I very much liked the posting What Is New about Library 2.0 by Jenny Levine. It brings together a lot of great thinking and really clarifies a lot of the issues.
First a brief aside.
I have been mostly staying out of the L2.0 debate because it seems to be getting into some semantic vortex. Here's what I wrote in an email to Lorcan Dempsey
I must say I have been avoiding most of
the Library 2.0 debate because it seems to be all tangled in
theoretical arguments. Surely there is just the Library Current State
and the Library Target State. In the target state, the library makes
better use of technology to serve its users. That's it.
Upon reflection, more accurate phrasing might be "in the target state, the library serves its user community better, presumably in many ways, including making improved use of technology". So call it Library Target, Library Future, New Library - it's just wherever you see your organization should go.
I think one of the other aspects of the Library 2.0 debate is you're trying to come to consensus from people who work in very different roles at very different organizations in different countries. I'm in the "library blog space" I guess, whatever that is, I'm on the list anyway, but I'm not a librarian, and I work at a national library, without some of the same goals of increasing local community engagement and reviving foot traffic that many public libraries have.
I can in fact tell you exactly, in some detail, what Library 2.0 means to CISTI, because we defined our 5 year target state in the CISTI Strategic Plan 2005-2010.
Anyway, back to Jenny's excellent posting:
For me, "Library 2.0" is not just about making your content easier to use online or getting feedback from your users. It's about letting others use granular pieces of our content where they want, when they want, how they want, automatically, specifically online (although users can then also mash our content however they want in the physical world, too). Read that over a second time and you'll see that it is a very new concept for libraries.
Emphasis mine, but also the same as chosen by Sukhdev Singh in India, whose blog pointed me to Jenny's post.
I also liked some thoughts farther down in her report:
while we were busy burying and hiding our content and resources, the rest of the world decided to share—openly. As a result, libraries are not in that mix and we're not where the users are. Complete strangers do very cool things with Google Maps, A9, etc., because they have open APIs (programming interfaces) that let them. Libraries don't.
any library can blog, wiki, offer RSS feeds (at least of headlines, and now we're finally working on vendors to provide other content in feeds), instant message, podcast, Flickr, etc. If you take a step back and look at what all of those tools and technologies could mean for a library's online presence, you can't help but be optimistic about what L2 can do for us IN THE SPACES WHERE OUR USERS ARE. Again, a very new concept.
Emphasis Jenny's. I think this is fantastic to read. Here's the angle I took on it last year, when I wrote building a better library website (March 05, 2005):
Science Library Pad has some guiding principles. One is "Free the Humans". Let machines do automated things, wherever it makes sense, freeing our very complex brains to do very advanced tasks. Two more are "Live Where Your Users Are". If your users are in Google, get your results into Google. This is the brilliance of Open Worldcat. Another is "You Are Not the Technology You Use".
In case you're wondering, yes there is a tshirt. Only for the first principle though. I was worried walking around at a library conference wearing a tshirt saying "Live Where Your Users Are" might get me tagged as some sort of patron stalker.
I'm going to close with another paragraph of Jenny's (emphasis hers again):
Is technology a big piece of it? Sure, because you can't do things online without it. Does that make it all about technology? Heck no. Does that negate it? Heck no. Just like Web 2.0 is about technology AND people, so is Library 2.0.
UPDATE: I also like these words from Norweigian blogger Magnus Enger
My tentative conclusion then, is that Library 2.0 is all about librarians trying to come to terms with the changes that are evident all around us, and beginning to think about how our own documents (secondary and systemic), and the services connected with them, should and could adapt to the demands from, and opportunities offered by, the new environment surrounding us.
as highlighted by Librarian 1.5