Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tweet tweet said the librarian

Originally uploaded by martin_kalfatovic

Thinking about library reference and one of the questions I have (as many others have had) is, "are we where are patrons are?" Obviously, in many cases we are. We're in the library, we're on the phone, we answer email, we even Twitter, Yammer, and talk to people in the hallway.

But increasingly our users are in others places. They're on Facebook (not just for kids, the largest demographic is around, uh, cough, our - meaning my - age), they're on Twitter (and not just older folks, reports that Twitter is ignore by the Millennium generation are being proven to be inaccurate), they're staring at the Google one box and feeling lucky.

Our challenge is to continue to serve current users in the spaces they are (libraries, phone, email) while also finding the common ground with new users (or old users who've moved on to new spaces.

Would any of us answer an email reference question by printing out the email, annotate it in pen, attach photocopies and drop it in interoffice mail? Unlikely. We would scan in the relevant document and email the answer back to the patron. However, in all to many instances, the answer is yes.

Likewise, our patrons in the Yammer- or Twitter-space asking the question there and probably expecting the answer to come in the same space (either to the group or as a direct message).

Yammer could prove a good test case for the brainstorming that came out of last week's brown bag on social networking.

For those of you who have been attending or listening to the Smithsonian's lecture series on information and library technology, you'll have heard these ideas before. Specifically see David Weinberger and David Lankes (links below).

And again, I still find that the Cluetrain Manifesto has said it all. From a library perspective, The Darien Statements on Libraries and Librarians are interesting .


No comments: