Reflection Blog on Foundational/Hyperlinked Library Readings –
A few points of the Library 2.0 text jumped out of me mostly to do with offering services, working with our communities, and building programs that are relevant, current and well-advertised. I read the e-book via the Kindle app, so the LOC refers to the location number in the book.
The book makes several good points about the library services and their delivery, many that I have seen in other readings and in other courses. The importance of user center service (Loc 378) is of course, paramount, and that user centered service begins with the user. We need to pull members of our community into being a part of our libraries, even to the point of getting user-organized and user-run programs set up, or making sure our patrons can recommend books, materials and more. I think librarians also need to look at trends in information needs, and seek out gaps that they can fill, or create programs that people might want to attend. A good one for today might be a fake news versus real news short program or web module, but libraries – if they are going to create programs that concern current events – need an immediate way outside of people entering the library to promote those events.
Digital services are already extremely important in libraries, and I do not think that any library could survive today without offering some form of these services. Expanding into digital services (Loc 504) is something libraries should and need to do. But we need to make sure libraries do not neglect the needs of the users who need us the most, those who cannot afford e-readers or tablets, or those who cannot afford the data needed to download or stream on their cellphones, or afford internet. Changing to meet tech needs is important, but libraries need to be sure they are not leaving a portion of their patrons behind. It means making sure to advertise the fact that patrons can use computers in the library, or offering programs to lend tablets to the community at large, or even for use in the library itself.
Digital services can be a lot of things, but Web 2.0 and social media tools are becoming very popular among employers and even in some schools. Libraries should train and position themselves to offer classes on Web 2.0 tools that allow collaboration, like the various Google Apps (Loc 1344). They are starting to see more widespread use in companies and schools, especially with the advent of Chromebooks. Yet I see more libraries offering classes and programs on more traditional software like Microsoft Office. While it is still the industry standard, libraries should position themselves at the forefront of trends, not behind them. Even if a library offers a class that’s a bit too ahead of its time, that means at least one librarian is trained in a new technology and can offer the class again once a technology, program, or app becomes more mainstream.
Knowing the demographics of your community is important (Loc 679), because the library won’t get use if they feel it isn’t relevant to them. Even more important is, as said in the book, getting members of the community participating in and helping to shape library services. It also helps to have someone who is a member of that community, especially if you are not. Trying to choose books in a different language or for a specific culture or ethnicity can be difficult, and mistakes can be made easily without proper feedback from someone more knowledgeable or extensive research.
That brings me to the question of how to cultivate ties in one’s community (Loc 1176). It is an excellent idea to cultivate ties to your community, to make sure they are actively involved in the library and the services it provides. They may be in the best position to know what kind of information services, programs, or classes the community really needs that the library can provide. But it always comes down to how for me. Which community organizations and businesses? Is it better to approach them with a plan in place, or ask them to collaborate on one? What are some examples of libraries who have done this, and what are best practices to keep these community ties strong?
Creating wikis and knowledge management is of the utmost importance (Loc 1504), as I learned just this year. I had to leave a position suddenly without warning in the middle of trying to build a makerspace program for the school, leaving my colleagues and coworkers behind to carry on as best they can. I am lucky in that my coworkers were all excited about the program and were working on getting more involved, but I wish I had taken the time to create documentation as I went along.
Library 2.0 advocates that libraries should change, but that we cannot put those changes to place in a bubble – they must be changes that result from the fast changing world around us, from the input of our patrons and community, and in a way that keeps up with changing trends and technology. I think calling things Library 2.0 puts the reader more in mind of Web 2.0, and changing technology. But rather than just be prepared for the changes happening in technology, we need to look at the wider field of information and try to see what gaps we can fill, what programs we can offer, and what help we can provide our patrons in accessing an increasingly wide world of information. What do job-seekers need, what are students learning, what trends are coming up again and again in the job market. Where do we see information deficits or difficulties? I think advertising for those services is also of paramount importance. Its lovely to have all these things, but if no one knows about them, they won’t be used. Living in DC I would never hear about programs in the library unless I already went looking for them – because I knew to look for them, and frequented the library often. In Toronto, the library advertises – not super broadly, but on the metro, and they put out a quarterly booklet about what kind of classes they are offering. Now, I think the library in DC has better audio/visual/makerspace programs, but the Toronto programs seem to be more regular and more consistent – possibly due to that advertising and forethought.
Since I previously worked in a school library, and hope to work with YA services in the future, the Unquiet Library(Matthews, B.) and DOK Delft (Visser, 2011) struck a chord with me. While I was there I was struggling to find a way to manage our after school library hours in a way that would satisfy me and everyone else. The biggest issue was a lack of guidance and rules, as well as a specific program in place for after school. Without any clear guidelines for library use, some students ended up using the space as a second playground. Because our library was two floors, with the first floor open to the high school floor, the high school students who were getting homework help would complain about the noise from the middle and lower school students on the first floor. The idea of the library as community place was something that really drew me, and I wanted to find a middle way that would bring our middle school students in without annoying the high school students. I would have also loved to put an information literacy program into place, but in the end the after school hours for the library simply ended up being cut. I found it to be a real missed opportunity, because in the articles you can see the value and satisfaction patrons place on their libraries. The use of cellphones and technology in the Matthews'(2010) article is clever not because teens love cellphones, but because it lets the library meet the users/patrons where they are, rather than trying to force them into a certain mode of engaging.
Casey, M.E. and Savastinuk, L.C. (2007). Library 2.0: A guide to participatory library service. Medford, New Jersey: Information Today.
Matthews, B. (2010). The unquiet library has high-schoolers geeked. American Libraries Magazine. Retrieved from http://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2010/06/21/unquiet-library-has-high-schoolers-geeked/
Visser, J. (2011) Dok delft, inspirational library concepts. The Museum of the Future. Retrieved from http://themuseumofthefuture.com/2011/01/22/dok-delft-inspirational-library-concepts/