I really enjoyed this week’s introduction to Web 2.0 because I realized why it is that Web 2.0 is so important to libraries. Web 2.0, according to Meredith Farkas are online programs or websites that allow users to collaborate, share data and let users learn from each other. These definitions, could also describe a library. Libraries are spaces where patrons can find new information, collaborate and/or share with peers. As these two spaces are very much in line with one another, it should not be difficult to use web 2.0 in libraries. And as pointed out by Casey and Savastinuk, libraries are trying to integrate web 2.0 into their library services. The primary purpose of this is to find new library users and connect in different ways. I would argue that it’s more than just finding new patrons, but by integrating web 2.0 libraries can also demonstrate their importance to the ‘information business’.
It seems that many libraries understand this responsibility. I was recently listening to a CBC Spark podcast (see link below), which looked at how some libraries in North America and Europe created an online hacker space for patrons to play with, online. During the discussion, a librarian mentions that creating this hacker space was appropriate because libraries are “not in the book business, but in the learning business, or the expand your mind business”. I think this is exactly right. Using social software is about learning through sharing, which is a value that libraries have always held. By integrating web 2.0, librarians can prove that we are more than lending books. In fact, librarians can use Facebook, Twitter, blogs etc. to share valuable expertise and connect with new users.
CBC Spark Podcast 166: Hacking in Libraries, http://www.cbc.ca/spark/2011/12/spark-166-december-18-21-2011/