Friday, October 5, 2007

Library 2.0 and the future

It's obvious to me that we are already into the "future" referred to in these articles just a year ago, such as the OCLC Newsletter articles published in early 2006. Already our library and others across the country have put these new Web 2.0 technologies into practice. It is moving so quickly now that it's apparent to me that all librarians will need to be familiar with these technologies to stay current with user/patron demands and to help them access information.

Rick Anderson talks about the "just in case collection" as a thing of the past, and that we should move away from this concept. We are doing this with online reference databases and with e-books, but I do feel there will always be a need for the print format as there will always be people who want a book in their hands. It will be interesting to see how libraries will meet this need in the next 10 years. I agree we need to remove barriers between patrons and information, and with user friendly Web 2.0, it may be possible. There will continue to be those who resist anything to do with computers, and although we are moving on with or without them, they are our patrons and they are using our libraries. We can introduce them to the advantages of new technology and hopefully they will warm to the idea after seeing the benefits.

To show how things have already happened as predicted, I noticed in the 2006 OCLC article by Chip Niles that they planned to allow anyone with a Web browser to search all of WorldCat by spring of 2007. So, I went to WorldCat and looked up a title. I was able access WorldCat without authorization. It knew my location as Jefferson City and brought up libraries in my area to choose a catalog to search. Clicking MRRL brought up our catalog and I placed a hold on the item all within a few moments. I was impressed with the process.

The article called "Into a New World of Librarianship" by Michael Stephens describes the traits necessary for the librarian of the future. "This librarian" is Bill, "this librarian" is Robin, "this librarian" is Bobbi. They already believe in and have incorporated these ideals into our library currently and into future plans. They have invited us to join them by providing the MRRL Learning Library 2.0. Now we all have the opportunity to be "this librarian."

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