Library 2.0 In Retrospect

August 15, 2007

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the library 2.0 movement and what is has meant now that much of the hype surrounding it has died down. Imagine my surprise when I saw Ryan Deschamps’ We Asked for 2.0 Libraries and We Got 2.0 Librarians post over at The Other Librarian. I find it a pretty fair and accurate assessment of where we stand with library 2.0 at the moment. I agree with Ryan that the use of library 2.0 has waned – and I think that is a good thing. When a concept is new, we tend to focus too much on defining it, arguing or disagreeing about it and even thinking about it. At some point, people get tired of hearing about it. Personally, I think more is accomplished after we stop hyping things – and get back to business.

I find the following to be the most important points of Ryan’s post:

  • “There’s no doubt that Library 2.0 got librarians to learn about themselves and the world of information they live in.”
  • Change in the ILS has been (and I think will continue) to be slow. There have been some exciting developments that may bode well for the future of our systems.
  • The changes that have taken place are not very visible to library patrons.
  • The most radical changes have taken place in librarians – hence the librarian 2.0.

To end his post, Ryan writes: 

So, while the term and hype dies down or changes to something else, rest assured that change has occurred in big ways and that libraries are adapting to the world.   They are not doing this through the institutions themselves, but through a steadily increasing change of heart in librarians on the whole. Harp on hype all you want — Library 2.0 needed to happen and the world is better off because of it.

Ryan makes some great points about library 2.0, what it has meant to libraries and about its importance. For me, the most important part of library 2.0 has been the discussions that have taken place around it. It has made me work to view the library and its services from a different angle, to take a step outside of my comfort zone and to challenge my previously held thoughts and beliefs. Has it created significant changes in the way that I do things? Honestly, no. It has altered the ways in which I think about end goals of my projects – but not necessarily changed the projects themselves. To me, this means that I agree with Ryan about the importance of library 2.0. However, I would not elevate it above other, earlier trends in librarianship – ripe with their own buzzwords that made the rounds of library literature and conferences. It was the time for library 2.0 – and in the near future it will be time for the next movement.