Monday, September 15, 2008

Question 2 – Library 2.0: service for the next-generation library

Similar to the changing nature of the internet with web 2.0, the library environment is also changing. This change, commonly known as library 2.0, is discussed in the article ‘Library 2.0: service for the next-generation library’ by Michael E. Casey and Laura C. Savastinuk. This article talks about the changes, both physical and virtual, that libraries can make to become 2.0. Involved in this is a model of library 2.0 and the elements included in this.

Library 2.0 revolves around user demands and implementing changes to attempt to meet these. The article describes this change as “user-centred change” (Casey & Savastinuk, 2006). One of the major changes outlined in the model is the need to reach out to non- users. Although it is often difficult to reach this group, technology may assist by offering new services. Likewise physical changes, such as a designated teen area, can also help to bridge the gap between libraries and non-library users.

The leading element of library 2.0 is user participation in the services provided. As the article states “the library 2.0 model seeks to harness our customer’s knowledge to supplement and improve library services” (Casey & Savastinuk, 2006). This means consulting with both users and non-users about the level of service currently provided and potential additional services. Without consulting with clients it is impossible to know if the services provided are meeting their needs and wants, let alone what services need to be introduced to allow the library to better perform as an information service. Additionally, clients will feel more involved if their opinions are solicited and may be more likely to use services if they are tailored to suit the needs of each specific community.

Although Library 2.0 may give the impression that it is technology based, many libraries, especially in small rural communities, cannot afford to make major changes to technology. Instead, the article states that libraries should “consider physical functions that will better serve current customers as well as bring in new ones” (Casey & Savastinuk, 2006). Additionally some libraries may not be ready to make the change to apply library 2.0 in a technological way. An important part of the change to library 2.0 is the philosophy of the librarians. The article suggests that many librarians are not thinking in the right way for the change in technology and so implementing library 2.0 technology could be disastrous. For those libraries that are ready to introduce new technology to add to their existing services there are many free or inexpensive technologies available. These include word processing online tools. These are often more advanced than locally installed programs and some even offer the ability to work collaboratively, something that can be very helpful to teams working long distance.

A major part of the model presented for Library 2.0 by the article is regular revision of services offered and what services could be offered. While there is a tendency to plan but never implement change, the model for Library 2.0 combats this by suggesting developing schedules for changes to be made. This allows for review of changes made to see if they are viable and suitable. At this stage existing services should be reviewed as well new ones as they may have become obsolete or need to be adjusted to continue being useful to clients.

The article proves that Library 2.0 is not simply technological based. Services can be virtual or physical, as long as they add new services to what is already offered, especially those services that will reach non-users. Although it will take time and effort to introduce the important thing is for librarians to be open to the new way of thinking established by library 2.0 and for regular review of services to make sure that they are still suitable for the community the library serves and investigate any possible changes.

Reference List
Casey, M.E., Savastinuk, L.C. (2006) Library 2.0: service for the next-generation library. Retrived September 7, 2008 from

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