Some Great Reward

Monday, October 16, 2006

Library 2.0

While reading the "Icebergs" article by Rick Anderson, I thought of my experiences in my LIS classes. Addressing issues such as this is a big part of library school now (a debate that always came up was "googlizing" libraries because that was what patrons wanted which was also mentioned in the Riemer article) which is great, but not all librarians are embracing change. Anderson does point out it is hard for people to let go and adapt to change and I think that is to be expected and a natural reaction, but having people who are just entering our profession who are rigid and threaten progress is unfortunate. One instance of this happened in one of my study groups. Five of us were assigned to a group that worked together the majority of the semester and we turned in several papers as a group. All of us had jobs and families and we lived in various areas of western NC so it was almost impossible to get together except for before and after class and online. So, we decided to use a wiki to write our papers. Plus, it was good experience to try out something new. Everyone was for the idea except for one person. She stubbornly refused to do it because she didn't like "things like that", didn't understand it, and didn't want to learn. She also refused to believe we signed a contract at the beginning of library school saying we were responsible for certain technology requirements even though we all had to do it! This caused major friction within our team and by the end of the semester this had escalated to an openly hostile environment for our group including some nasty emails. Not a fun experience, but it was good material for our final paper on how our groups worked together (it was a management class)!

I don't know if you can wholly attribute this to different generations either. You could say it is much easier for up and coming librarians to be on board with change because they are more comfortable with technology and are learning about Library 2.0 in their LIS classes. The older generation have been doing things their way for many years and it could be harder to change to new methods. However, from what I have seen, it is not always about age when it comes to accepting change. I found it interesting in the article that he assumes the patrons are all on board as well. I am sure others of you have had patrons complain about new things such as picking up their own holds or (horrors!) checking out their own books. As one patron told me, "Doesn't anyone want to do anything for anybody anymore? I don't want to do it myself". You just can't please everyone!

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