Well, I am late on my first reflection post. I misread due dates and conflated participation posts with reflection posts. Oh well. Now that that is out of the way, I have some major takeaways from our foundational texts, and I will be focusing here on Michael Casey and Laura Savastinuk’s Library 2.0.

For some background, I currently work in a library, one that would probably be described as medium-sized. It has one main branch that is open 6 days out of the week, and two smaller branches open for limited hours 4 days per week. It serves a diverse community, and it previously had major budget cuts that it has never fully recovered from. But we keep on keeping on!

The idea behind Library 2.0 is exciting to me because it focuses so much on the things that I have found lacking in my library experience, namely embracing current rends and increasing services in a mindful and focused way. One of the most important parts of Library 2.0 is communication, and I fully believe in its power as discussed in Casey and Savastinuk’s text. Libraries need to communicate with the patrons served in order to know what services they want and need. Beyond that, libraries need to communicate with the patrons that aren’t being served because the library undoubtedly has things to offer them. The idea of using a blog as a means to communicate with the public appeals greatly to me, and embracing a social media presence is an alternative or parallel means of accomplishing the same.

But communication with staff is just as if not more important. Casey and Savastinuk state over and over about the importance of gaining feedback from staff, of including staff in decision-making, and in keeping staff in-the-know about coming changes–both information about the changes themselves as well as the rationale behind changes. One of the most important parts of this communication to me is tying all decision-making back to the library’s mission statement. I never thought of just how important the mission statement or statement of purpose is to a library until I finished this book. It really should be the guiding light that influences setting goals, implementing goals, and the need to always be finding the next important set of goals.

Related to determining, setting, and implementing goals is the method to do so. Project management is something of a field of study unto itself, but Casey and Savastinuk provide a great methodology with their concept of the I-, P-, and R-team strategy of vertical teams. Everyone gets included, everyone participates, everyone gets a voice, and everyone is thus part of the buy-in. Brainstorming, planning, and evaluating are all repeatedly visited throughout the text, and the vertical team strategy is such a great way to actually getting things done–or so I hope! I say hope because I have not seen it in action. But reading about it has made me very excited to see it play out, to participate in it, and to be able to evaluate its effectiveness.

One thing I had heard while working for the literacy department of my library was that everything is a prototype. Everything is open to change, and a whole project can be discarded if, in evaluating it, it is found to not accomplish the thing it was meant to do. This is exactly the mindset Casey and Savastinuk employ with Library 2.0, and it is a mindset I carry myself. I fully believe in the power of prototype, and if a library is going to change with purpose, there is really nothing (except budgets, staff, and the other inescapable limits–but even these limits have limits!) that can stop it from doing so.

Phil Gilbert, master designer, talks of how everything is a prototype.

Now I am going to run to my administrators and ask them to start a director’s blog, get us on facebook, start a podcast, get our staff communicating via IM, set up a staff wiki, and revamp our website! Well, maybe I should listen to Casey and Savastinuk and pick one or two ideas as suggestions and see where it leads. I guess I am volunteering for the Investigative Team already.

References

Casey, M., & Savastinuk, L. (2007). Library 2.0: A guide to participatory library service. Medford: Information Today.

SAP TV. (2016, April 26). Today is a prototype for tomorrow: Phil Gilbert, IBM [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OQLpO_IJzw

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