Libraries are a contradiction of tradition and change (Cohen, 2006), so it’s important to remember that realistic goals are not a bad thing. Library users reflect the startling diversity in socio-economic, political, religious and ethnic lines, so it’s impossible to cater specifically to every last one. But librarians 2.0 understand that technology has given them more ways to connect with users (Casey & Savastinuk, 2006). They acknowledge that libraries are more than physical spaces (O’Connell, 2008), yet they don’t underestimate the value of those meeting rooms, reading areas or communal tables either. Librarians 2.0 promote the equitable access of resources and time. They don’t judge anyone on the questions they ask, nor do they sit back and feel that ‘their work is done’.
What librarians 2.0 struggle with is the diversification of the role and the difficulty of trying to juggle all the expectations. The seeming lack of awareness of how much a library and its staff can do, has seen a decrease in personnel and budgets. Those who remain want to manage a vibrant online presence, work with technophobes, and still catalogue, talk to young people about reading and hold events. With not enough hours in the day, librarians 2.0 have to be smart and select from the vast array of services they can offer, the ones that seem most necessary and effective (Schrier, 2011).
By building their own skills to become more adaptable, librarians move with change and bring their patrons along. By role-modelling life-long learning, they teach collaboration and create communities. By encouraging patrons to respond to surveys, comment on blog posts and like Facebook pages, they facilitate participatory behaviour. It has the added bonus of finding out what users want to make libraries better.
Tradition and change. The best of both worlds. Libraries still need books and a way to search for and through them. But they also need the Internet and all its power. Librarians make sure people succeed, because they teach them how to navigate all the environments. But they also teach people to know where to go to ask for help.
Casey, M. E., & Savastinuk, L. C. (2006). Library 2.0: Service for the next generation library. Library Journal, 51-62.
Cohen, L. (Producer). (2006, 09 April 2015). A Librarian’s 2.0 Manifesto. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZblrRs3fkSU
O’Connell, J. (2008). School library 2.0 : new skills, new knowledge, new futures. In P. Godwin & J. Parker (Eds.), Information literacy meets library 2.0. London: Facet Publishing.
Schrier, Robert A. (2011). Digital librarianship & social media: the digital library as conversation facilitator, D-Lib Magazine, 17(7/8) July/August 2011.