Saturday, September 20, 2008

LIS 768: Library 2.0–Participation & Redesign -the 3 C's

As I was reading through all the articles, and refreshing my brain about the Library 2.0 book, 3 words kept running through my mind: Choices, Conversations, and Control.

Since I've been a library user, library services have evolved from Library 1.0 to Library 1.5 to Library 2.0.

To illustrate: I grew up in a small town (Baker) in Eastern Oregon. It was seriously almost in the middle of NOWHERE-the nearest town was 1 hour away, over a very tricky mountain pass. It was (still is) a predominately Roman Catholic logging mill town in the middle of ranching country. Those who left for college rarely came back. So, for many who lived there, that physical locale was the sum total of their (limited) world. The library was great...but what it had was what it had. There wasn't much choice as to what information could be accessed...and if the library was closed, well, you were out of luck. To me, that's Library 1.0, a one-way street...a one-way conversation: here's what the library has, and these are the formats, and you can take it or leave it.

Then, came Library 1.5(ish). I still remember the first time I heard the magical words, "Well, this library doesn't have it, but we can maybe get it for you via Interlibrary Loan." Seriously? My library isn't bound by these walls anymore? Sweeeet! The catch was, the requests were done by phone or through sending paper forms to another library. So, actually getting what I wanted was sort of hit or miss...usually miss-especially if I needed it for a school assignment. I'd have been happy to go to the other library to get what I wanted, but since I didn't know what library had what (that was still in the days of the behemoth card catalogs), that added a level of difficulty. But,hey-at least there was a world outside my physical location that I could tap into, right?

And so now, we have Library 2.0. My world has expanded exponentially since I became a 'digital immigrant', and I have the option to choose where I want to get my information, how I want it, and when I want it. Remember those 3 words? Choices, conversations, & control? Yep-for me at least, Web/Library 2.0 offers those things-not just to me, but to anyone who wants to use the tools. There are more choices-how does the patron want to get information? From a book, YouTube video, or a Google hit? We don't have to accept just one source as being The Gospel Truth (said in a lofty tone)anymore. We can have conversations with others from all over the place...not just our small corner of the world. And we have control over how much information we get, and don't have to wait for someone else to help. I like being fairly self-sufficient, and I suspect others do as well.

Unfortunately, some libraries, including my own, are still stuck somewhere between Library 1.5 and Library 2.0. Even so, this is not to say that all patrons (or librarians), no matter what their ages, are comfortable with all this "new-fangled electronic stuff". I strongly suspect there will always be the patrons who ask for my help in finding what they need...and I'm more than willing to help-that's what I'm here for. But, the difference now is that it's at least a two-way conversation going on, and there are plenty of options.

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