A Dialogue on L2: The services change, the mission does not
I received this from Laura Savastinuk today:
There has been a lot of discussion recently over what is Library 2.0 and what everyone really thinks it means - and that is fantastic. But, I'm beginning to feel as though we're drowning ourselves in philosophy and forgetting the main point of all this - better library service. I'm reading where people are debating whether Library 2.0 should it be Library 3.0, Library 4.0, Library 5.0, etc. If the name is such an issue, why not call it Library X? And then there are people pondering over what a library really is? Is it a building or an organization or just an idea? And should we talk about 2.0 in terms of libraries or librarians? Not a bad discussion to have, but I'm worried we're going to lose ourselves by over-analyzing what is really a simple concept. I just don't want the main point of Library 2.0 to be lost because we're (all) being too detail-specific OR too philosophical, at this stage anyway. You did say that Library 2.0 (or whatever we call it) is best defined by individual libraries. If so, then we don't want to bog ourselves down in details that should ultimately be decided by whatever library incorporates this new method of service. What are your thoughts on that?
I agree. We're seeing many of the same questions being tossed at Library 2.0 (L2) as we do at Web 2.0. This is to be expected. Many want to control the meaning, the definition of L2; all I want is to do is illuminate the goal. We’re all going to see and view L2 differently because we’re all moving at different speeds and we’re at different points along the path to L2. Our view of L2 is relative to our own situation, but we can agree on certain fundamental goals that Library 2.0 speaks to.
One thing you mention that goes through my mind a lot is, "what is a library?" I'm not sure we know anymore, and I fear one of the things we're going to see is increasingly diverse interpretations of what a library really is. There is no way to begin including some of the things that have been discussed as being L2 without thinking that libraries may soon begin deviating from each other's understanding of library.
This, to me, is where a clearly defined mission comes into play. The tools we use, the services we offer, the staffing models we follow…all of it can change (and needs to change in order to evolve and improve) so long all we do drives us towards serving our mission. The services change, the mission does not.