Andrew Eynon’s Library Blog

A blog about librarianship in Further Education

Making the transition to Librarian 2.0

Posted by andrewey on July 18, 2008

Having looked in my last but one posting at a few simple steps for FE libraries to become Library 2.0 – how do library staff make the transition to Librarian 2.0?

I’ll use David Lee King’s Library 2.0 spectrum as a starting point:

Library 2.0 Spectrum

Library 2.0 Spectrum

This diagram does offer a useful description of the different stages of library work in the transition from a ‘traditional’ librarian to Librarian 2.0. There are of course problems with the diagram (aside from the use of the term ‘Luddite’):

The use of electronic resources, e-mail reference and Google seems to happen before the librarian realises people use libraries in non-traditional ways (surely these developments go hand in hand?).

The light bulb moment may be more gradual than implied – again this recognising of the potential of Web 2.0 technologies probably goes hand in hand with using/experimenting with them. 

Even the implementation phase is somewhat misleading as one of the defining features of Web 2.0/Library 2.0 is the continual experimentation with new technology ie we may never arrive at the finished article.

The final phase, which David says we have probably not reached yet, will be a seamless use of Web 2.0 at work and in our personal lives. I suspect there are people entering the profession where this is already the case.

However, the model has only a very limited lifespan as anyone entering the profession (or already in it one hopes) is already comfortable using online resources. Also, one presumes, in the near future new staff entering the profession will already be familiar with, and regular users of, Web 2.0 technologies.

Therefore, I think the diagram is best viewed as a whole – as integral aspects of a librarian’s role. I don’t think anyone is suggesting we ditch traditional resources let alone online databases or e-mail so we can assume for the foreseeable future that Librarian 2.0 will be doing all of the above.

The crucial issue therefore is who (or what) is the driver in this transition from librarian 1.0 to librarian 2.0?

There are probably three determining factors:

  • An enlightened service keen to experiment with new technology and to upskill its staff

  • Librarians using or promoting Web 2.0 technologies in the service

  • As a direct response to library users

In practice it is probably a combination of these factors but certainly library services can be more proactive by encouraging staff to become more familiar with Web 2.0 technologies without waiting for staff to come to that decision themselves – as indicated in David’s diagram.

We have introduced our Library Webquest specifically for that purpose ie to raise awareness amongst library staff as to the possible uses of Web 2.0 technologies in a library context and to give them practical experience of using those technologies.

For a more philosophical take on making the transition to Librarian 2.0 try Laura Cohen’s A Librarian’s 2.0 Manifesto. If your approach to librarianship agrees with most of Laura’s manifesto you are probably already a Librarian 2.0 irrespective of your knowledge of web 2.0 technologies.


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