Success 2.0

If you haven’t yet, be sure to read Michael Casey‘s latest post on evolutionary technology in the library. We can all find some common ground with the technologies he and his group have been working with. We can all share, on some level, the same successes and frustrations with technologies like “staff and public wireless in the branches, RFID circulation and self-check equipment, mobile librarian tablet PCs, and PDAs for management staff”. But as he points out, things are starting to shake loose a little and we’re seeing some changes.

technology, at least right now, is in an evolutionary phase, whereas only two or three years ago we were still in a revolutionary time period where new ideas were rocking the library boat on a regular basis.

I think he’s correct here. If you look back at blog entries, seminar topics, and conference talks over the last few years, you’ll definitely see their content trending from what technologies are available toward how do we use these technologies and now we’re starting to see, look how we’re using this technology. A natural progression, to be sure, but does it say anything about the nature of library innovation in 2006? I think the other side of the technology equation is, and always will be, the people.

Clearly we need to remove the expectation that technology will always offer sensational new tools that can be inserted into library operations and result in exceptional returns.

We cannot ignore the “people factor” — that is, the librarian 2.0 element to all this. Without the dedicated front-line staff to whom we present these rapidly changing technologies, none of this would matter. We may provide the blogs, but it’s our staff who are the bloggers. We may provide internet terminals and free wifi, but the desk staff always field the first questions about all of it. Communication, patience and gratitude are key elements in the synergy between IT and the librarians as they, more often than not, embrace these revolutionary technologies that are relentlessly foisted upon them.

And while the pace of change may sometimes seem insanely fast, the speed of progress may be infuriatingly slow–but bear in mind that it is progress. The construction of some of the worlds most magnificent cathedrals took lifetimes to complete.

[tags]Library 2.0, Librarian 2.0, Web 2.0, Libraries, Librarians, Technology[/tags]

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