Thursday, November 3, 2011

Exhilaration, Exhaustion, and an Idea I'm Apparently Very Fond Of

Much of the general thought on Web 2.0 seems to agree on one thing--it's exhilarating.  I'd add that it's somewhat exhausting.  Not necessarily a bad thing; it's a workout for the mind.  But as with any workout regimen, I think it has to be approached carefully to avoid burnout or injury.

These dangers are especially true when it comes to thinking about Library 2.0.  We have to remember that, in whatever version of a library we may someday find ourselves, that not everyone can or wants to be as technologically cutting-edge as it's currently faconnable in the LIS world to be.

Not to say that we should shy away.  We ought to put every resource that we can out in front of our users, guide them to new ways of doing and thinking that might solve their problems, and teach them to become fluent in the ones they choose to use.  But we have to be very careful not to lose them in the flood of apps, services, digital revamps, and buzzwords.  I know I've been looking at some of these Web 2.0 activities skeptically, but a lot of it has been devil's advocacy inspired by initial momentary setbacks.  These are the problems we're going to have to help our users navigate through.  We have to remember that we're to serve as facilitators to information and technology use, not merely as passive stewards or docents.  A lot of people will have a lot of trouble with these newfangled ways of doing things, and a lot of them will be turned off by less-than-stellar first impressions; we have to be ready to pick up the pieces without hesitation, try to turn those frowns upside-downs, if you will.  There will be a lot of that.  It will probably be more annoying, after the ten-dozenth time, to have to help someone untangle Zotero than it is to constantly direct traffic to the bathrooms--and we know how prickly librarians get about that. But I think most of us will soldier on, content in the knowledge that at least we're helping with an information need.  (Maybe we should look at the bathroom thing from a similar perspective: it's hard to engage in worthwhile lifelong learning when you have to pee.  True fact.)

So, exhilarating and exhausting--that's Web 2.0 and that's Library 2.0.  Both good things--both great things.  We're poised to be the psychic personal trainers of the 21st Century and beyond and I'm thrilled with the responsibility.  No doubt sooner or later some library will be posting "8-Minute Apps" videos on YouTube.  Oh, actually, that's hilarious.  I slay me.  Nobody steal that  Totally copyrighted !!! :-)


  1. I am lulzzing away here at my 5:13 a.of.the.freaking.m keyboard; thank you for BOTH delicious early-morning chuckles; ma blood's flowing, and the day is now more begun!

    And your POINT is also well-taken.

  2. Going through the snags and setbacks has been a learning experience I won't soon forget. You make a good point in that patrons may very well go through the same frustrations. And you're right, we can't (and likely shouldn't) force whatever tool we deem awesome on all. For awesomeness is in the eye of the beholder. We need rather to be in tune with what their needs are and help them in ways that are most suitable at providing a solution.

  3. In the future as Librarians, it will be interesting to see how many of us use library 2.0. I'd also like to see how it changes over time. I looked at Michael Stevens and Rick Andersen's and found both very enlightening. Although, I'm not sure how much I will be referring to it in the future.