Meredith Farkas made several key points in her keynote address at the symposium ‘Building Academic Library 2.0’ in 2007. Five points resonated with me most in terms of academic libraries embracing the Library 2.0 ethos. (I work at one of these).
One: Farkas’ comment that ‘Libraries are not the only game in town’ is a timely reminder that the ubiquity of Google and the instantaneous nature of social networking are the new models for library service: our services and our communications methods need to be at the cutting edge of the social Web to reach our users ‘where they are’.
Two: Farkas’ concept of ‘radical trust’, emphasising the importance of having faith in and listening to users in developing new services. This cannot be underestimated in implementing new social networking tools. Library users’ feedback and usage habits tell us so much about what works, what might work, and what our users actually expect from our service.
Three: Farkas’ statement that ‘the culture of perfect has to go – it’s a constant iterative process – nothing is ever ‘done’’. There is no ‘set and forget’ with library services: new social software needs to be allocated enough time and resources to stay dynamic, generating interest and activity. My library does this well with its twitter feed, choosing targeted and timely updates, and responding to comments and queries quickly.
Four: This feeds in to Farkas’ point about ‘going to where your users are’: having a voice for the library on platforms which users actually frequent makes all the difference in advocating for the library and, even more importantly, answering queries directly and promptly. This is another advantage of an effectively maintained twitter feed.
Five: Farkas’ point about not just ‘looking to your own library type’ to learn new things is also great advice for academic libraries. Much can be learned from what libraries of all types are doing with social networking, and from other service models as well: they are an invaluable source of information about what has worked, or not, and what can be done better.
Farkas, M. (2007). Building academic library 2.0. In UCBerkeleyevents (YouTube). Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_uOKFhoznI