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The Most Important Traits of Librarian 2.0 September 26, 2006

Posted by sharynheili in Uncategorized.

 The Most Important Traits of Librarian 2.0 (Michael Stephens, blogger and librarian)

Librarians 2.0 plans for their users This librarian bases all planning and proposals for services, materials and outreach on user needs and wants. User-centered libraries breakdown barriers and allow users access wherever they are: home, work, commuting, school, or at the library. This involves users from the get go in planning and launching services based on their needs. This librarian asks what new technologies or new materials users need. This librarian proposes building projects and involves users in designing those places. This librarian does not create policies and procedures that impede users’ access to the library. This librarian tells users how resources and funds will be expended. Decisions and plans are discussed in open forums and comments are answered. This makes the library transparent.

Librarian 2.0 embraces Web 2.0 tools This librarian recognizes how services might be enhanced by the Read/Write web and how new services might be born in a climate of collaboration. This librarian uses Instant Messaging to meet users in their space online, builds Weblogs and wikis as resources to further the mission of the library, and mashes up content via API (Application Program Interface) to build useful Web sites. A Google map mash up of local libraries created by Chicago librarians is one such instance of building tools via new resources. Other librarians creating MySpace profiles and participating in other thriving communities build connections online where their users live.

Librarian 2.0 controls technolust This librarian does not buy technology for the sake of technology. “Techno-worship” does not exist here. Without a firm foundation in the mission and goals of the institution, new technologies are not implemented for the sake of coolness and status. Technology is put to the test: Does it meet the users need in a new or improved way? Does it create a useful service for putting users together with the information and experience they seek? These are some of the questions this librarian asks when planning for technology. This librarian creates and nurtures a living, breathing technology plan.

Librarian 2.0 makes good, yet fast decisions This librarian recognizes how quickly the world and library users change with advancing technology. Project timelines that stretch on for months simply do not work in Library 2.0 thinking. Perpetual beta works well for the library’s Web presence. This librarian redesigns for ease of use, user involvement and easily added/re-configured pieces. This librarian brings evidence to the table for planning sessions and decision making, such as recent studies from Pew, articles from professional and scholarly journals and a synthesis of on topic postings from the biblioblogosphere.

Librarian 2.0 is a trendspotter This librarian seeks out information and news that may impact future services. This librarian has read the OCLC Pattern Recognition and User Perception reports and uses them in planning. This librarian uses the Cluetrain Manifesto and realizes that networked markets are library users as well and that honest, human conversations need to take place within their institution, virtually and in physical space. This librarian reads outside the profession and watches for the impact of technology on users and new thinking on business, because it is, in fact, related.

Librarian 2.0 gets content This librarian understands that the future of libraries will be guided by how users access, consume and create content. Content is a conversation as well and librarians should participate. Users will create their own mash ups, remixes and original expressions and should be able to do so at the library or via the library’s resources. This librarian will help users become their own programming director for all of the content available to them. Librarian 2.0 also listens to staff and users when planning, tells the stories of successes and failures, learns from both, celebrates those successes, allows staff time to play and learn, and never stops dreaming about the best library services.

Also read what librarians Rick Anderson and John Riemer,  Chip Nigles, Vice-president of OCLC, and futurist Dr. Wendy Schultz have to say about “Web 2.0: Where will it take libraries?” in NextSpace,  the OCLC newsletter.  Read it here.



1. Larry Schwartz - October 25, 2006

This reads like a “mash-up” of “Theory Z” management books from the ’90s and the occasional “Dilbert” comic strip. Librarians, regardless (though I think the writer here would actually prefer “irregardless”) of their version (if they are good librarians) care about making sure that people find useful “stuff,” ensuring that the “stuff” thus found is more than data — that it is actually information. This information, filtered through the lens and rules of interpretation, can then become knowledge. True, it should have never mattered where those people are or in what way they are gaining access to the library; the writer here seems unaware of pesky relics of the 1.0 or 0.5 age known as “budgets” or “city councils,” which impose their own set of limitations upon the librarian and library.

Librarians, if they are good ones and regardless of their version, have ALWAYS listened to staff and users, and told stories, and continued to dream about the best library services. We call those who didn’t do these things “information scientists.”

2. Web 2.0, Library 2.0, Librarian 2.0 at NELA « Something New Every Day - October 27, 2006

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6. daniel choy - April 11, 2008

Interesting piece. I am 2 years late on this article. I am from Singapore, and I agree very much with Larry Schwartz that if any librarian is worth his/ her salt, then there is no versioning of the librarian. They would survive be they librarian 1.0 or 0.1 or even x.0.

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11. sandrar - September 10, 2009

Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

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