Sunday, October 28, 2007

# 15 Library 2.0

I've been working in libraries since 1977, when I started work as a trainee library technician, working in the basement of the State Library. The first thing we were shown was how to make the tea! Very important. Back then the State Library's catalogue was still on cards, some of them written in beautiful copper plate. I've worked in a number of different places, done a number of different library jobs, done some studying. Life in the library has changed.

In the best of all possible worlds a library is a place where anyone can come in and be respected, where we try to tailor our services to meet our users needs, where we treat each and every request with attention. But we live in a world where we deal with constantly shrinking budgets and rising expectations. The library is one of the few places where those closed out of the digital world can come and expect to find real help. We need to remember this. I don't know one person in my son's generation who uses the public library - I keep on having conversations that begin with 'You know if you went to the library you could ...' We are failing to reach these people, and I wonder why.

This learning project has been a wonderful opportunity to come to grips with some of the new technologies available, and to remind us that as soon as we learn something, it is already out of date. There is something new 'coming down the pike' (as they say in Maine).

If Library 2.0 is all about access, and letting the customer have input into the service, we need to rethink some of our policies and procedures. Why don't we have wireless Internet access in all of our branches, why has it taken us so long to allow customers to use memory sticks, why are we charging for Internet access? Just a few questions that have occurred to me as I have been doing this course.

And finally, if you want a bit of a laugh about Internet 2.0 check out The Librarian's guide to Etiquette.

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