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That “You Know What” feeling January 27, 2006

Posted by unamable in Libraries, Library 2.0, library thing, LibraryLand, Repatronising.

Very sobering to read Walt Crawford’s piece on the reviled and beloved “You Know What” and Steve Lawson’s followup. One, to me, was a great assessment of what has happened the other recontextualises the whole thing in terms of “let’s more forward”.

Coming from a library system which is relatively well off in terms of access to IT and quite forward-looking with regard to service delivery – we do see that we have the potential and inclination to move forward. But I am aware that there are other libraries in other systems where “You Know What” (o.k…o.k. Library 2.0 and all its appendages) doesn’t amount to very much. Given the other difficulties they face I suppose it must look very faddish and pampered. But even though I come out of system of haves I am still mindful of others who are more preoccupied by more immediate issues.

However, regardless of what Library 2.0 is and how it is defined, or is being redefined each day, it still remains to me an illumination of the possible future. Further, I would say that it actually stops us focusing on issues which concern our incremental irrelevance or impending doom (while of course providing good reasons for our continued relevance and bright prospects). All professions which are in the process of change, as we are need, some form of roadmap even if it seems one to a mythical kingdom. Libraries are connected to:(to borrow from my library system’s tagline)

Knowledge – which is not only what is in our libraries but what we do with what we have and what our patrons do with what they find useful (and how it can become part of what we have – and so the wheel goes round)

Imagination – which is something we deal in whether it is the way that we present our libraries to our public, what happens when people make use of our libraries and how we devise stimulating ways of interacting with our patrons ;

Possibility – realising what we can do with the knowledge we have access to, combining that with our imagination and creating or grasping possibilities for services, interaction and reinvention
So Library 2.0 is to me a range of possibilities that the information/knowledge/library should not be divided by – if the dialogue is allowed to develop there will be something for everyone. Let’s not get bogged down in either the what-it-is or what-it-is not hole or the fact that its all driven by whizzbang software which is here today gone tomorrow. I am a cynical as anyone when it comes to the “next big thing” but I also like my work and the way it keeps changing – it makes getting up each day pretty worthwhile ..and, at minimum, I like that feeling.



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