Friday, January 25, 2008

Why Libraries Don't Suck

Why Things Suck: Things That Don't Suck

Top vote getters from this article:

Libraries UPDATED 2 11 2008
Public Libraries 778 don't suck, 78 suck

(found via Tame the Web, who found it via Librarian 1.5)

When I look around at my library patrons and see a dramatic increase in usage (especially from 20-40 year olds, young urban professional types who typically don't need us), it confirms how much we are liked and loved. When I look at our economy, and people need to cancel their internet, cut back on finances, it is always the public library that is the life preserver.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The jig's up, we cheated: Library 2.0 recanted

Funny how we all follow trends so tightly. After John Blyberg and others come out and said that library 2.0 didn't work and neither did tagging, etc. , the flood gates open. Yes, it's not working. One library myspace just gets spam; only librarians visit flickr pages, etc. The library users are no more inclined to use the library than they did before. In fact, they hate us more for being in their splaces! Every time they see a library in their space, we really just look like businesses trying to market to them or like spammers. They look at us and think, "What are you doing here?"

The problem is that we didn't wait for the users to do this; we did this for them thinking they wanted it. It is a typical problem for many libraries. We are guessing and have a tendency to do so with our users. We think they want Facebook, or we order a literary classic, and they turn around and ask for the latest bestseller.

We tried to get their attention using these tools, but we don't utilize them in a way that works. I try to use any video or photos to help patrons see something they may have missed. The reality is, if they wanted to be there, they would have made the time. It just ends up being cute, not essential.

Much of the web 2.0 concept came from complaints about big organizations like Dell and the burning laptops. Dell says, "It's an isolated incident." The public shows them it is not through all these web 2.0 tools, and it works! It sparked the biggest recall in history. Sony loses billions on this and changes an industry.

We aren't Dell; no one feels that way about us. We are not seen as some overarching faceless oppressor. Library 2.0 is about changing our systems and providing more interaction with our public and gathering feedback. Good libraries were doing that anyway. They are open to change and make the change based on the need. It isn't that difficult. The technology affords another tool.

The reality is that most people love their libraries. They don't typically have a big enough issue so that it ends up in a blog or is spread around, only librarians do.