Monday, July 24, 2006

Library2.0 workshop wrapup

Lots & lots of great points in this presentation by Jenny Levine & Michael Stephens last Wed. (can you believe almost a week has gone by! got tied up in stuff as soon as I returned - oh well, here's the wrapup).

First, this is a huge "thank you" to both Darien Library & the Ct. Library Consortium (CLC) for putting this innovative, useful, and timely workshop - can't say enough good about this experience! BTW, if you haven't heard of Jenny & Michael, L2.0 (library2.0 that is) fame, you should get acquainted. Their weblogs are, respectively, The Shifted Librarian and Tame The Web. I would also add to this, the blog of the lead guru who developed Ann Arbor District Library's award-winning website. [There are others - see links at the end of this entry.]

Now, when you hear about Web2.0 and Library2.0, you usually also hear about key technologies, such as blogs, wikis, social tagging/bookmarking (e.g.,, Furl, etc.), LiveJournal/MySpace, Flickr, mashups, AJAX, etc. What matters, however, is not the individual web services or pieces of technology - what matters in Library2.0 is that the librarian is reaching out to the user where they are and providing the user with services that they can use in whatever way they want. It is, in equal parts, a user-centric reconceptualization of our online services and an extension of all of our services into the world of the users - users who live more and more of their lives online.

We used to enthusiastically offer our patrons only what library vendors provided for library catalogs and databases. Neither we nor those vendors really began providing services by asking end-users (or potential end-users) what they wanted and how they wanted it delivered. We never started with a conversation, but rather with a set of assumptions based on our library-centric way of understanding the world.

In the new world, however, Michael and Jenny noted that Librarian2.0 (some of these are direct quotes, some paraphrasing through the filter of, well, me, though I've tried to keep that to a minimum):

  • harnesses the social tools of Web2.0
  • understands the Long Tail
  • uses the Wisdom of Crowds
  • embraces Web2.0
  • controls technolust (technology is a tool, nothing more & if it does not fit, it must not be implemented)
  • is willing to go through techno-divorce (just because you've paid a lot of money for it, selected it, or found it useful in the past is no reason to cling to a technology/system)
  • makes good and quick decisions, based on evidence
  • pays attention to successful libraries and emulates them
  • pays attention to innovation broadly - in other fields - reads other literature beyond library-land
  • plans through user-centered design
  • asks users what they want, doesn't tell them what they need
  • finds new ways to deliver services to meet their users' needs
  • is transparent
  • listens to staff & users
  • involves staff & users in planning
  • tells stories
  • plays with new tools & technologies

Decision-Making for Librarian2.0 - Factors to Consider (direct quotes from Jenny & Michael's Librarian2.0 handout):

  • Does it place a barrier between the user and the service?
  • Is it librarian-centered or user-centered in conception (e.g., is it born from complaints from librarians about users)?
  • Does it add more rules to you bulging book of library rules, procedures and guidelines
  • Does it make more work for the user or the librarian?
  • Does it involve having to do damage control before you even begin the service? If so, you might want to rethink!

Librarian2.0 gets "content" - in the new world of Web2.0/Library2.0

  • Content is conversation
  • Content is organizing itself
  • People are connecting to each other via their content
  • Users will define their own channels of content streaming in
  • Libraries can play a role: (1) offer content; (2) offer the mechanism to create content

And here's a practical section of the presentation that I hadn't really put in my mind in the context of L2.0, about managing projects & meetings:

  • Learn to have effective meetings - see Death by Meeting, by Patrick Lencioni
  • Get stuff done - see Getting Things Done, by David Allen [I'd have to add the LifeHacker blog to this, as well]
  • Establish a point person

Overall, there was a lot of emphasis on the playfulness aspect of L2.0 - how a "gamer mentality" (gee, let's try this, oops, didn't work, no big deal, try something else, until you achieve your ultimate goal) can be helpful in your library's evolution and in innovation. [I'd have to add that I've seen a few organizations in which innovation was totally squelched by a lack of openness to failure - perfection is the enemy of good, I think someone once said... so lighten up and just get into the mix - try it out - nothing too horrible will happen. Reminds me of doing help desk - when I'd go out to a library whose staff were inexperienced with computers, that was easy to deal with, but I'd have to start by getting them relaxed about playing around with the things.]

I'm pretty proud of Steve C. & me, as I think that - gauging from Michael & Jenny's workshop - our blog workshop was definitely on the right track (though I'd LOVE to get Michael & Jenny here to speak - which would take us all to the next level). We even referred to many of the same resources (e.g, my personal fav, "The Cluetrain Manifesto"). To refresh yourself on our blog workshop (or if you didn't get to go) - link to

There are lots of links I can give you that Michael & Jenny handed out - also they went over so much more than I touched on here, but given that you may already have had some exposure to blogs and/or wikis (particularly through the great DLD-sponsored, NELINET-run classes on these topics, or through our CSL blog workshop), I didn't think it made sense to take up space here. Here's a few links, though:

Finally, last - but definitely not least, if you feel a deep need to "unconference" your inner geek, there is a very intense Library2.0 Camp being held on Sept. 25 at Darien Library. There will be a lot of techie talk, but if you're up for it, I'd encourage you to sign up, as I already have!,_2006_Sign-up_Page

BTW, Chris Bradley just posted about the workshop on her "Between the Bookends" blog - see

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