Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Library 2.0: I Want it All Verses What Patrons Want

(Image by Vespertin via Flickr)
I feel I may be getting carried away with wanting to use Web 2.0 technologies in libraries. I have been guilty for bemoaning why the library I work at doesn't have any social software for patrons. I want it all for my library. I want blogs for teens and for book reviews. I want a Facebook page where I can promote library events and share witty library related photos. I want a new library website that links to all our social networks sites. I want a library twitter account, I want a wiki, I want.... I want.... I want.....

This week I read Meredith Farkas’s post The essence of Library 2.0 and at first it was like a wet blanket to my enthusiasm. I want my library to be part of the online conversations that are happening all around me using great tools and she was encouraging me to look past the tools to focus on my patrons needs. I was like a child a Christmas with all my nice new shiny toys, who had forgotten about all the other toys. I had forgotten all about what I had learned throughout my library course, about always being user-focused. I was focusing on myself and what I wanted for the library. I was also fueled by the fear of being left behind by not using social networking tools. However having a tool and using it well are not the same. As I have been searching for libraries using social technologies I have found many libraries have them but that they are not being used. There are library Facebook pages with the most recent status updates in 2008, library Pinterest pages with no pins, Twitter accounts with only 2 tweets, library blogs that have been abandoned. While it may look great to have Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, blog symbols on a library website linking to pages, it is disappointing to a user who may want to dialogue with the library in this way to find them out-dated or unused. I will not let that happen to my library!!

Frakas suggests the way to stop this happening is for needs assessments. To discover what users want and to assess what tools, social or not, would best met these needs. This course is helping me to explore social technologies and what they can do for a library. Armed with this knowledge, when I assess the needs of our users, I will know if a social media tool would help to address a need. Making a needs assessment doesn't seem as exciting as introducing all my shiny new social networking technologies, but it is the only way to ensure that patrons will engage with the social technologies I introduce.

Frakas, M. (2008, January 24). The essence of Library 2.0 [Weblog post]. Retreived from http://meredith.wolfwater.com/wordpress/2008/01/24/the-essence-of-library-20/

1 comment:

  1. Great post -we really need to consider a lot of factors -what out customers want, where they go online, what we have the time, energy and enthusiasm to do- and then, maybe, it will all come together into something that works!