate about the product?

It seems to me that librarians need more business training. All of those questions are what we *should* be asking ourselves as a patron-oriented profession, but I often feel that we instead *tell* the patrons what they need instead of listening.