I have been having an interesting online (see earlier post) and offline exchange regarding the state of libraries in the Web 2.0 world. Wired ran an article earlier this year on libraries and Web 2.0 that covered the training and awareness aspect of librarianship:
“The last thing we want is for people to come into our libraries and ask about Flickr or Second Life and be met with a blank look,” said Christine MacKensie, director of the Yarra Plenty Regional Library in Melbourne, Australia, which just finished a four-month version of Learning 2.0. “And they certainly won’t now.”
This training and awareness aspect was something that most of us agreed in our discussions was something that needed greater attention.
One library blog to follow and see what is possible in the Web 2.0 library space is LibraryBytes, authored by Helene Blowers. Helene was the person behind the establishment of Learning 2.0 mentioned in the Wired article. I recommend it to you as one way of developing Web 2.0 skills and techniques for librarians, knowledge managers, social psychologists, and any of you still uncertain about Web 2.0 capabilities.
One of my offline discussions involved my “dismissal” of the explicit knowledge already provided by libraries. Libraries, I was told in no uncertain terms, should not be underestimated because of any alleged limitations in developing and utilising new Web 2.0 tools. There are “some” people who actually just want to read a book!
Well, yes. This is true. However, I think the time has well and truly come for libraries to extend themselves and embrace the opportunities Web 2.0 tools and thinking can provide to service the needs of a changing clientele. In addition, libraries can maximise their communal benefits and enhance their own reputations as leading edge knowledge service providers. Perhaps there are more libraries out in cyberspace doing this very thing (even in Second Life?). I’d be keen to hear about them and what they are doing.