Thursday, August 23, 2007

Web 2.0 and Library 2.0

Web 2.0 has been here for quite a while. My children have been using Myspace, Facebook, YouTube, MP3's, Ipods, etc. for well over 4 years. I'm so far behind on what I know, technologically speaking, that I usually go to them for their "expertise". I really think it's amazing, interesting and convenient (because you can do so much right out of your house), but I also think that we're losing the "human" side of conversation and information sharing, socialization in person to person form, and just the ability to hold things in our hands and look at them, feel them, smell them, etc. I understand that MP3's, digital cameras, PDA's and everything else make life much easier, but at the same time some of my best memories are wiping off old 45's and hearing the tiny little scratches and remembering what caused them(usually because they were played over and over). I love the old pictures (especially the B/W ones that weren't so perfect where someone's "head" was cut off, or it was off center. You couldn't just delete the "bad" pic from your camera) I also have my mom's and grandmother's old receipe cards and telephone directories and their handwriting brings so much back to me now that they've passed away. My friend discovered over 500 love letters that her mother and father sent to each other when he was in WWII and overseas. They were bundled with ribbon in the attic of her parent's home and they've become precious heirlooms to her children and grandchildren. Printed e-mail pages just aren't going to have the same "reaction" years from now. Library books are the same way. I have some very old library books from my childhood and my mother's childhood that I ocassionally take out and page through. Of course their yellowed, and they smell a little musty, but to touch them and know that so many other people have handled them with love and care is just mind boggling. Is the information accurate...probably not but it's a part of an era and because it's in print it can't just be "edited" like it can on the web. I also love to see the expressions on the librarians faces when they talk to a child about a book that they've recommended (the animation on the librarian's face can make the difference whether the child will read the book with excitement and anticipation.) Somehow I just don't "get the expressions" on the librarians faces when they recommend a website for a book, and if the sites down you've lost your "few moments" and possibly even created frustration for the child. I understand that collections can be overwhelming and a lot of work and that there are websites that have all the information available on them but to me there is nothing like discovering a "different" book that you wouldn't normally find out there. To me that's amazing. So library 2.0 may be for some people but I like my little library building and the stacks and the human side of information discovery.

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