What Version Are You?

I have been trying to read an article about how to properly use SWOT analysis for strategic planning. It is so riveting that I have been alternately staring off into space and checking my various email accounts. My library is beginning a strategic planning phase and I am on the Steering Committee. Strategery! I am hoping that we can address some technology concerns in our planning process, so I sent the committee the Library 2.0 paper and surrounding discussion, which I mentioned Sunday.

Since Sunday, I have been thinking quite a bit about Library and Librarian 2.0. This discussion reminds me of a similar theme, the Blended Librarian, first discussed by Steven J. Bell and John Shank. While I agree with many of the ideas behind being a “blended librarian,” I take issue with the term, because when I read the definition of what a blended librarian is I think that is what all librarians all should be. Here is the definition from the web site:

An academic librarian who combines the traditional skill set of librarianship with the information technologist’s hardware/software skills, and the instructional or educational designer’s ability to apply technology appropriately in the teaching-learning process.

Should not all librarians:

  • understand instructional design
  • have good technology skills
  • understand how technology can enhance resources and research
  • help professors integrate information literacy into their courses
  • promote integration of the library into the learning process

I do not think we need a fancy name. We already have a name, librarian. I think Library 2.0 is a different sort of concept, since it has more to do with collaborative software and how the library, not the librarian, interacts with the public. But if I were to define Librarian 2.0 it would go something like the following:

A Librarian 2.0 would:

  • understand and use disruptive technologies
  • recognize that the library has no walls, physical or otherwise, if information is truly to be free
  • work to reach users where and when the PON (point of need) occurs
  • work to educate coworkers and the public on different uses of communication and collaboration software

Very soon though, I think we should all be Librarian 2.0s. We will have to be for our users to find us useful at all. Then we will not need a fancy name like Library or Librarian 2.0. We will just be the Library in which there are Librarians.

What would you add to the list?

–Jane, a Jane by any other name…

For more information on the blended librarian, see the following:

Bell, Steven J. and John Shank. “The Blended Librarian: A Blueprint for Redifining the Teaching and Learning Role of Academic Librarians.” College and Research Libraries News 65 7: 372-375.

One thought on “What Version Are You?

  • November 28, 2005 at 2:52 pm

    Thanks for mentioning Blended Librarianship in your post. We would agree that it would be great if all librarians adapted instructional design and technology skills, but the reality is that it is unlikely to happen anytime soon. Consider that most library education programs don’t even teach these skills. To create awareness about the need for academic librarians to shift their skill set it can be helpful to create a movement or name – whatever you want to call it – to bring attention to the need for change. Also keep in mind that Blended Librarianship isn’t just a suggestion for what librarians ought to be doing – it’s also an online learning community where we attempt to bring together folks interested in this topic to discuss and learn more about it. So by giving it a name it is also a way that those interested in the concept can identify with it. I would say that what we are doing does differ from the talk about library 2.0 or librarian 2.0 – which to my way of thinking are more generic.

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