Library 2.0

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Reading Helene Blowers' CIL wrap-up blog entry and reflecting on many posts here prompted me to think about creating an environment where 2.0 can flourish. What are its attributes? How can we achieve it? And if we are not part of management, what can we do to change ourselves that will force management and coworkers to be more receptive to the 2.0 message?

Here's a reading list (I like webliographies):

* Creating Passionate Users: Manager 2.0
* Free Range Librarian: Management 2.0 and the Trumpeter in the Attic

* Business Week: Web 2.0 Has Corporate America Spinning

And let's not forget basic definitions:

* Web 2.0 (Wikipedia)

* Library 2.0 (Wikipedia)

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Thanks for bringing this up & offering the links, Bob! Granted, I've now spent a half hour reading about Manager2.0 and the theory of "social contagion", but it was worthwhile.

I especially recommend the Creating Passionate Users entry you linked to, which led me to the not completely unrelated entry "Angry/Negative People Can Be Bad for Your Brain" (& the link to an article on social contagion by a grad student that she recommends - The concept here is that people tend to "mirror" those attitudes, subconsciously/unconsciously, that surround them. Associate with negative people, you tend to go negative.

What implications does this have for Library2.0 - well, as I saw your entry, my immediate thought was: "what can I do - not being a manager at this point (also working in an organization with considerable tradition and history) - to foster a Library2.0 mentality in my work environment?" Social contagion, my friends, social contagion... I have to model Library2.0 and never fail to be positive, proactive, and problem-solving.

For you managers out there - all we need is the permission and support to be innovative! Let critiques of our innovations be constructive and tempered with enthusiasm for their positive aspects. Turn these experiments that the naysayers want to label "failures" into enriching experiences. At CIL, the session on Innovative Libraries noted that innovative libraries do this - they never have "failures" only learning experiences.
Having done a bit of work with Appreciative Inquiry, I've become a strong believer in the idea of "if you don't have anything positive to say, don't say it." That's not to censor or cut of negative reactions, but just a realization that many negative attitudes are really destructive to the work environment (believe me, I know first hand).

They way around this is to carefully frame discussions and questions asking for positive responses. Even when people express negative attitudes, one must be bold and ask such people "what can we do about it?" or even say that unless you can offer a solution, the negative response is not helpful.

Back to the larger issue of what a non-supervising employee can do to foster a 2.0 environment, I'd suggest thinking about some of the attributes and how they could be implemented. Collaborative work is one idea that implies change. One of the big collaborative tools this group talks about are wikis. The book Wikinomics discusses some of the implications that wiki use has wrought, with collaboration being one of the main topics.

Instead of individuals "owning" particular jobs or responsibilities, one could try to move toward joint ownership. In one of the units where I work, a specific person is responsible for specific tasks. If that person is away, then their task list (often consisting of public orders) is held up until they return. A more productive environment would be where tasks are shared by the staff, so that numerous people can be responsible for these certain tasks, covering for each other (and possibly simplifying the work).

To get there requires a departure from the way most of us operate. We tend to be possessive, and too often (and unconsciously) tie our work to our personal life (which is often one of privacy). Instead, one should be open, and share what one is doing with others. Keep people informed about what you're doing, the contacts you're making, the things you're reading, the progress you're making on various tasks, etc.. If anyone expresses interest, offer to collaborate, and there you'll have to a chance to foster open collaboration.

There will always be negativity - that's how some people live their lives (i.e. they're unhappy people, and all the library education won't change that). The trick is not to be swept up in it, and not to let it spread like a disease among others.
in trying to keep up with Microsoft industry news, I noticed that they had at the MIX07 conference a session about being stuck as your organization attempts to move from 1.0 to 2.0.
(in addition to the announcement about Silverlight, Microsoft's new cross-platform, web-based tool that will be more versatile than Flash? will "change the web", etc... I didn't understand it all, but everyone webby should pay attn, it's likely to come up for us in libraries in a few years)

So it's true - these issues are also rearing their head at mainstream orgs (even those with more resources than we have - which would probably be most). I didn't see the advice given in the session though, so I can't offer any back to you. If I find some of the info from the session (e.g., on how corporate's handling management 2.0) I'll post it here.
A colleague and I have made it a mission to implement 2.0 technologies in our reference department as we can. From creating our own area on our library's wiki and blogging, we've been inspired by the timeless line from Field of Dreams: "If you build it, they will come." We hope that as we begin to use these tools and mention them to our more reticent co-workers, they will see how the tools can be useful.

Our manager is supportive of our efforts to use these tools, but we've yet to find a way to convince her of their value for the whole department. For now, we'll keep building and see if they ever come around.
I talk about this concept on my blog. I can point you to two posts I have about management 2.0.
Holding the door open: Radical Trust and Library Management 2.0
More Management 2.0
and the earliest one:
Management is broken?
I think many managers are going in this direction. Librarians cannot be disheartened as fast as managers are fickle about new projects. Collaboartive management is the key to the future. Asking everyone in the meeting what they think, going with someone's idea and financially supporting it, and holding your decisions out to criticism and to be able to explain it.


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