Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The current use of Web 2.0 in libraries

During my first semester of my MLIS I learned a lot about web 2.0 and the fact remains that even still web 2.0 remains to be the way that libraries are able to connect to their patrons on a different level.  According to Michael Stephens, “What web 2.0 tools offer is a way to be open, to share content on various websites, and to engage others in building resources” (2006, p.10). Many of us are active participants within web 2.0. Our everyday lives are involved within it using Facebook, Twitter, possibly flickr and creating your own blog. So if many of us are already active participates of the phenomenon why wouldn’t libraries be involved as well?
There are many uses of web 2.0 that can enhance libraries participation within the community. Stephens mentions some considerations when looking at library services with web 2.0. One of his examples states, “Ease of use-systems are intuitive and users can easily learn to manipulate them. Libraries use instant messaging (IM) to perform virtual reference instead of difficult-to-use proprietary platforms” (2006, p.11).  Many may not think of the IM as a web 2.0 tool, however the IM is another great way for libraries to be able to interact with their patrons especially in regards to reference. The university library that I currently work at has Ask a Librarian, allowing a patron to speak to a reference librarian for assistance. It’s a quick easy way for someone to access library information without having to leave their home. It is another display on how web 2.0 allows for convenience for patrons.
I found an interesting article that really went into depth about web 2.0 in libraries. Towards Library 2.0: The Adoption of Web 2.0 technologies in Public Libraries discussed many formats of library 2.0 and I thought it was really interesting that the Orange County library system here in Florida was mentioned for some of the formats that they use. One of them of course being the IM, but it also discussed how it has its own mobile catalog, which I myself have on my itouch. However the article mentions that they also have  blogs, which I myself was unaware of. They have multiple blogs providing “interesting content to library users through blogging, including a monthly blog providing information on job hunting known as jobspot, news and information from the director of the library in the library leader blog, the southwest library at Dr. Phillips blog created by the staff and techno teens live! Blog” (Anttiroiko & Savolainen, 2011, p. 93).  It reiterates that these technologies allow libraries to connect to their patrons within the community. It gives the community information about what services they have to offer giving them more of a welcoming into the library world by becoming connected with them.
In many of the articles I read (I read more than just the ones stated) there was not much towards the negative aspects or drawbacks to utilizing web 2.0. However, even though many venture into the world of Web 2.0 (facebook, twitter etc.) many users are looking for more privacy. “Social media users love connectivity, but they are struggling with ways to set boundaries (doubters: read up on facebook’s privacy travails)” (Huwe, 2011,p. 26). Huwe asks how can libraries create the trust that users need within this web 2.0 world. As the future of technology continues more of this will be answered, more and more librarians are needed to fully understand and specialize within web 2.0. As we know this means more money facilitated in having the specialists and the time to learn/teach. Nevertheless, I personally feel there is an importance to being involved within the world of Web 2.0 for libraries. The main aspect is that it allows libraries to stay connected with their community, just as business does to keep their customers coming. It allows information to be transferred and updated to the patrons, keeping them informed of new services that can benefit them. But it also allows libraries to teach their patrons how to use them and keeping the patrons connected with people in their own lives.

Stephens, M. (2006). Exploring web 2.0 and libraries. Library Technology Reports, 42(4), 8-14. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Anttiroiko, A., & Savolainen, R. (2011). Towards Library 2.0: The adoption of web 2.0 technologies in public libraries. Libri61(2), 87-99. doi: 10.1515/libr.2011.008
Huwe, T. K. (2011). Library 2.0, meet the 'web squared' world. Computers in Libraries, 31(3), 24-26. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

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