As someone who came of age at a time when using online tools was pretty standard, I find the idea of Learning 2.0/23 (or more) Things very fascinating. I know I often take it for granted that someone would already be familiar with everything on that list, but I’m equally as often reminded that that isn’t the case. However, for librarians, it’s vital to maintain abreast of the popular technology. Librarianship is no longer simply “Every reader his book. Every book it’s reader.” Yet, even now, some libraries find themselves lagging behind in terms of technology. By doing so, they’re also missing out on an excellent opportunity to connect with their community.
I’m always surprised with how disappointing I find the online presence of many libraries. Take, for example, San Diego’s public library. Though each branch has a Facebook page, my community’s branch posted nothing between June 2010 and September 2010. This was the time when the summer reading program was running and out of school activities were occurring. What a great opportunity it would have been to connect with youth who were eligible for the program by using Facebook and yet this opportunity was missed. In 2011, they only made 2 posts for the entire year. Again, this is such a missed opportunity for letting the community know about library events and services, as well as showing the community that the library is “with it” when it comes to popular technologies. Facebook, of course, is only one example (and one that isn’t even included on the original list).
On Stephen’s Lighthouse, he writes about a comic that seemed to imply that 23 Things was now irrelevant. While I can suppose that parts of it could be considered dated, the concept is still vitally important. Those who are reluctant to learn about new technologies often are coming from a place of fear. They find technology intimidating or believe it will be too complicated to learn. Even in my non-library job, I’ve encountered individuals that refuse to learn simply because they think they can’t. The beauty of the plan is that it’s so simple to participate in. It gradually introduces those following it to the idea that new platforms don’t have to be difficult or intimidating. I’d argue that this is one of the most important things this plan does. It teaches the individuals that they’re capable of remaining up-to-date no matter how much of a novice they might have previously been.
Though this is the first time I’ve been introduced to it, I’ve come to believe that this is a plan that all libraries could benefit from. They simply would need to adjust it to fit their own needs and the level of technological awareness of their staff. Being flexible is the key.