I have always been interested in how technology and the Internet have changed the information landscape and society in general. People’s information seeking behavior has changed in this “post-Google” era and we, the traditional information-providers, must change with our users.
My first semester in the SJSU SLIS program was Fall 2009. I took the foundational “Information and Society” class and found that the profession wasn’t what I thought it was. Libraries, evidently, were in a sort of quiet panic about the decreased amounts of patrons, funding, and staffing as a result of a few things. The economy, of course, caused institutions to cut funding to many services, libraries not withstanding. And Google allowed people to find quick answers to simple questions that they might traditionally have asked a reference librarian. Feeling as if I just joined a profession floundering in the ocean and doomed to sink, I did my first graduate research paper on this thing called “Library 2.0.” I read Chad & Miller’s “Do Libraries Matter?” and wrote:
It seems at times as if libraries may either be holdovers of a bygone era or simply buildings where the poor can go to access the internet. The dominance of the internet over the library is shown as the article tells us that “the staggering success of sites such as Amazon and Google has shown that, to meet the expectations of the modern world, libraries do have to change quite dramatically” (2005, p. 5). The internet is giving users the ability to access any information at any time in any place in the world. It is also making users expect that ability in all their services. Not only do users expect to be able to access information anywhere, but Chad and Miller make the point that they also expect to be able to “use, modify, and pass on content with which they come into contact” (2005, p. 5). This is what we call Web 2.0- an internet that allows everyone to participate at whatever level they want. Thus, the collision of Web 2.0 capabilities and the library is what is now called Library 2.0
Library 2.0 is a way for libraries to focus on their patrons and serve their needs in a more interactive way. Patrons have more ways to voice their opinions and express their support for or complaints against library services. We can ask our users directly what they want. Additionally, web 2.0 technologies gives libraries more ways to satisfy user requests in a more efficient way.
I think that Blyberg sums up nicely what Library 2.0 is and why it is important- that it means a re-definition of the library’s role, services, attitude, priorities, and internal organization.