Entry 6: Building (Academic) Library 2.0

In this entry, I would like to consider the advice given in the video “Building Academic Library 2.0”, and how it might be applied to a library somewhere in between academic libraries and public libraries: the University of North Carolina Hospitals Lending Library.  The library is intended for the patients and hospital staff, though we also serve the general public.  The collection itself is developed for a general audience: the majority of the collection consists of fiction, with one-and-a-quarter shelves of non-academic nonfiction.

Because the Lending Library runs on a shoestring budget and donations, the library is limited to the physical space and has no online presence.  However, a number of points raised by the speakers could help even this small library embrace a Library 2.0 ethos.  These include:

  • Creating partnerships
  • Radical trust (faith in users)
  • Looking outside the library world for inspiration
  • Questioning everything
  • Recognizing that good ideas can come from anyone and anywhere
  • Understanding that Library 2.0 isn’t just technology

Creating partnerships could help us expand our horizons by establishing collaborative relationships with other organizations, while radical trust in our users and recognizing that good ideas can come from anyone and anywhere could further develop collaborative relationships and establish a conversation with our users.  By questioning everything, we can identify things that are or aren’t working, which will allow us to address these issues and improve, for example by looking outside the library world for inspiration.  Finally, because our library is firmly grounded in the physical space, understanding that Library 2.0 isn’t just technology will help us incorporate the key principles of collaboration, conversation, community, and co-creation without falling into the trap of thinking we can’t do that because we aren’t online.

In addition to improving day-to-day practice in the library directly, incorporating these Library 2.0 concepts into the policies and guidelines under which we operate could help us improve our relations with other entities that do have presence on social media.  In particular, creating partnerships, radical trust, and questioning everything could help us optimize our performance so that the presence we do have on social media–through the comments of others–is a positive one.

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