Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Thing #15 - Library 2.0

I'm reading the OCLC link about Web 2.0 and libraries. Having just read The Width of the World blog post by Ira Socol, I'm already primed to think about Web 2.0.

I want to be current. It takes a lot of effort, probably like anything else really worth doing. I fall in and out of favor with Facebook. I'm not sure professionally how to utilize it - though I have one colleague who I can access almost immediately through FB when conventional email doesn't work. I'm really tired of the "Which __ are you most like?" "Five favorite ___". Enough! I don't really "get" Twitter. I'm on, but I don't Tweet much and I don't really understand how to follow folks. I need more instruction, I think. I see these as very social applications. Frankly, I'm not a very social person, so I'm not really surprised that the social part of it isn't incredibly appealing. My husband is very social and is constantly checking. He also has the appropriate tool - an iTouch.

I don't think the problem is inherent to the applications, though. I think the problem is in how I view it, my lack of experience, and my lack of effort in getting to know the applications. I have to have a pretty good understanding and comfort level with them to be able to apply them to my professional life. I'm not there yet.

How does this relate to libraries?

Rick Anderson's response on OCLC, Away from the "icebergs", mentions user education. Where can the average use learn more? Libraries have always been that place for adults. When we wanted to learn something or find out more about it, we went to the library to get a book on it. Now we search the internet. The library can still fill that need for adults. I can go to the library to search the internet. Rather than circulation specialists, the library needs web 2.0 specialists. They'll have to know more than how to Google!

His discussion of having a collection is interesting, too. I agree that libraries are no longer the "holder" of important information. For my M.Ed., I was at the U of H library all the time accessing the microfiche ERIC documents. For my Ph.D., I could get everything electronically from the TAMU library. Now I'm frustrated because I can't get good scholarly articles or research reports in my field. Without my TAMU library access, I can't get full articles. My local library could provide that to me, even for a small fee. (Of course, as an alum, I think TAMU should provide it to me - but I haven't asked, either.)

As a mom, though, I want the library to have books I can check out. Carter loves a book for a few days then is on to a new one. We can revisit some of his favorites, but I like to try before I buy. We found Gertie and Gossie that way.

In reading John Reimer's OCLC article, something he mentioned prompted me to think about how Library2Play is a perfect example of how libraries can use Web 2.0 to continue to meet their users needs. As I mentioned earlier, the library can still be the place people go (not necessarily literally) to learn. And to learn specifically about how to use new technology tools.


Barry said...

Sometimes context can substitute for comfortableness with these social technologies. For example, I think Twitter is particularly useful at conferences with mobile technology (like a smart phone). And I read a lot of blogs that talk about "the 10 best ways to use Facebook" etc... That helps me begin to understand how to use these things. Bottom-line is having some familiarity with them gives us educators some credibility as good knowledge masters when we want to talk to students about gaining knowledge.

narrator said...

I think the key to the future is flexibility of form, and open access. So libraries should be able to offer all users, in-building and out, formats which can be used digitally (seen, heard, or both) and which can be printed, or provided via book form.

But what happens with our organizational system? Can users begin to socially organize texts and other information? Why can't I right click on a link in Twitter and call up a book in my university or local library? (I can with Google Books and Amazon, of course.) Why can't I walk into a library and read user reviews on my Blackberry? I can with Amazon. Why can't construct my own catalogue system? Or borrow a friends?

I think we have tried, since the Reformation, to separate the "social" from the "learning." And I don't think that's real. Learning is inherently social. We need to help our students use the benefits of that.

- Ira Socol

atxteacher said...

I agree that social is an inherent part of learning - at least for most people. I think that's what many educators who are hesitant about the use of online courses for our students are worried about. They worry about losing the classroom and student/teacher interaction. What they don't have a good grasp on is the social nature of good online courses. It's just Web 2.0 social which is scary to a lot of people.