I think the most important attribute for information professionals in the Web 2.0 world is to meet people where they are. This involves not only having a skillset which embraces all of the types of Web 2.0 technology which library users are using or want to use, but most importantly maintaining an openness to the possibility that our users might be either way more savvy with some tools and just not interested in others, no matter how excited we are about them. If we develop a tool to reach our users and all we hear are crickets chirping, we haven’t done our homework. As Fudrow stated (2007, in Harvey, 2009), “Web and library 2.0 isn’t about finding the next ‘new’ technology, but instead about finding the ‘right’ one”.
The key is, I believe, to embrace the ‘radical trust’ which Farkas (2007, 20:00) describes and to be willing to make full use of user-driven content and the opportunity for conversation which Web 2.0 provides all organisations now. Our users have numerous channels to be a powerful voice in the way we design and deliver our services, be they via “telephone, Skype, IM, SMS, texting, e-mail, virtual reference” (Abrams, 2007) , Facebook, twitter, Pinterest, virtual communities, or any other means of communication. As Farkas says, “Academic Library 2.0 is a state of mind” which sees our users as “partners in the future of developing our libraries” (2007, 19:40- 20:21).
This shouldn’t paint a picture of information specialists just riding a wave of user trends, but instead of using these new tools to really listen to our users, to gather data about their use of our services in ways which tell us what is working, what could work better and how we can add value to their information experience. It is up to information specialists to add value to users’ experience by matching awareness about, and delivery of, resources and services to their needs, which is something we’ve always done to some extent. The difference is that now we have countless new tools to choose from to have that dialogue be transparent, targeted and timely.
Abram, S. (2007). Web 2.0, Library 2.0 and Librarian 2.0: Preparing for the 2.0 world. Online International Conference Proceedings, December 2007. Retrieved from http://ucv.academia.edu/RodriguezJorge/Papers/1064417/Web_2.0_Library_2.0_and_Librarian_2.0_Preparing_for_the_2.0_World
Farkas, M. (2007). Building academic library 2.0. In UCBerkeleyevents (YouTube). Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_uOKFhoznI
Harvey, M. (2009). What does it mean to be a science librarian 2.0? Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, Summer. doi: 10.5062/F4M906KW