My director has tasked me (and I'm very willing to take it on) with doing brief, hit-and-run, emails to all the library staff to explain Library 2.0 concepts and tools to our staff, most of whom have no desire to move forward (there are some and I'm thrilled to have them on board). This is a copy of the email I sent out today. I'd be curious to what y'all think. The next one will be on because it's probably the most relevant to them.

Subject: What's this I hear about Library2.0?

Hi all,

You may have heard the terms "web 2.0" and "library 2.0" buzzing about the library world. Or maybe you haven't, and that's ok. But what I'd like to do is take a second and explain what both of those things mean, and some of the "2.0 tools" that you might continue to hear about, and that we here at CPLS might be looking at to better serve our patrons. I'll try to keep the editorial comments out of it (like what parts of it I love and what I can't stand), but I make no guarantees.

This is the first in a series of emails that I ' ll be sending out regarding Library 2.0, to explain some of the sites and concepts I've given a brief introduction to below. So if not all of it makes sense, or you need more details, or you have something to add, please feel free to email me, or better yet, the group. That's how this works.

So what exactly are Web 2.0 and Library 2.0?

Well, honestly, it depends who you ask. Web 2.0 is touted as the next generation web, with more interaction and interactive sites as opposed to just static information. Web 2.0 is everything from blogs, RSS feeds, wikis and IM/chat to things like Second Life ( myspace ( (note, this will be blocked by the City IT dept), facebook ( (this one will be blocked too), flickr (, (, technorati ( and dig ( What it really means is that the web sites that require you to do something with them (share information, play, create content) are becoming more popular. Terms like "social networking sites" are being buzzed about because of the ability to create neighborhoods and "friends" lists and to interact with others through the Internet in a way other than email or the more common chat programs such as AIM or Yahoo Instant Messenger.

It also is about creating the metadata (information about your Information) and sharing it with others. Things like sharing bookmarks and seeing how many have also bookmarked something ( or blogged about it (technorati) as well as tagging - what they've called it when people have applied their own labels to things like their photos (flickr), their blog entries (Livejournal, vox (, their bookmarks (have you bookmarked what did you label it? News? Local? Drek?) and who looks at what at any given moment (digg). The concept of tagging is the part that the libraries and librarians have kind of grasped onto, mostly because it's familiar to us - we like to organize. (Course, have you seen my desk lately?)

Library 2.0 is actually the application of the concepts of Web 2.0 to the library world. Things like which allow people to share what they ' ve bookmarked with anyone and technorati that allow people to see what others are blogging about and linking to in real time were things that libraries found useful. More recently, it's been about how real language tagging can be beneficial to library catalogs, and what catalogs can learn from sites such as and technorati.

The other buzz in the Library 2.0 community are the "social networking” side. Libraries and librarians with professional myspace accounts are popping up all over the place (Hennepin County (MN), Denver Public, Topeka (KS) just to name a few). It's not just for kids and teens anymore. In fact, facebook is in the process of overtaking myspace as the favored destination for teens and college students. A big buzz is being made over Second Life (, which we've had at least one information session on here at CPLS. And many, many libraries (including us) have photos of the libraries and library staff up on flickr.

What does it mean for us as a library?

Well, honestly, at this point, no one really knows how it will impact libraries in the long term. There’s a wiki called Library 2.0 ( where Just that is being discussed. Things like tagging and sharing bookmarks will most likely have the greatest long term impact (imagine patrons being able to create tags for items in our catalog!!!), but the sexy aspects of 2.0 like Second Life and Twitter and Tumblr ( are what people seem to be talking about more. So I'll be, in this series of emails, talking about these various tools and sites in more detail as time goes on.

In my opinion (and you know what that's worth, and whoops, here I go slipping into judgment), it doesn't change libraries as much as we think it does. We're still places people can come for information, be it educational, recreational or social. We still need a sense of place, both physical and online, to allow them to do this. What it will require is a shift in attitude from "we have all the information" to "we need to have input from those around us on and in what we offer." And that could be tough for libraries and librarians to get.

Like I said above, feel free to email me (or the group!) with questions, comments or additional information about anything. We all learn from each other and no one knows it all.


Views: 206

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I know it's being done on four Danish municipal libraries (my own included) at the moment.
Hi Tracey! I love the idea of starting off a campaign like this with emails. I know all about resistant librarians, and maybe it's a good approach to start with a format that they are already comfortable with. Most people's first instinct (including mine) would be to teach 2.0 by starting up blogs, wikis, social networking sites, etc. And maybe that's the logical next step... but introducing the concept in a way that they already understand is a great idea. While jumping right in is great for some of us, others would be so intimidated by the interface that they might miss the concepts.

Thanks so much for this. I too have been asked to introduce library staff to Web2.O and though I love the idea of the 23 things programme, I feel that I need to do something first that introduces them to the concepts.

Doing it by email now seems so obvious.
As I told Bill above, feel free to use all or parts of the email when you send it out to your staff. Starting them with something that many of them (though by no means all of them) are comfortable with seemed good for me. We have greater issue getting people to training then reading emails, though sometimes it takes a cattle prod to get them to open Outlook. ;)
Tracey, I think it's a great letter.

You may have seen the blog that myself and a couple of other librarians have put together: We put together the site with the specific purpose of keeping people informed about information tools on the Net...(and at this time, that means Web 2.0). Anyway, we created the site because most websites dedicated to reviewing Web tools are written by people who are immersed in the tech world...those blogs usually talk about the latest and coolest tool and how it came to be ("Google bought out ____________ company today..."). And usually those blogs are updated 3-10 times a day. It's overwhelming!

We wanted to create something that our coworkers would find useful, and hopefully other librarians. We try to post only one tool a day...and we focus on the usefulness of the tool and why we like (or sometimes don't like) it. We cover a lot of tools that are useful in the library, but also tools that might "hook" people new to the web 2.0 world.

I encourage you to share the address with your staff. Perhaps it'll peak their interest.
Hi Tracey,

Great letter and intent! This approach reminds me of Stephen Abram's idea that takes a baby steps approach to learning 2.0ish things: take 15 minutes a day (or every other day) to learn something new about these new technologies or concepts. I would also add that knowing and learning about these tools and services promotes (and enhances) another term bandied about the net & tv: life long learning--keeping the old noodle active, greasing the synapses, deferring the onslaught of memory loss--however you name it, it's good to keep on learning.
This is great, but I think that people would tune out due to the length. The thing I really like is that you have anchored it in your staff's own experience "like we have done etc"..really important.

Two days ago I had a bash at describing the two facets of Library2.0, as I think it has two meanings. One meaning is "applying Web2.0 at your library". The other is the flexible, nimble, evolving, user-centred library, kickstarted by Web2.0 concepts and attitudes. It was in response to a post by Laura Cohen. I called the second facet "Library2.0+" or Library2.0plus".

More here: What is Library2.0 and Library2.0+ ?
Hello, Tracey!
I pulled my first comment on your e-mail as many are familiar with the difficulties of technology adaptation. The other replies of move slowly, stick to basics, and only introduce a concept or two at a time are all excellent suggestions.
I will add two ideas from education--scaffolding and building from a know to an unknown concept. In scaffolding, the new is introduced/demonstrated by a teacher and then the students practice/use the new material; gradually, the role of the teacher is reduced while the students move towards mastery of the concept. In the second, take something familiar to your co-workers such as book clubs or One Book programs and connect it to a new venue for the discussions such as e-mail, 2.0, etc. [GN (Graphic Novels) and YA may an ideal way to experiment with this idea.]
In my experience, resistance to technology is usually related to a sense of threat. Jobs, status, and self-worth may be lost to the changes yet this is rarely acknowledged in public. It can be very hard to explain that we already live in a multi-media world in which print and electronic resources are woven into daily life and that it can actual be fun to learn what is 'behind the curtain' so to speak.
Good luck, Tracey.

'Hi Tracey,
I'm pretty much the only Library Assistant who is actively interested in Web2.0 stuff at the moment (in our branch library). A while back our Systems Librarian did something similar to Elizabeth's learning competition and for me it was really fun. Unfortunately, it didn't seem to stimulate any more interest from the rest of the staff. When I first started to find out about web2.0 it was mind boggling, and I very nearly gave up as I didn't understand the tekkie language, in fact it scared me. With the encouragement of some of the academic staff at the Polytechnic I started my own blog I now really enjoy posting and sharing what I find. I don't have may comments, but hopefully that will come. The blog has gone from toe dipping to see what blogging is about, to becoming more substantial. I think it's a cross between a personal collection of sites I find interesting and sharing them with other professionals. I'm not sure yet how effective it works as a sharing thing, as I don't have many comments.
I use and am working with several Polytechnic staff collectively tagging potentially useful sites for their various projects. This does work well and I get a great sense of achievement from this. I certainly mean to visit Laurie's site to learn more. I like her idea of introducing bite size pieces of information to staff.
Here are some reasons I've heard for not using/ getting to know the new technology: lack of time, don't see a reason to learn about it, it doesn't apply to their particular job, too scary, little guidence or training is available, lack of encouragement from library management, is too difficult to search as there aren't proper subject headings, information on blogs or Wikipedia is dubious so why use it? ...and here's some of my reasons for learning about the new stuff - educating myself, networking, finding like-minded people outside my workplace, finding new information that's happening now, watching the debates unfold, taking part and most importantly...knowing what our students are talking about!!
P.S. great email too!
Thank you! That´s been a great description of library2.0.
I think that this is a nice overview- might be a bit daunting for the truly reluctant.

I'm starting to believe that the best thing you can do is make the tools available, let the early adopters play, and they'll evangelize to the others. You'll never get 100% backing, and the quality contributions will come from those who adopt voluntarily.
Hi Tracey,

It seems that many of us are in the same boat, of trying to get the "reluctant staff" to come on board the 2.0 train. I really like your introductory email, but tend to agree with some of the others, that is, the length is a bit daunting. The common complaint I hear from all staff is that they don't have enough time. I am not sure what the solution is, I am still wrestling that one.

I have found great support and ideas here. Thanks for sharing.


Follow #Library20

© 2018   Created by Steve Hargadon.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service