2015 is the ten-year anniversary of the Library 2.0 movement (Wallace, O’Connell & Hsang Lui, 2015, para. 1). Since its inception, libraries have been trying to transform the way they serve and interact with customers (Casey & Savatinik, 2010, para. 2). This service model is participatory and based on the underlying principals of Web 2.0 including collaboration, conversation, community, content creation and crowd sourcing. In Building Academic Library 2.0, a presentation for a symposium sponsored by the Librarians Association of the University of California, Berkeley Division in 2007, suggestions were put forward about how to embrace the Library 2.0 ethos. In his opening remarks, Shel Waggener, states that today’s library should endeavour to know what people need and plan for it. He goes on to specify that forming partnerships is essential to this understanding. Following these opening remarks, the keynote speaker, Meredith Farkas agrees that Library 2.0 is essentially about meeting user needs. She also says that libraries need to: embrace a position of radical trust; get rid of the culture of perfect and adopt constant iterative processes; keep up with new technologies; and look outside the library for information and inspiration.
At the Mt Alvernia iCentre, we are four years into our journey of embracing Library 2.0 services and have identified a need to enter into a phase of reviewing and reconsidering of our virtual spaces for learning. This blog post will consider how our change process might be informed by the insights presented at the Berkeley symposium.
- Meeting user needs
The first phase of our journey was about moving into digital environments to complement our physical collections, services and spaces. This was driven by the changing information landscape and the College’s strategic directions to embed technology into classroom pedagogies. In order to do this, we engaged in creating a website, building digital resource collections and joining social media networks. This period involved a lot of experimentation, learning, and advocacy. Through reflection, research and feedback, we have identified that some of our work has been successful and yet there is room for improvement in meeting user needs. When asked if his class used the library website, one teacher responded with “why should we, what is in it for us?” This is a very important point – we need to make conversations with teachers, students and parents our priority, to listen carefully to what they need, and to use our expertise to meet these needs. Throughout this, we must ensure we communicate our intentions clearly and keep our processes transparent.
- Embracing a position of radical trust
Not only should we be meeting the needs of our users, but also think about ways of giving users the opportunity to be participants in our iCentre services, spaces and collections. While we have been very busy curating resources in Pinterest, pushing great ideas to our followers on Twitter and building a beautiful website, this has more often than not, followed a more traditional library model of “us on behalf of them” rather than the “us with them” philosophy of Library 2.0. In order to shift more in the direction of involving users as co-creators, we need to embrace a position of radical trust much like that evidenced in the crowd sourcing processes used by Wikipedia and the Ushahidi website which are powerful examples of collectives in action. Thomas and Seely Brown maintain this is important in the digital age in which participation now “shapes and augments the stream of information” (2011, loc. 596). In digital collectives, the contributions of people, skills and talents lead to results greater than the sum of individual achievements (2011, loc. 767). As we move forward, we are thinking about ways that we can embed user comments, tags and ratings to feed user-created content back into our website as suggested by Casey & Savastinuk to create a more informative product for subsequent users (2010, para. 11). In the iCentre, we are taking a first step in this direction by involving our teachers in our efforts to curate resources in Pinterest and their expert knowledge of the curriculum and students, we hope, will build an even stronger collection. Our hope is that it will also provide a sense of ownership in the collection and make it more useful and more widely used.
- Getting rid of the culture of perfect and adopting constant iterative processes
This is something that we value highly in the iCentre. We position ourselves as learners and view our endeavours to date as only the beginning of an ever-changing process. We value ongoing assessment and need to continue thinking about methods of embedding feedback to inform our services.
- Keeping up with new technologies
Learning is a key value in the iCentre and we believe every member of the community is a learner. As a staff, we endeavour to enact this value. Each member of our professional team that consists of two Teacher-Librarians and three Library Technicians is engaged in formal study. Each member of the team is also committed to building a Professional Learning Network (PLN) through connections made in person and online. Through these avenues, we are constantly discovering and sharing new technologies and thinking about ways that these might benefit the students we work with.
- Looking outside the library for information and inspiration
Louise Starkey maintains the impact of connected environments is widespread and is changing the nature of knowledge. Her research suggests that, “ideas about ‘knowledge’ appear to be changing from something that is found in the heads of individuals or in books to something that is not fixed, is debatable, accessible through a range of media and created through networks, connections and collaboration” (2011, p. 22). Given this, it is important that we consider ways of providing our users with the tools and skills that will connect them to ideas beyond the library and empower them to form their own networks. For this reason, we believe it is important to keep investing in a website that offers avenues for these connections rather than restricting students’ library experience to the OPAC.
As we move forward in our journey to develop Library 2.0 services, a key focus must be on involving our community of users every step of the way. We need to listen carefully to their needs when planning, we need to involve them as co-creators of information and we need to do this by embracing a position of radical trust. At the same time, we need to continue our practice of positioning ourselves as learners in order to adopt constant iterative processes, keep up with new technologies, and look beyond the library for inspiration.
Casey, M. E., & Savastinuk, L. C. (2010). Library 2.0. Library Journal, (May), 21st ser. Retrieved January 24, 2015, from http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2010/05/technology/library-2-0/
Starkey, L. (2011). Evaluating learning in the 21st century: A digital age learning matrix. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 20(1), 19-39. doi:10.1080/1475939X.2011.554021
Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. Lexington, KY: CreateSpace.
UC Berkeley Events. (2007, November 19). Building Academic Library 2.0. Retrieved January 26, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_uOKFhoznI&feature=youtu.be
Wallace, J., O’Connell, J. and Hsang Liu, Y. (2014, November). INF506: Social Networking for Information Professionals [Module 4]. Lecture. Retrieved January 26, 2015, from http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/INF506_201490_W_D/page/2d80ff67-8bcd-4aa5-007a-d987f88fcd97
Universities Begin Winter Semester. [Photography]. Retrieved from Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. http://quest.eb.com/#/search/115_3899958/1/115_3899958/cite