LTR’s web 2.0 and libraries

Finally got around to reading my comp copy of ALA TechSource’s latest Library Technology Report on “Web 2.0 & Libraries: Best Practices for Social Software” by Michael Stevens. After introducing Web 2.0 and its current/potential impact on libraries, each chapter digs into a different technology (RSS, blogs, IM, wikis, and Flickr) and best practices (or hints) for using them in libraries. The issue concludes with some tips for getting tech projects like these off the ground. I think it’ll be a useful introductory resource for anyone who wants to wrap their brain around “web 2.0” stuff – and implement a few things as well.

I was most impressed, however, and it’s the reason I’m writing about it here, with the issue’s introduction on “creating conversations, connections, and community.” The intro (however brief) provides context and meaning for all the more practical techy stuff that comes later, and reminds us all that it’s not the technology that should drive our decisions to implement this or any new stuff in libraries, but the opportunity these innovations afford us for making more and new kinds of connections with our communities – especially those who may already be “living” on the Web.

As I’ve said in other pages, it’s sometimes difficult, especially for those who have grown up professionally with this stuff at our fingertips, to keep from falling for the technology just because it’s neat – and keep our heels (and hearts) grounded in the real reasons we’re doing this stuff in the first place.