OLJ Task Module 3.2 Building Academic Library 2.0

Transforming Libraries with Web 2.0

What is a Web2.0 Library?

Farkas (2007) maintains that in a Web 2.0 library, users are “participants” in information as opposed to consumers of information in Web 1.0.  Casey and Savastinuk (2006) contend library 2.0 is an environment focused on “user-centred change” in which users are invited to participate in the creation of the physical and virtual services they want.

In a YouTube video of a segment of a symposium entitled “Building Academic Library 2.0” at Berkley University in 2007, three speakers, namely: the CEO of Berkley University, Shel Wagner; Berkley Librarian, Tom Leonard; and Keynote Speaker Meredith Farkas; spoke about what they felt was important to the development of a Web 2.0 library.

I will highlight five points made by the speakers that I consider to be very important and relevant to my situation in a semi-rural K-12 school.

 1.      Know Our Users/Students

Where they are they (in social media) and what do they want? Web 2.0 is participative and to maximise this, knowing our users and their needs is imperative (Miller, 2005), and allows us to establish trust and a good relationship with our users (Schrier, 2011).

2.      Time/Planning

All the components of social media including initial planning, getting to know our users, set up, implementation, ongoing maintenance and evaluation all require a significant amount of time allocation if the chosen media is to work well and achieve set goals.

3.      Constant Evaluation of our Services

The information landscape and social media is changing at an exponential rate. Farkas (2007) recommends getting rid of the culture “perfect”. There is no such thing as the perfect blog or wiki. We need to start out simple and understand that it is a constant iterative process.

4.      Staff Involvement and Understanding Staff Resistance

What are their needs and limitations? Involve them in all levels of planning. How can we best help them with change and professional development? New technologies can be overwhelming and everyone learns differently. Partnerships with staff are crucial to the success of new innovations.

5.      Transparency

This requires some loss of control and can be the most frightening, but allows the user to make comments and allows the library to build trusted relationships with its users. Users can offer insights on how to make improvements in services and the collection, making it more user-friendly and often results in more support (Schrier).


Casey, M. & Savastinuk, L. (2006). Library 2.0: Service for the next-generation library, Library Journal, 1 September. Retrieved from http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6365200.html

Farkas, M. (2007). Building Academic Library 2.0. University of California, Berkeley. Retrieved Dec 29, 2013 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_uOKFhoznI

Miller, P. (2005). Web 2.0: Building the new library, Ariadne, 45, 30 October. Retrieved from http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue45/miller

Schrier, Robert A. (2011). Digital librarianship & social media: the digital library as conversation facilitator, D-Lib Magazine, 17(7/8) July/August 2011. Retrieved from http://dlib.org/dlib/july11/schrier/07schrier.html


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