One of the keynote speakers on the 2007 LITA National Forum was David Lee King, Digital Branch and Services Manager at Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library in Kansas
http://www.davidleeking.com/. He talked about changes in libraries (public libraries in particular) in regards to Web 2.0 and all the social networking tools such as blogs, RSS, tagging, wikis, mySpace, FaceBook, and YouTube. His speech was fun not only because he used very interesting pictures for the slides, but also because he spoke in a good pace – not too hurried like he was trying to sell something and not too slow as if he was giving an academic lecture. Additionally, he was humble yet convincing. Not like this other talk given by a librarian from the University of Houston whose topic and technique (using fun pictures) were similar, except she was young and over confident. There was of course nothing wrong with being young but she came off being a little too subjective and egoistic.
Anyway, I enjoyed every little bit of Lee’s presentation and I know for fact that using social networking tools will help [public] libraries engage more of their users, especially the younger generation who are more interested in “user-generated contents” than “scholarly contents”. But call me old fashioned, I will never use or not use a library because of that. I’ve used Instant Messaging, mySpace, Flickr, and most of today’s “It” things and was never into thinking that I have to have those. To me, keeping up with such things is time consuming and you can never prevent hackers and spam-attacks. One might argue such wonderful services are free but they’re really not all free. Flickr, for example, has a limit of 3 albums and if you want to go beyond, you gotta pay a fee. I would also think most legitimate institutions that keep a blog would want to monitor and moderate it as to avoid negative comments from being entered or the blog space being abused with advertisements; and hirng such a moderator costs money! Also, how do you choose? Should you do YouTube or Google Video? Is it mySpace or FaceBook? Does Flickr has more users and space? or Picasa? And if libraries were to implement everything just so they’re not excluding any population that uses one tool than another, they’ll have to spend time updating both services. I find it so tiresome to just keep up. For example, I’d like to keep one and just one calendar, but it is so hard to do as I have my work calendar on my work e-mail and a social calendar either on paper or on my Yahoo! mail. Finally I’ve decided on using Google Calendar as it allows me to publish it in more than one place such as on iGoogle and on my Blog. But that comes with a price that I must make this calendar publicly viewable and searchable. Another example is with cell phones. Every time I changed a cell phone I must re-enter all my contacts, one by one. Yes, I know I can load the numbers from the old phone to the SIM card and plug the SIM card to the new phone but then the numbers are not formatted nicely as to fit each phone’s presence. So I end up re-entering all, which is really a waste of time.
I guess I’ll just sit back and watch what Web 2.0 and Library 2.0 will evolve into. The little that I know right now is only beneficial to myself as working for the government is nothing like working for a public library. For one thing, we have a very strict firewall and Internet Filtering system that won’t allow any access to the social networking sites.