Enter Librarians 2.0 – We’re not paid to shush!

 

Librarian Signaling Quiet. [Photography]. Retrieved from Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. http://quest.eb.com/images/154_2888635

Librarian Signaling Quiet. [Photography]. Retrieved from Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. http://quest.eb.com/images/154_2888635

Often when we tell people that we are Teacher-Librarians (TLs) a strange smile spreads over their face. Straight away we feel a need to defend what we do and explain that we don’t actually spend our days loaning out books, nor do we hide in the stacks waiting to catch people talking, or putting things back in the wrong places. In fact, sadly, often we can go days without even touching a book. So this begs the question, what do Teacher-Librarians in the world of Web 2.0 actually do?

Teacher-Librarians are uniquely qualified: we are specialists, we are teachers, we are learners, we are researchers, we are information specialists we are supporters, we are facilitators, we are connectors, we are teachers AND we are readers. We’d love to give you a run-down of what we do everyday, but, in this position, no day is ever the same. We think on our feet, we go where we’re needed and we share what we know, or find what we don’t. Libraries 2.0 don’t just store information, they connect learners with skills, tools and information and, as teacher-librarians, this is what we do. We are the space, we are the library and we’re everything in between.

So how can we help you? Firstly, we like to research. We’re information specialists, so ask us to help you find resources, or show you where to find them. We can teach you and we can teach your students, we’re very friendly and we don’t discriminate. We love books, fiction and non-fiction, ebooks and audio. Ask us to talk about them, recommend one, read one. We’ll build a campfire and make hot chocolate.

We’re quite literate, we love literacies and we love sharing our knowledge of these. Digital literacy, computer literacy, media literacy, information literacy, technology literacy, visual literacy. We have the skills, we have the knowledge. If we don’t, we’ll find out. All you need to do is ask.

We love change, we love mess, we love order. Need a Space? Teacher-centred, student-centred, collaborative, campfire. We’ll make one.

We love to travel. We can come to your class, in fact please ask us. We can share our knowledge, assist you or collaborate with you. The Library 2.0 has no walls. We can tweet you, skype you, call you, blog with you.. We’d love to help you do the same.

We can help you connect. To a professional learning network, to your colleagues, to your family, to your friends. Need help with your privacy settings? We can show you how to set them and check them.

We research. A lot. Pedagogy, technology, trends in education, the lot. Ask us. We love to share. We love to learn.

Some confessions we’ve always wanted to make. Catalogues bore us, we’re not great with contact. Laminating scares us, we don’t sleep on the beanbags, we like noise.. lots of it. We don’t know the history behind book-binding and haven’t memorised the Dewey Decimal system. We make a mess and we eat in the library.. often.

We are Teacher-Librarians in the world of Web 2.0 Library 2.0.

Is your Library in the World of 2.0?

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The connectedness and interactivity of Web 2.0 challenges us to only change our behaviour online, but it always pushes schools and businesses to rethink they do to cater for clientele that are used to such fast-passed, click-of-the-button service.  One particular sector that has been under great pressure to alter or face redundancy is libraries.  School libraries especially are quickly realising they need to offer services to cater for the change in teaching and learning that has accompanied Web 2.0 as their users are preferring to visit Google and  other Internet services over the library catalogue, under the belief that the library can no longer meet their needs. Enter the notion of Library 2.0.

The video below published by UC Berkeley discusses the notion of Library 2.0 and flags several concepts for libraries to follow when ensuring their services reflect twenty-first century, digital age services.

Keynote speaker Meredith Farkas discusses Library 2.0 as building on the concept of Web 2.0 where instead of users being only viewers of information, they became active participants in the creation of information (UC Berkeley Events, 2007). Whereas our traditional libraries acted primarily as storehouses of information, they must now evolve to reflect societal and technological changes and reevaluate how to meet the needs of users in the world of the digital age. Perhaps the biggest change libraries can make to move into the world of 2.0 is embrace the notion that our services can no longer remain static, we must constantly alter what we do to reflect the world around us, whether we have yet perfected the service or not.

The video below created by myself and colleague Helen Stower provides one example of how our libraries can enter to the world of 2.0 and evolve to meet the needs of users.

As suggested by Farkas in her UC Berkeley address, libraries need to reimagine what they can offer in their spaces and how they can enter Web 2.0 and respond to the needs of our digital age users. This involves considering exactly who the users of library are, in the case of the Mount Alvernia iCentre, this meant altering services to not only consider the needs of students of the college but all learners; teachers, parents and the wider community.  After all, in the world of Library 2.0, access to the library becomes open to anyone with internet access, not just those who access the physical space.  If users can access Google and other information services from the comfort of their own home, why wouldn’t they want to access the services of their school library from the same place.  Hence, libraries that offer 2.0 services must allow for interaction with users  via websites and social media sites. The Slideshare below highlights some key considerations for school libraries to consider when altering their services from a Library 1.0 model to that of a 2.0 model.

http://www.slideshare.net/schrk/slideshelf

Most importantly, the biggest recommendation for libraries looking to enter the world of Library 2.0 is to dive and meet users where they are at, if we continue to sit back and wait for services in the digital age to become perfect and static, they will have changed before we have the chance to offer them in our spaces.

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Reference List

UC Berkeley Events.  (2007, November 19).  Building academic library 2.0 . Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_uOKFhoznI

Letting Others Control How You Are Perceived Online

online-reviews

Question and Answer services and User Review sites have become increasingly popular features of Web 2.0 platforms as users connect with each other by asking or answering questions and posting reviews or services or products they have encountered. While in theory this concept is not a new one, the posting of these things online allows the option of anonymity, making the validity and reliability of content questionable and hard to trace. While in the physical world we can choose to gain opinions, answers and feedback from people we know and trust, we cannot guarantee this in the digital world. Also, instead of being able to judge an individual’s response by way of physical determents, such as body language and tone, their response is reliant on their ability to articulate themselves in writing (Jeon & Rieh, 2014, p.663). Consequently, while it may be useful to gather feedback, answers and reviews at the click of a button online, users are often taking a gamble in doing this, as unless they are able to trace or verify the source, they are relying on feedback from someone completely unknown to them, with motives that are completely unknown.

While these question and answer and review sites provide a certain convenience for users who may be shopping or need a quick answer, we cannot overlook the potentially detrimental affects of the anonymity of these services, as evidenced in the video below, when 12 year old student Rebecca Sedwick committed suicide after she was bullied on popular question and answer sites, Kik and Ask.FM

 

This may be an extreme example, but it does lead us to question whether the anonymity allowed on such sites makes it easier for people to act without consequences of their actions.  This also leads to users being able to give an opinion or review of a person or business out of context, as is seen regularly on social media sites such as Facebook when disgruntled customers post their annoyance, anger or negative opinions on company pages for all users to see.

Even though question and answer and reviews sites are prone to negative feedback, many businesses revel in the free publicity and advertising they gain.  Racherla and Friske suggest that online word-of-mouth platforms such as TripAdvisor and Amazon have become the most valuable sources of information for online consumers, as these sites allow them to become fully informed as the product details and social interactions available allow them to become fully informed (2012, p.548). These same authors warn however, that there is still a way to go in terms of  the balances and checks put in place on these platforms to ensure that the user is gathering valid information and not experiencing a sense of ‘infowhelm‘ (2012, p.558). Additionally, more recent examples of customers being fined by companies for leaving bad reviews on word-of-mouth platform raise the question of how these sites are monitored and controlled.

Allowing others to control how individuals or businesses are perceived online is definitely a reality of Web 2.0.  However, as with any interaction in a digital environment, users must exercise digital etiquette and common digital citizenship practices to ensure that they are discerning in their use of these sites.

Reference List

Jeon, G. Y., & Rieh, S.U. (2014).  Answers form the crowd: How credible are strangers in social Q&A? iConference 2014 Proceedings (p.663 – 668).  Retrieved from http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/106410/Jeon_Rieh_iConference2014_answers%20from%20the%20crowd.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

Racherla, P., & Friske, W. (2012).  Perceived ‘usefulness’ of online consumer reviews: An exploratory investigation across three service categories.  Electronic Commerce Research and Applications, 11(6), 548-559.  doi: 10.1016/j.elerap.2012.06.003