Patience in feeding

Michael Stephens’s Tame the Web post this morning, Advocates Overcoming IT Resistance to Web 2.0, resonated with me, in my new world which is very 1.0. Michael pulled out two concepts from the Carson article about Morgan Stanley’s implementation of 2.0 tools: (1) -Feed the open mouths; don’t force it. and (2) -Be patient, because change takes time.

As the new Director, I’ve seen a number of places where 2.0 tools would improve not only my efficiency but our collective ability to communicate with and serve our customers. I even have a 1.0 (paper, pen, and ink) list of possibilities and have identified a few champions to start the journey with me. Now, how to identify, prioritize, and hold back are my major challenges.

Booktalks 2.0

Just in time for back-to-school, Joyce Valenza, on NeverEndingSearch posts a list of podcasts and online booktalks for kids. What a great idea to get kids interested in reading – link this to your library website, and lead the kids to try it out. Hope the kids can find the books in libraries.

Even better, record podcasts for the new books added to your library! They’ll think you’re really cool.

No threat at DDR

All the kids who hang out at teen night at the Chatfield Public Library have nothing to fear from me — I’ll never beat them at DDR (Dance Dance Revolution.) It was fun to try it, though. Monica, the Chatfield PL Director set up DDR as a demonstration for the other librarians as a warm up for their regular meeting yesterday. A few tried it, more watched. But what a great thing they’ve got going in Chatfield for the kids. Now here’s another one of those “if I had a library posts” . . . .

Of course, if I managed to keep my feet in the center of the controller, I’d have done a lot better.
Monica and Barbara

However, 2 of my colleagues have it down to “perfect” — Congrats AJ and JP! How cool is this?
Aurora and Jonya

Why be Library 2.0?

Lately I’ve been part of a variety of conversations that, in essence, question the value of participation in all things library 2.0. The talk ranges from “I have no use for 2.0 technologies” to “I have no use for anyone else who does use 2.0 technologies.” While I am a professed technology junky, limited only by hours in the day to try everything I’d like and $$$ in my bank account to buy the toys I’d like, I don’t fit in the category that has no use for anyone who doesn’t share my interests. However, I have serious concerns for those who will not acquire any 2.0 knowledge or skills.

I’ve heard a great many excuses for not developing a 2.0 familiarity: I have no use for a blog; It’s a waste of time; I’m retiring soon; My community doesn’t want a technology centered library; A particular staff member takes care of all the computers; I didn’t become a librarian to run computers; It’s a fad that will go away, just like all the rest of them.

I suggest that there are at least 3 reasons why library information professionals should make the effort and the time to develop familiarity and skills with at least a representative few interactive, communicative technology tools.

  • Using 2.0 technologies stretches budget and outreach. Most of the tools are available as open source, free-ware, or at really low cost (you can’t beat $24.95 a year for a Flickr account.) With minimal investment of time reading help screens or using tutorials (especially on WebJunction) or even attending one of our classes and time practicing, a librarian can put together a website or an online newsletter with blog software – and postage cost is $0. Pictures posted on Flickr thrill most everybody – a lot of us still haven’t gotten over the ego trip of seeing our picture published.
  • Developing 2.0 tools produces training opportunities and models. I may develop a blog or podcast that is of value to very few if any people. However, in doing so, I’m acquiring skills that I can relate to someone else who has a need to develop that tool. I can also use the tool I created as a model or demonstration project. With some experience, I may adapt the tool in a useful way to promote my library.
  • Be in the know. The librarian is the town “smart” person. Where else can the average citizen go to get baffling questions answered — and nothing is more baffling than technology. By positioning oneself as the go-to expert on everything from how to get that picture out of the e-mail to how to understand and even take a look at MySpace, where one’s kid is seemingly spending a lot of time, the librarian can be established as a trusted information source. While working with one of our public libraries on strategic planning, I was impressed by the committee’s sincere desire to endow the library with a goal of being a leader in cutting edge technology.