We Got 2.0 Librarians, Not 2.0 Libraries

I am a bit behind on my reading for an assortment of reasons, but I just read a post today from The Other Librarian, Ryan Deschamps, entitled We Asked for 2.0 Libraries and We Got 2.0 Librarians. It is a good post, about what Library 2.0 is and why it is still important. However, when I saw the title, I thought it was going to be about something else. I thought the post was going to be about how we have produced a larger number of 2.0 Librarians, but sadly, very few 2.0 Libraries.

Here, for my ranty enjoyment, is that post.

First, a fun disclaimer: Yes, there are 2.0 libraries. Yes, there are libraries trying to move forward, but this post is not about the minority. This post is about the majority as Jane sees it.

Library 2.0 has succeeded in nothing as well as creating a group of frustrated 2.0 Librarians. L2 has done a wonderful job of educating, enlightening, and invigorating librarians to be better, to do better, and to involve our patrons. We are reaching a critical mass of librarians who are excited about what is possible. The problem is that many of those librarians are stuck in 1.0 libraries.

I know that being 2.0 in a 1.0 environment can proceed great change and innovation in YPOW. I have seen this happen. I have seen it happen slowly at MPOW. I also know, both from personal and anecdotal experience, that being 2.0 in a 1.0 library means extreme frustration with the glacial pace of change, immovable people and policies, or any other number of things that make you wonder why you bother. Sometimes it means banging your head against a wall that will never move. Being 2.0 in a 1.0 environment can foster independence, confidence, and innovative thinking. (Getting around the rules is an art form.) It can be a positive thing, a testing of your wits. Eventually though, the challenge can wear you down.

2.0 Librarians usually end up leaving for somewhere better, more innovative. This is a great option if you are mobile and able to move. Not everyone can. This “brain drain” has resulted in a hand full of libraries doing really great stuff, a few more libraries sticking toes in the water, and the majority of libraries looking around in befuddlement. I would not be afraid to guess that in many 1.0 libraries, there are 2.0 librarians working behind the scenes and those librarians are tired.

The day I am waiting for is when there are more 2.0 librarians then 1.0 librarians or at least when there are more 2.0 librarians as PTB (Powers That Be). I think then the brain drain will lessen. Then I will not rant about this particular thing any longer. There will, however, probably be a 4.0 librarian griping about the slow, dim-witted 2.0 down the hall.

On a less ranty note: 2.0 librarians do support each other well. I think for many of us, for me, there are days when the community keeps us smiling and looking for new ways to change our libraries.

–Jane, hopes she never becomes the librarian that change forgot

6 thoughts on “We Got 2.0 Librarians, Not 2.0 Libraries

  • September 20, 2007 at 9:55 pm
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    I’ve been dipping in and out of my reader the past few weeks, and missed the height of the “We Got 2.0 Librarians, Not 2.0 Libraries” discussion. I think you are totally onto the main issue. I wonder if the appearance of a large number of Librarian 2.0s is just because this particular breed of librarian blogs a lot and is more visible because of a web presence. Those of us who would put ourselves into the L*ian2 category may have the experience you describe, wondering why there aren’t more. This leads to slow change if we’re one of just a few in a larger workplace. I’m with ya, waiting for (and recruiting) a larger number L*ian2s. And I can’t wait for the day when there are more L*ian2s in positions of official power. Until then, I stay motivated and invigorated by the blogs, podcasts, and tweets throughout the day. I might be one of just a few L*ian2s at work, but there are a bunch of us out there, with similar interests and passions. Thank goodness for the web’s strength of bringing together the long tail! Thanks for the great post!

  • September 21, 2007 at 9:14 am
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    Jenny, it is so funny you made the peas comment as we, at MPOW, were arguing about the Eat Your Peas version of librarianship on Wednesday. We have both factions here and they sometimes make discussing instruction a frustrating endeavor. Neither side likes the others’ answers.

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