Thursday, September 13, 2007

#10 - Web 2.0 and libraries

I see a theme in the articles about librarians adapting to fast changes in order to better serve patrons. There is also a number of mentions of breaking down barriers for patrons, and I include our ability to understand that the library needs to be user-centered. I see our library and public libraries in general making more progress in working with these changes than academic libraries. Also, the public library will always have a social aspect to it - friends and acquaintances run into each other in the library (the third place idea).

We understand the need for teaching patrons how to get what they need; sometimes we lack the resources or do not allocate the resources to accomplish this, but librarians do it everyday one-on-one with patrons. We need to keep moving down the road of helping people learn the technology they need. I believe patrons are generally happy to learn how to do things themselves. Think of where we started with the online catalog and where we are now with it - people place holds, pick them up, check them out on the self check and never interact with a library staff member. Is this good or bad? I don't think it matters because it just is.

We do a decent job of providing a balance of options, where people who want to can work with us and if they don't want to, they don't have to. Give evenybody what they want :)

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