Web 2.0 and Too Much Stuff

Posted: January 25, 2009 in ala midwinter 2009, conferences, library, software, web 2.0
Tags: , , , ,

As I listen to people talk in various sessions, it’s clear that many librarians are feeling overwhelmed by the exploding number of Web 2.0 (and other) applications out there. Which ones will “stick”? Which ones will patrons actually use? How steep is the learning curve for staff? Which ones can the library’s budget support? Which ones can the library’s personnel support?

 

Many libraries are still struggling with these questions and just trying to figure out how to get started. While there are a few libraries fortunate enough to have an employee charged with investigating these new technologies, most are not. So where do we start?

 

It strikes me that a good approach is to look for people who already have those skills. Many employees, student employees, or even patrons may already have a good handle on using a certain tool. Find them. Harness their knowledge. Use it to give yourselves a jump start.

 

No one can jump onto and follow every new trend that comes along, but you can find out what your patrons are using. If no one on staff is using it, how about asking the patron for help? Most people really enjoy sharing knowledge, especially when they feel that they are the expert. If we try to tap into patrons’ knowledge, students’ skills, and staff interests, I think we’ll be surprised at the number of services where we already have a built-in knowledgebase.

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