Discussion Needs @ Your Library

I have to say that I am enamored of technology. Not to the point where I have to have the latest gadgets, I have an index card “PDA” known as a “Hipster PDA”, but that I am simply astounded by the way that technology changes the way we view communities. The recent burst of blogs, wikis, and RSS feeds are prime examples of how the online world is redefining communities. It is no surprise to those of us who have been online for awhile; we have been posting and lurking on message/discussion boards for years. We read people’s thoughts everyday and we “know” them. We refer to them sometimes in conversations.

As a librarian, the way these online communities disseminate information is especially intriguing. News can be rapidly spread through RSS feeds. We no longer have to cruise over different news sites. We can read it all in our aggregators. Wikis can be used as a way of discussing all aspects of a concept, person, place, or time in history and it is categorized! The internet has given us new ways to interact and think out loud. That said, The Shifted Librarian makes a good point today about how librarians are NOT connected. Our major professional organizations are just beginning to wade into the blogsphere.

And that’s what library organizations don’t get – conversation. That’s why ALA, LITA, ILA, and other major institutions don’t blog, certainly not with open comments. Even this seems beyond their reach right now. But that’s what we need to open up – a conversation with the outside world, as well as amongst ourselves. (Link here)

Is ALA afraid of what its constituents might say given free reign? Would they be inundated with requests that they start helping the “little guys” more and admin and big companies less? Would they then truly have to discuss the lack of online options for people who find the financial burden of two conferences a year, simply to sit in committee meetings, crippling?

Just think of all the good that could come of ALA, ACRL, and the like, if they would open themselves up to discussion. What new ideas and innovations would come from a free form wiki on libraries? Or a community blog?

–Jane, wants a wiki