Library 2.0: An open call

A couple of days ago, I sent email to a few colleagues who (I believe) hadn’t made any public statements about either Library 2.0 (any one of several sets of concepts) or “Library 2.0” (the meme, slogan, bandwagon…), asking them whether they’d like to send me a paragraph or two suitable for publication.

I’m going to open that call to the slightly larger number of people who read this blog.

Here’s the situation:

I’ve read lots of stuff on “Library 2.0”–at least 40-odd documents.

I’ve prepared the first draft of a C&I Perspective, including “54 Views of a Brand-new Meme” (54 one-sentence “Library 2.0 is…” statements), a core section of cites (excerpts) and insights (commentary) on what’s being said, and a set of conclusions. That draft is just under 15,000 words long–in other words, a complete C&I issue.

I’m not happy with the essay, but I’m not about to discard it either. I believe it needs a philosophical wrapper to relate it to some earlier C&I essays and to illustrate why it’s just possible that Walt Crawford, who in this case observes more as a public library patron than anything else, but who also has five decades in the trenches, “just doesn’t get it.”

If you’ve gone on record at any length, there’s a pretty good chance you’re already included in the core essay.

I’d hoped for a nice medium-length (3,5000 to 5,000 words) essay that would fit in a four-essay (or so) issue, probably the February issue. But I’ve already edited the piece–and, particularly given that I don’t see any reasonably comprehensive essay on “Library 2.0,” particularly from someone who’s not busily pushing the concept, I don’t see that I can cut it in half. Or less than that.

So here’s the open query:

If you have something to say about either Library 2.0 or “Library 2.0” that is both publishable without further clarification and no more than, say, 200 words (brevity does count, at this point), I’d be interested, under the following conditions:

  • It must reach me by Friday, January 6, at 4 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.
  • You can either provide it as a comment on this post or as mail to
  • If it’s a comment, you must explicitly say that it may be published in C&I (Mail to the email address implicitly carries that permission.
  • It must be signed–not with a pseudonym, but with who you actually are.

I reserve the right to edit or ignore any submissions, of course–but I believe there are thoughtful people out there who have followed some of this, have an opinion, and just haven’t chosen to make that opinion public. This is a chance. Of course, your own weblog–or whatever–is a faster chance, where you can say more and won’t be subject to editing. I’m just offering.

Right now, subject to change at any time, best chance is that this will all emerge as a special one-topic issue, before ALA Midwinter.

I think this is my last post of the year. But who knows? In any case, happy new year.

8 Responses to “Library 2.0: An open call”

  1. Brian says:

    Didn’t Library 2.0 really happen decades ago, when libraries started buying the books that people wanted to read, in addition to “books that are good for you”? As far as I can tell, that’s what the Library 2.0 boils down to: being user-driven, saving the user’s time. Not exactly new ideas.

    “Library 2.0” is just a faddish catchphrase. Ignore it, because it’ll be gone in 6 months. The only things labeled “2.0” with which library folks need to be concerned are pencils. And maybe RSS feeds.

    (Feel free to use in C&I. Do I need to hunt down an appropriate CC license for this comment?) 🙂

  2. walt says:


    Thanks. An interesting comment…

    “Feel free to use” is all I need–and, for that matter, I assume that the CC license for the blog covers the comments as well. You want to provide a last name, or shall I just use “Brian” and note your blog’s name?

  3. Brian Smith says:

    My bad. First-name-only in comments is habit. Also, you *had* my last name when you put my blog in your Stupendous Sixty!

  4. Steve Lawson says:


    Feel free to use this comment in C&I if you like. One of these days I’ll write something substantial about Library 2.0 on my own blog, bt for now, I seem to just be leaving comments on others’. It’s not clear to me if I can put anchor tags in my comment, so links are at the end.

    -Steve Lawson

    I believe that Library 2.0 is most recognizable (and useful) as an attempt to bring libraries’ electronic services up to par with what people expect in a Web 2.0 environment. Look at the “Core Competencies” and “Design Patterns” of Web 2.0 in Tim O’Reilly’s article “What is Web 2.0” and think about library examples:

    “Cooperate, Don’t Control”: patrons hacking together AIM bot searches of the catalog (Edward Vielmetti); third parties getting RSS feeds for patron records (Library Elf); stable URLs for catalog records (Open WorldCat).

    “Harnessing Collective Intelligence”: blogs (with comments enabled) as the library home page (AADL and several others); user reviews in the catalog (Open WorldCat); exploring the use of user-added tags in the catalog (no live examples that I know of).

    Embracing the “perpetual beta” by adding features and services as soon as they become practical, and not waiting for a “monolithic release.”

    I am sympathetic to those, like Michael Stephens and company, who argue for non-technology applications of these patterns, but I find it much harder to draw clear L2/non-L2 distinctions off the Web.

    Library Elf:
    Michael Stevens and company:

  5. walt says:

    Thanks both. Don’t know that I’ll use all of each comment (and there are no live links in C&I), but I’ll consider them and any more that arrive by Friday afternoon.

    (Brian: In this case, I didn’t know whether you wanted your last name used…and wouldn’t have gotten around to retrieving it from LL until the weekend. I’m lazy, you know. Anyway, thanks. As for the biblioblogosphere piece…that seems like a lifetime ago.)

  6. T. Scott says:

    I just put up a post that is far longer than your word limit, but if any of it is useful to you, feel free. (T. Scott Plutchak, Director, UAB Lister Hill Library).

  7. walt says:

    Hi Tom,

    Whew. I may very well add some paragraphs from that to the T. Scott comments I already have in the draft essay…it’s considerably more forceful. (I’d probably pick it up anyway, since you’re on my Bloglines list, but thanks for the explicit pointer!)

  8. walt says:

    [For the record: Five p.m. MondayFriday is now past. I’ve added comments from here, others received on my own gmail address, and others received through other means to what’s now a 24,000 word essay, which I might be able to cut to, oh, 22,000 words. Watch for a new issue next week, with some three dozen voices heard regarding “Library 2.0.”]

    Update Monday, where my brain was Friday: The special issue is out.