Librarian 2.0

My name is Kim Woolery.  I just recently moved back to Missouri after spending 4 years living in San Diego.  I already miss it!  I received my BA in English and Writing from Drury University in 2006 and I’m in my 8th semester at SLIS.  I spent the last few years working for a respite care agency, but now I’m looking for new work.  I would ultimately like to work in youth services.

Last semester I took the Transformative Learning and Technology Literacies class where we addressed Learning 2.0.  That class (and I suspect this one, as well) was an eye-opening experience for me, but not in the way I expected.  I was in high school when blogging, Myspace, and personal websites began to become popular and college when Facebook, Youtube, and Wikipedia began.  I, and those around me, integrated the idea of the read/write web into our lives fairly easily and I often have a difficult time remembering the time before it.  Therefore, I often forget that this isn’t necessarily the case for many people involved in the library and information fields or many of the library users. Learning about the issues surrounding Web 2.0, defining it, and figuring out how to incorporate it into the field has helped me not only better understand Web 2.0, but also the experiences of those whose background is different from mine.

This is partially why I found the Partridge article so interesting. It was fascinating to read the various responses concerning “Librarian 2.0.” Seeing how professionals in the field defined it and viewed their participation in it prompted me to think about several things I hadn’t before. I could discuss the entire article easily, but for the sake of space I wanted to touch on a few items from it that really struck me.

The first was the section that stated “One participant commented on the fact that we do not insist that all librarians like to read, so why than [sic] should we insist that all librarians have a Web 2.0 presence?” (Partridge, 2011, p. 258). This is an interesting point and I both agree and disagree with it. I don’t think it’s necessary that every librarian have a large Web 2.0 presence. Though the field is evolving, Web 2.0 is certainly only one aspect. However, that’s greatly simplifying the situation. A lack of love of reading won’t necessarily negatively affect a librarian’s ability to do is or her job. For example the ability to sit down and enjoy a novel isn’t necessary to provide good reference service. Focusing solely on Web 2.0 would be to the detriment of the field, especially since a large part of the user population doesn’t need or isn’t able to access that type of service. However, the lack of willingness to adapt to Web 2.0 could negatively affect a librarian’s ability to do his or her job as we move towards a more digital culture. It’s not necessary to be an expert, but an attempt to understand is definitely a benefit not only to the patron, but to the librarian. After all “If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less” (General Eric Shinseki, Chief of Staff, U. S. Army).

A second section that struck me was the idea that “Participants unanimously agreed that the 2.0 librarian should possess a complex array of personality traits. One participant even declared that personality traits were more important than skills” (Partridge, 2011, p. 260). While I certainly don’t agree that personality traits are more important than skills, the idea that Librarian 2.0 should be flexible, adaptable, and willing to try new things is something I agree with. In fact, the idea that the library and information field is one that is changing, and in many cases changing rapidly, is part of why I’m so excited to be a part of it. It’s one of the few fields where we have the ability to experiment with new platforms and different subjects, while still working with the users to best serve them.

Partridge, H. (2011). Librarian 2.0: It’s All in the Attitude! Proceedings of the 2011 ACRL Conference.

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4 responses

  1. Amanda.Dillon | Reply

    Kim,

    I also really enjoyed the partridge article. I feel like our skills are very important, but it really doesn’t matter if the attitude is not there. If the librarian is not willing to work and collaborate with the user to teach them these skills, nothing has been gained by having the skills! I think we will see more changes in the relationship between patron and librarian. It’s definitely going to be less of an “I have the information” attitude and more of a “let me share this with you” attitude. I couldn’t reply without commenting on the fact that you were a respite care working, which means you are probably very suited to working with people, and clearly have a lot of patience and compassion… that will really serve you well with patrons!

    Amanda

  2. Hey Kim, Remember me from our library management course with Prof. Bell and our public library group strategic plan project? You, and the rest of the team, were such great collaborators that I hope you’ll consider teaming up with me again for this course’s group project.

    1. I do remember you! I’d love to work together again.

  3. meredithfarkas | Reply

    “Web 2.0 could negatively affect a librarian’s ability to do his or her job as we move towards a more digital culture”

    In a previous iteration of this class, I had a student who was told that part of the reason she wasn’t considered for a job was that she didn’t have a profile on LinkedIn. While I found this kind of crazy, it was interesting to see that employers are beginning to expect librarians to be conversant with these technologies and to promote themselves using these technologies. Having been on plenty of search committees, I don’t care what someone uses personally in terms of social media, so long as they are conversant with the technologies and can apply them in their work. But I think some people make the assumption that if you don’t have a social media presence, you’re not conversant with the technologies, putting people who might be more private in a difficult position (though I do think that even private people can create a presence online that doesn’t violate their sense of privacy).

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