Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Twopointopians, Chant Your Mantra

The thing that bothers me most about the twopointopians is that they have no idea what they're talking about and yet insist on talking. The goal of language is usually to communicate, but one can't communicate if one uses words with no meaning, or with too many meanings, which in practice amounts to the same thing. "2.0" is such a meaningless catch-all term, and yet some librarians insist on using it as if it contributes anything whatsoever to professional discourse. Perhaps they just can't help themselves, but on the very off chance they're trying to communicate with people rather than chanting their mantras, I offer my criticism.

I've criticized the twopointopians many times, especially their Stuart Smalley gobbledygook as well as their similarity to a cult always looking for the pure faith. Like every other topic on the AL it dies out as I get bored with it, but once in a while I run across a claim about something else being "2.0," and I just can't help but comment on it.

This one also came while I was springbreaking, in my favorite twopointopian blog David Lee King. You can read the post, but the basic scenario is that the library director lets some old folks use the CD-ROM drive on her work computer to view some slides because none of the public workstations had CD drives. Okay. That's great. It seems hardly earthshattering to me, just librarians making up for the inadequacy of their public machines and being helpful. King calls this "above-and-beyond customer service." Well, okay, maybe. It was definitely an appropriate and helpful thing to do, but it's not like it put the librarian out that much. She didn't spend hours working to solve some research problem or stay for a long time after a desk shift because she was in the middle of reference transaction. Still, I'll be happy to note that it's excellent "customer service," and based on the post it would seem this sort of help hasn't usually been available in their library.

All in all, it was a dull but perfectly respectable affirmational post providing a specific example of good "customer service." But then it had to be ruined by this little "2.0" exchange.

"When they were done, I walked back to Gina. She looked at me, pointed a finger at me, and said 'that’s 2.0, David.'

And I’d agree. No, it’s not really about technology. It’s not about using RSS feeds. But it DOES display the type of above-and-beyond customer focus that my library is developing. For us, that’s a 2.0 change for the better."

What? Does this make any sense at all? I'll save you the trouble of answering. No, it doesn't. This is just another example of twopointopians having a phrase they like and using it to describe anything they like. Librarians helping patrons. Wow, this certainly never happened in a library before the twopointopians started their cult. We've discovered a totally new thing called "customer service," and have acknowledged the shocking truth that before something called "2.0" came along no librarians ever went out of their way to help patrons. It sure is nice of these twopointopians to show us the light and the error of our past ways, when all librarians everywhere went out of their way not to help patrons.

I don't know how they do it out in Kansas, but in plenty of other libraries librarians have been perfectly happy to help patrons for a very long time, not only before the twopointopian technocult evolved, but even before there were computers in libraries. Just because your own librarians have never been very helpful for patrons (which is the implication of the quote above) doesn't mean that librarians elsewhere haven't been trying. Saying this has anything to do with some inchoate verbiage called "2.0" shows ignorance of and disrespect toward the many librarians over the past few decades who have done exactly this sort of thing, and probably without thinking they were some sort of heroic vanguard of a library cult for doing it. From the time of Dewey on, we've even had an entire field within the profession dedicated to helping patrons. It's called reference, in case you've never heard of it. Sometimes it might have been badly done, as everything involving humans often is, but to say that before the cult of twopointopia arose there were no reference librarians working hard to help patrons is just ridiculous.

This episode does show cultic tendencies, especially the tendency to interpret everything you like as part of your little movement to the point where to any disinterested observer it becomes clear that there's nothing coherent about your interpretations. If "2.0" is something new and means anything at all, then it has something to do with Web 2.0 technology. If it's not about the technology, then there's nothing new about it. If it's about the technology, but not really about the technology, then it's just gibberish. This shows that "2.0" has either no meaning at all or too many meanings (some contradictory), and thus should be abandoned by anyone with any interest in communicating with other people. But, as we all know, people using the term "2.0" don't necessarily want to use language to communicate, but instead to use language for another of its purposes. Faiths and cults need ritual chants, and the cult of twopointopia is no different from any other cult. Communicating with the heretics outside the cult is difficult if one insists on using meaningless terms, but chanting the ritual terms is a great way to ensure a sense of belonging in the cult members.

"2.0, 2.0, 2.0, 2.0...." Keep chanting until your mind is cleared of all rational thought and you join the happy cult. As with any other word, if you chant it long enough, it seems to lose all meaning. The great thing about this term is that based on what the twopointopians say themselves, it doesn't have any meaning to begin with. That just makes the whole thing easier.

89 comments:

Anonymous said...

2.0 Twopointopians & inchoate verbiage.

Is the AL really William Safire?

T Scott said...

In my early critiques of "Library 2.0", this was exactly the point that I was trying to make -- since there was no consensus definition of the phrase, and people seemed to have wildly different views of what it referred to, you simply couldn't have a reasonable discourse using it. I was startled and disheartened to find that some librarians (librarians!) actually thought that the lack of a coherent definition was an advantage. Lewis Carroll had great fun ridiculing that attitude.

Anonymous said...

In this context, 2.0 is merely progress, moving forward. I suspect 2.0 means just that to a lot of people.

Taupey, the Bush Kangaroo said...

"Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought?…The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact, there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking—not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness."

--Orwell, "1984"

In broader ways, a large majority of communication and media have gone this route--the parroting of orthodoxy.

Anonymous said...

They do things backwards and as mentally handicapped as possible in Kansas.

The situation is that the short bus went all over the nation and collected all those who belong on the short bus and took them all to Kansas to live and procreate, regrettably there was no forced sterilization. You might say that the short bus drop off sites were also the White House, US Congress, the ALA, most administrations of library schools, etc, but the point is that Kansas is not known for intellectualism or thinking.

Remember they teach creationism in the schools*. This is not a group of people working with a full deck.

*This may or may not be true, as we were able to escape as soon as this became school board policy. Maybe they reversed it, but well, those would involve big words, changing and smart ideas- things Kansas does not excel at.

Anonymous said...

I agree that the "that’s 2.0," comment on customer service is total BS. Has this person ever had a job, even in HS, in the real world? It makes me think that the writer has never had any real world experience.

This reminds me of the SLIS class I had where the prof is discussing customer service and how to improve it. Little background on the prof, although she has a MLS and PhD in Library Science, she never worked a day in a public library. She was acting as if customer service was a secrative affair that only librians knew about. Really sad thing is that 90% of my classmates
were eating this up like Pablum; as if it was a divine revalation or something.

I was stupid enough to say that the concept of customer service wasn't really anything special since a high schooler or college student working in retail learns the importance of it real fast, especially if they work on commission.

Needless to say the prof. and her minions were not real happy with me.

Privateer6

Anonymous said...

Chill, child: WebTwoDotZero is just another flavour-of-the-month Panacea; in clammy embrace by that herd/flock (which are more stupid: cows or sheep?) of the effete corps of impudent snobs &c.
Since they're not remembering history, they're repeating it. We should be reading about a Paradigm Shift any day now, with new synergy & syncretism…
Thank you —
;~)

Anonymous said...

There clearly is an undercurrent of self-importance with many of these twopointopians. No, customer service isn't 2.0--it's called "doing your job". Although, that doesn't sound as cool as 2.0 librarianship.

Me said...

What's 2.0?

AL said...

Everything, and thus nothing.

Anonymous said...

A rose by any other name. . .

Captain Kirk on Star Trek

As long as the customer/patron/drone/asshole is getting what they want, who cares what you call customer service?

If it makes the newbie 2.0 librarian feel good about saying that doing that was 2.0, then let them.

gershbec said...

It became 2.0 once they blogged it and posted pictures of the cd-romless computers on flickr.

soren faust said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Franny said...

Maybe "2.0" is like when the smurfs use "smurf" as a noun, verb, adjective, expletive . . . it's anything and everything.

You are looking very 2.0 today, A.L.

AL said...

"If it makes the newbie 2.0 librarian feel good about saying that doing that was 2.0, then let them."

But this was the library director, not a newbie librarian.

"
You are looking very 2.0 today, A.L."

Thank you. I'm feeling very 2.0 as well, but I think it's related to what I had for dinner last night, and I'm sure the feeling will pass.

Ed Crank -- Librarian said...

Reminds me of one library job where I had to go clean the 2.0 out of the restrooms. (Really and for true. Not in the job description but was expected.)

The stuff they don't teach you in library school.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, 2.0ism is just another tool library administrators use to control and harass the staff.

illibstudent said...

Gee, I didn't even realize that I did a 2.0 thing today.

Patron was having a problem with the photocopier, and as I tried to help her, we discovered that the copier wasn't working as it probably should. Instead of having the patron waste more money, I went and got the bypass key for the money handling unit and let the patron have a couple of "free" copies.

I feel all special now.

vt-lib said...

I was annoyed as well when I read that little piece by David Lee King... thank you for pointing out [and blogging about] this idiotic bit of 2.0-speak.
[While writing this comment post I pointed a patron to the men's bathroom...that's 2.0 baby!]

Anonymous said...

This sort of issue has been coming up at our library, too. What if the manager had been at her computer in her office, working on something like, say, the budget, or even in the middle of a staff person’s performance review? Or in another scenario, would lower staff feel comfortable using a supervisor’s computer without the supervisor around? How would the supervisor feel, knowing staff were on her computer without asking? What if the branch was slamming and there was nobody available to walk this couple back to the office and print their photos for them? I have also worked in a library where we had a strict policy of not letting ANY member of the public into staff areas, for security reasons. What happens if the situation is slightly different and that couple comes back in, expecting the same service?

This bending over backwards sets customers up with very high expectations that might not always be met. I tend to want to set a level of service that can be met 100% of the time, as opposed to a level of service that only a few elite can meet at certain times when the stars align.
I guess I'll remain Anon since this is not very 2.0 of me.

Anonymous said...

If they really want to provide good customer service, perhaps they should invest in a public computer station with a CD drive?

Talking Books Librarian said...

It looks like there is a similar discussion in the comments of that blog post on DLK's site, including an explanation of the usage by DLK himself: link

Anonymous said...

So far, my favorite has been my director showing us how easy it was to create a podcast with MovieMaker.

The video was decent at least.

Ed Crank -- Librarian said...

I had a epiphany (I will clean it up myself too) and I am going to embrace Library 2.0!!!

Can't find a book on the shelf? Why that is because it is 2.0's fault.

The bum sleeping over in reference hasn't taken a bath in three months and is stinking up the joint. Good old 2.0 at work again.

A customer/patron/drone/asshole is screaming at you on April 15th at five minutes to close that the copier is jammed. 2.0 raises its head again.

This even works in special library settings. An engineer needs a complete literature search and patent search by noon or the company will be in hot water. Calllll for Phillip 2.0

Reminds me of the comic strip Family Circus and when things get broken, go missing, whatever. They blame Not Me and Ida Know. Now when something goes totally FUBAR in my library. . .

2.0 get over here......

Jeff said...

Um, so "That's 2.0" was supposed to be a positive thing? I thought it might be interpreted differently such as 2.0 has caused us to get legacy proofed PCs and made it more difficult to service these patrons. Damn 2.0! I guess it's all in the interpretation ;).

The.Effing.Librarian said...

omyfreakingod. Let's just call everything 2.0. "Oh, you put ketchup *and* mustard on your weiner, that's so 2.0." If we redefine the word to mean simply "going above and beyond" then now we need to edit the Wikipedia to note that 2.0 actually began in 1941, when Maude Harris pulled a rubber band out of her hair (freeing the bun) and gave it to her patron so he could bundle some papers together. So what do I call it when we're about to close, and I sign up the kid for a Yahoo mail account so he can save his work by sending the attachment to himself? I just called it my job, but now I can do a little 2.0 dance? So now I gotta add a song to my Muxtape page? What song do we play when we get 2.0? Tell me, 'cause I feel like dancing.

Hieronymus said...

2.0 on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/trucolorsfly/611479605/

On a related note, look at the photos in the "portraits of librarians" photostream. I'm beginning to think that one rule of 2.0 is :"if you are male, sport a goatee and ponytail."

Matthew said...

Sometimes it's refreshing to find that all the bickering and name calling and new-idea-bashing exists out here in the apparently grown-up world and not just among the 15 year olds playing World of Warcraft...

I like you, Annoyed Librarian. The job of posing a contrary position on anything new and seemingly popular is important for the growth of those very same new and seemingly popular ideas. But I really find it sad that so many comments here are just "Yeah! Stick it to the man, AL!" or "I hate those confident and energetic twopointopians just like you!" I wish more twopointopians were here bashing you right back. Maybe they're afraid of your mighty pen/keyboard?

You're absolutely right. 2.0 probably shouldn't encompass all the things that the "fanatics" claim it does. And no, twopointopians didn't invent good customer service or going the extra mile. But you said it yourself: not all librarians go this extra mile. Perhaps it is a little condescending to those who have. But then again, maybe the whole 2.0 thing has improved how SOME librarians are doing their jobs? I'm sure there're a couple people in our business who have been shaken out of their "it's not my problem" or "that's the way it's always been done" attitude. That's exactly why "Library 2.0" has become so popular. We know that the librarians that go that extra mile are perhaps not quite in the majority, and that maybe, with a little peer pressure and cheerleading and nifty gadgets, things will get better... maybe? You think? Possibly? Just a little bit? Huh?

Brent said...

O noes! It's an Al Franken reference in an AL post. Well, as long as he is associated with 2.0, I'm cool with that.

Minks said...

I touched my computer while eating a corn-dog once. That was pretty cool,,, a 2.0 Corndog.

thomas said...

Is 2.0 the new "emo"?

Anonymous said...

Oh, fer crikey's sake, why is anyone even paying attention to this drivel Just ignore it. If you think Library 2.0 is silly, what about customer service 2.0, classifieds 2.0, employment 2.0 or history 2.0? What about my favorite, DRM 2.0 (so what the heck was DRM 1.0 -- I thought DRM was inherently 2.0)? There's food 2.0, mind mapping 2.0 and even religion 2.0. See this list for a depressingly complete summary.

I suggest you all just nod approvingly and wait for it to go away. Believe me, it will.

Anonymous said...

This makes me think of a Sonic ad I saw last night. The guy says his whatever-he-got-at-Sonic is so great, it's 2.0. His wife says "2.0? What does that mean?" The guy says "I don't know, some smart guy at work is always saying it, and he's always getting raises, so I just figured, you know."

If only I could link a youtube video of the ad here, that would be so 2.0

I'm Kat! said...

Before we apply "2.0" to everything, I think I see the "2.0" in this case and what we SHOULD be calling it.

1. The Library does not have Computers with CD drives...what DO they have, 5.5 Floopy drives??? As far as I know, a little blue pill came along back in the late 90s and turned those drives into half inch USB thumb drives...but that's besides the point!

The point here is the Library has obsolete equipment on the floor, thus dehabilitating the Patrons [while staff has "special power" computers] thus preventing them from being ABLE to help themselves - even though they know they can, if they indeed know they can. That's 2.0

2. The Librarian then has the option to help these patrons by wiggling the lines. Mind you, they might not be allowed to wiggle the lines, as the lines are called "red tape." But as you see here, the Supervisors are OK with the lines being Wiggled. It's called Corporate Disobedience, and as long as no one gets fired, it stays Civil. The Higher ups will just never know, or they are OK with it too, because it's cute to watch these "forced Customer service transations" occur as the gratitude emails and response forms come in telling them of the wonderful above and beyond job someone in the library did for them. That's 2.0.

3. In short, 2.0 in this context seems to be finding a way to solve a problem in a way that is fresh, new, but not necessarily a Good Idea. As prior mentioned, this option of the CD drive computer is not available to ALL patrons. 2.0 is also a process of Customer Service where you put a display out in the middle of the room advertising you have something [in this case, computers] but you hold back "Special" parts like CD drives[a BRAND NEW CD-ROM drive now costs TEN Dollars, Oh My!!!], thus requiring patrons to build repore with you in order to get access to your CD-ROM drive. This nets the library Usage Points, happy patrons, and a staff of "On-the-spot troubleshooters," for a ooooh so very very Action packed work day!

AL, I agree. File the 2.0 with the rest of its kind - the file cabinet is in the washroom, white and porcelin, with a water and chain and whhheeeee it goes DOWN!

As soon as "2.0" catches on, all the People raving about it now will wrinkle their noses, look at you with a stinky-frog look, and say "eeh, 2.0 is so Passe, 3.0 is all the rage now!"

Anticipate a need. Fill it before it is needed. When the need arises, point to the solution. Go back to your computer monitor, sighing how your only request at the reference desk is "where is the bathroom..."

Hmm, damn the man who anticipated that Need...but wait! what IF we were to take this rool of paper towels, and plug up all the public women's toilets? Next, we let allthe bums and perverts enjoy their porno, so now we CAN'T send the women in THERE< now CAN WE?? OOOh!!! If they ask me nicely, they can use the EMPLYOEE Restroom!! The one with our state of the art autodryers, autofaucets, autoflushers, and those things from France that...well, we don't know what they are for, but they shoot water up three feet!! YES! I am sooo 2.0! hmm a hitch...now where can I get a stupid kid to go plug up the women's toilet???

kat!

webbygrl said...

That librarian was a moron. 2.0 is a trend in web development that is being utilized to create new apps and/or upgrade existing platforms so they function better and make the web experience more interactive. It has absolutlely NOTHING to do with letting an old person use your CD drive. I think the cure for this might be to actually define what 2.0 really is and stick with it. Our developers at work are using .Net 2.0 (which is where I believe the term actually came from but you'd have to be a geek like me to have ever heard of it).

But take heart AL, like everything in the world of the computer, 2.0 will be superceded by 2.1 and 2.1.1 and 3.0. It's only a matter of time. Then those twopoint-one-dot-ones-dot-ones will sound like the morons they truly are.

Anonymous said...

That librarian was a moron. 2.0 is a trend in web development.... It has absolutlely NOTHING to do with letting an old person use your CD drive.

Preach it. The 2.0 misuse/abuse/idolatry, like the "I work on the web" stuff from a few months ago, highlights how many of our colleagues demonstrate a poor-to-horrible understanding of information technology practice and trends while at the same time taking pride in (what they think are) their mad IT skillz.

It reminds me of the librarians I've known who claim to have database management expertise because they can use some of the basic functionality of Microsoft Access, or the ones who claim that their MLS program was math intensive because they had to take an undergrad-level Intro to Statistics course.

I guess it validates Kruger and Dunning, but that doesn't make it any easier to work with these people.

Anonymous said...

Library 2.0?

Library 2.1.1?

Library 3.0?

So, so yesterday.

Now, it is Library 3.14159.

We are celebrating that tomorrow in our library by having a cake sale.

Anonymous said...

I only have to deal with 2.0 jargon on the archives side (THANK GOD) but I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds it ridiculous. Technology is great, and technology should be used, but it is a tool, not a revolution. I find "2.0" being placed next to things that don't need it all the time. Jesus. I'm really starting to think it's just something some library students made up to make themselves feel better for all the $$$ they spent on their schooling. Because in my archives technology course, I'm not learning anything I couldn't teach myself. And also, starting a wiki does not solve everything. I REPEAT. LIBRARY KIDS. WIKIS DON'T SOLVE EVERYTHING.

Required field must not be blank said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Required field must not be blank said...

AL, I am usually in complete agreement with you, however I don't agree with the following statement you made:

"If "2.0" is something new and means anything at all, then it has something to do with Web 2.0 technology. "

I don't agree that 2.0 implies anything about new technology. 2.0 is about trusting your users and giving them the ability to add value to your services. It is about creating services with the intention that they will easily interact with other services created by other people. It is about constantly evaluating services and updating them regularly to meet your users needs.

It's these ideas that are "2.0". When applied to the web, technology is involved, but it's not the technology that is new. It's the ideas about how to do business and how to design services that are new.

T Scott said...

Since when is "constantly evaluating services and updating them regularly to meet your users needs" a new idea in business? And since when is "trusting your users" a new idea in business. Remember "the customer is always right"? These ideas, as far as they are applied to best practices in business are decades old. The technologies that we have can provide us with new, and sometimes maybe even improved, ways to do those things, but to suggest that the concepts are new to business is, if you'll forgive me, historically ignorant.

Anonymous said...

Four. It's like 2.0, but only 2.0 times better.

(Strange that no one's ever thought of that before.)

Anonymous said...

Four. It's like 2.0, but only 2.0 times better.

(Strange that no one's ever thought of that before.)


We have thought about it, but determined that twice lame is still lame.

Karen said...

soren faust said...

"I remember learning in one of my management courses the word "satisfice." I suppose it's a combination of satisfaction and sufficient. That, too, made me ill. However, in this case, I do believe that it applies: I get the feeling that Mr. King is very satisficed with himself and the bang up customer service his library provides."


Sounds to me like "Satisfice" is more of a cross between "satisfaction" and "sacrifice", which, in a way, is what customer service really is. It sounds like the Kansas gang were doing a bit of sacrifice, but only for the purpose of boasting about it later, which completely negates their good customer service. Shame on them.

Aside from that, I concur that they weren't doing anything 2.0...2.0 is a movement that focuses on user-centered content (think YouTube, Wikipedia, etc.)...there is speculation in the works that a 3.0 movement is on the horizon, which basically would mean that sites like YouTube would be better refereed by experts in various fields. As an example, someone with a doctorate in anthropology would edit the Wiki article on gorillas. Or something like that.

Anonymous said...

First time I heard the gospel of 2.0 was at a conference session. A very attractive young man. Freshly graduated information professional preached the Twopointtopian. Kind of felt like I was at a Scientology meeting. We were shown all kinds of lovely charts (look up 2.0 on wikipedia if you want the charts). Only thing I got out of all the excitement is that my new library webpage will one day look like Amazon.com and it will make all kinds of suggestions about what I want and learn all kinds of cool things about me.

Required field must not be blank said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex said...

@anon 9:10

Shouldn't that be a π sale.. or something closely approximating that :)

Anonymous said...

2.0 is about trusting your users and giving them the ability to add value to your services.

Okay. I'd love to test this one out. Next time I hit the local medical library, I'll be sure to bypass the librarian (who has an MD, by the way) and read a bunch of blogs from the rabble about arthritis, for example. I guess that makes me an "elitist" because I'd rather consult an expert who can quickly find me peer-reviewed research and who probably has something to say about my topic.

Do medical professionals trust patients to tell them how to administer medications? That hasn't been my experience.

The only way I can see this work is maybe for reader's advisory in a public library. In an academic library, I'd certainly trust graduate students to contribute content. Then, again, grad students are experts-in-training.

Required field must not be blank said...

Since when is "constantly evaluating services and updating them regularly to meet your users needs" a new idea in business?

Please let me clarify. When I made this comment I was considering, for example, the differences between how often new versions of operating systems or ILSs are released versus the changes to services like blogger or gmail. New OS and ILS versions are few and far between. Sometimes things get patched, but basically the product stays the same until the next version comes out a couple of years down the road. However the 2.0 model is to release much more often and be nimble enough to respond to customer feedback in the next release.

obviously, responding to feedback is a good idea and nothing new. Its the speed and regularity at which it is happening that is new.

In the past, I think business were afraid that this constant change would upset some of their users and also, they wanted to have a "finished product". 2.0 thinking says that there are no finished products, everything is always in a state of change and hopefully, improvement, and if done correctly, customers will not be upset by frequent updates. Gmail is still in 'beta'


And since when is "trusting your users" a new idea in business. Remember "the customer is always right"?

Again let me clarify. I meant that trusting your users to add value to what you sell is a new concept. I think this is vastly different than the sentiment expressed by "the customer is always right"

Required field must not be blank said...

Just to be clear. Im NOT advocating for library 2.0. The original post to which i replied was about how the concept of 2.0 is ill defined.

I was making the point that it need not necessarily be defined in terms of the technology it is so often associated with.

That being said, I do understand that these ideas were conceived in the context of web applications and doing business on the web. So really, there was no 2.0 before there was web 2.0.

If we want to define library 2.0 we will have to separate the 'web' from the '2.0' and see what's left.

In my opinion, there is something left, but I'm not sure that it is applicable to the library, at least, not in any beneficial sense.

If you haven't read it already this is a good place to start:

http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news/2005/09/30/what-is-web-20.html?page=1

Required field must not be blank said...

i mean this

Anonymous said...

And he was named a mover and shaker for 2008. Damn. Now I feel like an idiot because I was named one too.

Indiana Snark said...

I bow down to alex, who can code 3.14159 and come up with π

Now THAT is library 2.0

I'm Kat! said...

Mr. Not Blank, I looked through that stuff, and perhaps you're not getting the point. You can call everything something else, but that does not make it any different. All of these "2.0" ideas were back there in web 1.0, just under a different name.

Much of this 2.0 phenomonon occured before the concept label "2.0" came out, which I feel adds to the ludacrisy. Basically, it's an attempt to show Progress and label that progress and then champion it around like its something new and special.

It simply isn't. 2.0pians are, quite simply, a bunch of Oxygen worshippers having just discovered that we breathe oxygen, not air, and now we could spread the word about how wonderful oxygen is. Meanwhile, life has been breathing oxygen for the past billion years or so...

Call it what you want, There is no difference between 1.0 and 2.0; in 1.0 a lot of people were on the internet clowning around, and now with 2.0, a lot of people are still on the internet clowning around.

Minks said...

Library 2.0?

Library 2.1.1?

Library 3.0?

So, so yesterday.

Now, it is Library 3.14159.

We are celebrating that tomorrow in our library by having a cake sale.


Now I am hungry for pie. 2.0 pie if possible... and I am sure it is.

RedLipstick said...

Ok so recently I viewed a webcast from MLA and here's the title:

Web 2.0 Principles and Best Practices: Discovering the Participatory Web.

In 2008 for crying out loud!

Truth be told I think the program was aimed at older librarians or folks who are still figuring out how to use their email. I mean seriously they had examples such as wikipedia, blogs, tagging, flickr, myspace, rss etc.

This kind of stuff just reinforces the fact that libraries and librarians never seem to be ahead of the curve--it's a profession that likes bringing up the rear a day late and always more than a dollar short!

Required field must not be blank said...

All of these "2.0" ideas were back there in web 1.0, just under a different name.

If the idea came about during web 1.0, then by my definition the idea is not a web 2.0 idea.

When did web 1.0 end? As soon as the first web 2.0 idea came along.

Anonymous said...

I texted a “cute female” medical reporter today to get help on a medical reference question. Was that library 2.0 or flirting 2.0?

Seriously in my 2.0 world I am talking about the use of IT to push information to patrons; whither, we create it or others do, in order to meet their information needs.

If thats what we are talking about I will gladly wear my long hair in a pony tail besides the reporter likes long hair :)

Anonymous said...

When did web 1.0 end? As soon as the first web 2.0 idea came along.

I have had some web 3.0 ideas, so does that mean that I killed 2.0?

If it does, I am sorry. I didn't mean to do it.

Required field must not be blank said...


I have had some web 3.0 ideas, so does that mean that I killed 2.0?

If it does, I am sorry. I didn't mean to do it.


Oh, don't worry about it. I'm pretty sure we are still in web 1.0, since any new ideas that come along during web 1.0 can't be web 2.0 ideas.

soren faust said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Indeed,
I was watching that sonic commercial on my I-phone while I was doing my roving instruction information literacy consultations in the learning common. I laughed so hard that I spit my Starbucks frappachino all over the "gaming librarian" who was engaged in instructing folks on new stratagies in playing new games on the Wi. That's cool I just made another one at the help desk. Then I stopped at Barns and Nobel on my way home to read a book

Anonymous said...

Seriously in my 2.0 world I am talking about the use of IT to push information to patrons; whither, we create it or others do, in order to meet their information needs.

I've never heard of IT people wanting to "push information" to patrons. Now, if you mean in terms of developing OSS solutions, etc., sure, I'll buy it.

This possibility just dawned on me: Is it possible that those who advocate for Library 2.0 are incorrectly applying what Web 2.0 means in the IT world? Gah! No wonder why some IT people think we are buffoons.

Anonymous said...

Hey kids, tired of 2.0? Well, jump on to the next trend... beta! That's right, everything is beta now. No finished product, no finished website or interface, just constant change. And if you get really good at beta, you would earn the title master. Kind of like web-master, except you could be a master-beta (sounds like a line from Mel Brooks, or Austin Powers...). Thanks AL, you're posts are fun and provocative.

Dances With Books said...

All I can say is amen. This a lot of what I have been saying and thinking, and a big reason I stay out of any 2.0 conversations in the bloglands. Thank you.

Annoyed Library Worker said...

This sort of issue has been coming up at our library, too. What if the manager had been at her computer in her office, working on something like, say, the budget, or even in the middle of a staff person’s performance review? Or in another scenario, would lower staff feel comfortable using a supervisor’s computer without the supervisor around? How would the supervisor feel, knowing staff were on her computer without asking? What if the branch was slamming and there was nobody available to walk this couple back to the office and print their photos for them? I have also worked in a library where we had a strict policy of not letting ANY member of the public into staff areas, for security reasons. What happens if the situation is slightly different and that couple comes back in, expecting the same service?

This bending over backwards sets customers up with very high expectations that might not always be met. I tend to want to set a level of service that can be met 100% of the time, as opposed to a level of service that only a few elite can meet at certain times when the stars align.
I guess I'll remain Anon since this is not very 2.0 of me.


Agreed. I've learned this lesson the hard way time and time again.

If they really want to provide good customer service, perhaps they should invest in a public computer station with a CD drive?

Our network staff disabled the CD rom drives on purpose, because the trays broke at a rather alarming rate, now we have the same issue with the headphone jacks, most PCs just aren't designed to get the heavy use our public service terminals get day in and out. And we've run through any company willing to service our copiers......

AL, another great post. As a lowly para/faux something or other, I never get to go to these exciting meeting for 2.0 anything. I just know our library has a myspace page that no one uses, a flickr page that rarely has any interesting content and dozens of blogs and wikis no one feels comfortable commenting in. And no patrons seem to read. Now customer service and being nice is 2.0? How innovative!

Kevin Musgrove said...

Rather despite myself I'm hoping that 'that’s 2.0, David' was postmodernist irony.

Anonymous said...

CD drives?

How quaint.

How Library -0.25

If the patrons don't have it saved on their space or Goggle Docs, we tell them to go away, we don't want luddites cluttering up our library. We have kids waiting to bust a move on DDR.

If you have stuff on CD you better go find some place with a time machine so you can recover your data.

The.Effing.Librarian said...

Annoyed Library Worker said...
now we have the same issue with the headphone jacks,

we buy extension cables and plug those in the back (and tie them off so they don't get stolen) so users don't break the headphone jack. they cost $3-5 and save us some grief.

Anonymous said...

AL

The Library 2.0 way to spell Luddite.

Mickey Coalwell said...

Gina's comment makes sense within this simple definition of Library 2.0:

"A personalized, timely, technology-enabled or technology-enhanced solution to a library user's problem."

Another critical point is that the director at Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library was proactive in offering a solution to a user's problem. Proactivity is another characteristic of Library 2.0, I think. Libraries and librarians, in my experience, are often trapped in the "we don't do that here - we can't help you" mindset.

AL, I understand that you react strongly to the cultish aspects of some Library 2.0 discourse, particularly among its celebrity practitioners. However, the Library 2.0 conversation in the library world has been a positive and constructive one, regardless of its excesses, in my opinion.

As to ugly, irrelevant anti-Kansas tirade offered up by one of your early anonymous posters, I can only echo Vice President Cheney's advice to Sen. Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont in 2004. We're nice folks here in Kansas, but don't take kindly to name-calling.

AL said...

"AL

The Library 2.0 way to spell Luddite."

In which case Library 2.0 is even more stupid than I thought.

"AL, I understand that you react strongly to the cultish aspects of some Library 2.0 discourse, particularly among its celebrity practitioners. However, the Library 2.0 conversation in the library world has been a positive and constructive one, regardless of its excesses, in my opinion."

I react strongly to foolishness and gibberish, especially when it's presented as some sort of grandiose notion. Applying "2.0" to everything "customer"-oriented, for example, is the sign of a slack intellect and lack of coherent thought. If the twopointopians want to impress me, they can stop talking nonsense. However, they don't seem to want to impress critical or intelligent librarians. They want to impress the sheep among us, which is why we get a lot of simplistic pep talks and blog posts, but almost no critical discourse about the subject.

We're all supposed to go, "Yay, you're so smart and clever and hip and new! Tell me what to do! Give me a mantra!" Twopointopian discourse is addressed primarily to simpletons, as far as I'm concerned.

Anonymous said...

A Library .05 Manifesto

We’ve seen the changes coming, fast and furious. The 1980’s is a decade of change for libraries. With growing affluence, an independent ‘me-first’ society, and rapid technological advance, libraries are feeling the squeeze. Reference desk questions are way down, and Bobby and Jane can no longer skip around the corner for library story time. Instead, Chris and Michelle are latchkey children left at home, while their two parent income family enjoys a big house in the suburbs. How, after all, can libraries compete with the personal home computer, cable television, mobile music devices, and home entertainment systems? I will try to outline the answers in this paper, but I warn my fellow colleagues that something must be done soon or our profession may not be relevant by the year 2000. Have libraries met their fate? There is still time to remain relevant in this world at the end of the 20th century, but only if we adhere to the tenets of Library .05.

Be where our users are
In order to attract users to the services that your library can provide, you must be able to convey your message. You must be where your users are. Young people today, this so called Generation X, are very different than youth of our day. Expendable cash seen by the success of Reagan’s economic theory has put money in the hands of youth. With this monetary independence they flock to malls and arcades. In order to meet our young patrons ‘on their grounds, in their spaces’ we must visit these places and advertise the library. An idea might be to rent a kiosk in the mall to hand out bibliographies, bookmarks, and perhaps even have a small circulating collection. The game rooms, or arcades as they are sometimes called, really give librarians an opportunity to shed our prudish, shushing stereotype. Imagine the awe we will inspire when young people see us in a loud and noisy room, bursting with a cacophony of beeps, buzzes, and blooops. One idea may be to work with the arcade owner to hold a library card sign-up table during teen week, or perhaps a comic book exchange on Saturdays.

Academic Librarians, Library .05 has a place for you too in helping libraries remain relevant to our nation’s college students. Remember, the first tenet of this new groundbreaking librarianship philosophy is-- Be where your users are. We know that today’s college students are overworked and overstressed. The best way to make inroads with your students would be to go to bars near campus, or try to get an indication of where that weekend’s house party will be. Really, the only limits of making your services known are the limits of your own creativity. Ask if your library can advertise by sponsoring ‘to go’ cups with the library’s logo and phone number. You never know when one of those bleary-eyed party goers will have an information emergency. If you are a real library go-getter, a real rad librarian, you may want to approach the local bar owners with a few ideas. One may be to hold a drinking contest during Banned Books Week—“Shots for Books!” Another might be to hold a bibliographic instruction themed drinking game where patrons have to chug when they land on the Melvil Dewey square, or when they cannot place books in correct call number sequence within a designated time limit. Otherwise, how on earth do we expect people to know where the library is, what the library does, who librarians are, or even what a library is? It is up to us to be where our users are.


Be a part of their social network
Even as much as we may want to ignore it, times are changing and we are not the new kids on the block anymore. Youth of today have their own rituals and their own social networks. In order for libraries to remain viable, we must become part of their natural social network. We must be a part of the way that they do things in their everyday lives.
Girls of the 80’s have their own cliques and way of communicating information. Librarians should concern themselves with how we can use these modes of communication to make girls aware of the library’s services and resources. One idea might be to expand upon the “fortune teller” game played by girls. An intricate, interactive device comprised of complex folded corners could make for an excellent way to showcase the latest in young adult books, or to make learning about the library fun. Give them out on playgrounds, girl scout events, or slumber parties. It will spread like wildfire. See images below.


Photo: Left- Girls playing the fortune teller game. Right- a pattern for making the game.

Another phenomenon is friendship bracelets. These tiny bracelets are woven out of brightly colored string and given to each other to signify friendship. This is an excellent opportunity, again, for the library to show that it understands its users. Promote the library and do outreach by handing out ‘library friendship bracelets’. Don’t you want young people to see librarians as friends who can advise them on reading and to whom they can ask any question? To kick off your library friendship event, perhaps you could call it, “BFF at Your Library”. Invite youngsters to come to the library to socialize and exchange friendship bracelets. And just think, as they grow up, they will remember what an important role the library played in their development.


Photo: Examples of promotions ideas for libraries, i.e. Friendship Bracelets


Give them what they want
The last, but not least tenet of Library .05 is to give users what they want. We must remember that in order to survive, the library of today is for today and only today. We must not concern ourselves with being a storage place for old and decaying materials, especially when we know that everything will be accessible via the personal computer by the year 1990. We must also not be stuck in our former ways of what the patron of the future might want. We know that this is the 1980’s and by all accounts, the future is now!

If television and our own children teach us anything, it is that youth of today are unlike any that have ever been seen in history before. They have their own hi-tech gadgets and they learn differently. How on earth will librarians be taken seriously when all we have to offer are musty, old books? I think it is high time that librarians start giving users what they want, not what we think they need. For one thing, kids and young adults today do not like to read. In this fast paced world of soccer practice and cub scout meetings, kids today cannot settle for doing a single task at once like reading. They are multi-taskers. They often talk on the phone, eat dinner, and watch their favorite television program all at once. Can you imagine?

These are different times and they call for different measures. One invention that is changing the way young people interact, communicate, play, work, and learn is the Atari 2600. It is an affordable, compact, and complex home gaming system that hooks up to any television set. This is the wave of the future. Soon children will be learning grammar and multiplication tables on computer systems such as these. Teachers will be replaced by self-guided programs. In order to guarantee that children and young adults are prepared to work in an all electronic world, we must provide them with the tools of success.

Reallocation of budgets and space will be required for this last piece of Library .05. Be warned though, that you, as an up-and-comer, a cutting-edge librarian may meet with resistance from your colleagues. If only everyone could be early adopters of technology and its power. But alas, you will have to spend time talking with co-workers who want to stay wedded to librarian roles of the past, like selecting, cataloging, organizing, and making collections available. Be collegial, but at some point you will have to leave these luddites behind. The library simply cannot wait for these people to come around. Empty reading rooms will mean diminishing budgets from city councilmen and university administrators. It is our obligation to bring people into the library.

I propose that we make the library a place where youth of today want to be. We can start by working with the local 7-11 to place a mini-mart inside the library. There is nothing kids like more than candy and sodas. (I even hear that they experiment at fountain drink machines by creating something called a kamikaze—a drink made by mixing all the flavors of soda offered. You have to love these innovative, bright, creative kids!) In order to make the library a fun, inviting, and inspiring place there are many things that you can do. I would suggest you paint the walls of your library with bright colors and themes of which they are familiar. In a public or school library, you should paint huge images of a video game that is all the rage, called Pac Man. Perhaps you can buy long running lights across the ceiling. It is totally tubular, as the youngsters would say. Along with this theme, the library should weed its collection of old and useless monographs in order to make room for a social space for patrons to meet, chat, and play games. Without space for growing collections, the monographic budget can be reallocated to purchase numerous entertainment systems, such as the Commadore 64, the Atari 2600, and portable, miniaturized gaming systems (see photo below). We must not forget that each user is different, so some will want to play in groups (see photo), while others will want to hone their technological skills alone (see photo). Library .05 reminds us that we must have flexible spaces for our users and different resources for each need.



Photo: Children working in groups at the cutting-edge gaming commons.


Photo: Examples of portable devices that are the wave of future learning.


Photo: A child lounges in the library as he uses his visual learning skills.


For the older kids in your populations, you must remember that they do not like to read. “It’s like grody”, they might say. For the teenagers and the young adults you must consider purchase of books on audio cassette. With the advent of portable music devices, our patrons are on the go. The 80’s are an exciting time. People have many things to do, and little time to do them. Since these affordable music players (Sony Walkman retail price, $59.99) are now ubiquitous, it is only obvious that this is the format that we should be buying our materials in from now on. What young person is going to be seen with a book, when he can study by listening to his Walkman? Come on, this is simple. Remember, Library .05 is simple. Simply give users what they want, when they want it.


Photo: A Sony Walkman with radio tuner and cassette tape player.

“Awesome, man!” they will shout at us. Since I brought up shouting, let’s once and for all do away with the required demeanor in the library. Be quiet, no yelling, no eating, no drinking, how uncool is that? (Forgive my use of slang throughout this paper; I am trying to learn how to be far out with these 80’s kids so they will like me.) If young people today learn better when they are loud, then let them be loud. They like being in groups, they learn better in groups, then let them hang-out in groups. Remember, the problem is not with our users, the problem is with our out-dated way of thinking. That’s what Library .05 is here to remind us. Take notice or you may find yourself soon without a job.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it is just because these folks don't have clue one about how to be an actual librarian. Or maybe they never wanted to be a librarian, and well it was an easy degree to get. They must really be the smart ones, because some how they have redefined everything that a library/librarian is SUPPPOSED to do, and the near-retirement boomers are eating it up with freaking spoons! Stupid me, concerned with acquiring, organizing, storing, preserving, and helping people use materials! So NOT 2.0!

Anonymous said...

2.0? I prefer what Faith (on Buffy) used to say, "I'm 5 x 5". Makes just as much sense to me.

Anonymous said...

A.L. -

I would love to hear your comments on academic librarians texting.

Anonymous said...

One day, in my job as a corporate librarian, I drove 1 hour EACH WAY to an academic library so I could check out some books that a co-worker needed that day for a project. We didn't have time to wait for ILL and I used my own, personal alumni card to check the books out with. Did that make me 2.0? That's what we do as corp librarians--we do whatever it takes. Did I feel really special doing it, or that I deserved special praise? No. I just saw it as a 3 hour excuse to get out of the office, make a few bucks (I got gas mileage money out of it) and make a co-worker (and hence, the client) happy. That's my job. If I didn't do that kind of stuff, I'd be fired. That said, would I do that for a member of the public when I sub at the reference desk at my local public library? No way. The number of patrons makes that level of service impossible. I would have ordered the books via ILL and told them to come back in a week for them. I have though, spent 45 minutes while working at the PL helping people with things, but only if there aren't lots of other patrons around looking for help and I make sure to let them know that the level of service they are currently receiving is unusual.

skeptical thomas said...

Some librarians have too much time on their hands. Geez, it's just a job like any other job, what's all the fuss about it? There are smart people and dumb people like in any profession, I mean come on, at the end of the day, go have a beer, read a book, watch some hockey or a ball game, relax, do whatever, and leave all the 2.0 bs behind.

AL, I sort of admire your consistency and persistence on the 2.0 non-sense, however I'm sure there should be other subjects worth getting annoyed about out there on the green pastures of librarianship.

herself said...

"grody"!! LOL flashback ahhhhhh...

Anonymous said...

Texting should not be allowed in any library by any librarian.

Anonymous said...


"When they were done, I walked back to Gina. She looked at me, pointed a finger at me, and said 'that’s 2.0, David.'


I bow to Gina's mastery of Taking the Piss Out of the Boss 2.0.

I wonder how long he stayed out of her (and the other staff's) hair taking discreet photos of the old people and writing his post?

Anonymous said...

My library plans on eliminating floppy drives as well as CD-Rom drives in the next computer upgrade. We are supposed to encourage the patrons to use portable pen drives.

My entire staff, from teenage shelvers through support staff through librarians all provide excellent, above-and-beyond service. Every now and then our supervisor shows up and complains about staff being too helpful because they help customers with resumes, save their papers to pen drives and then transfer them to floppies because the floppy drive is broken in their machine, etc. Then at our next big meeting, she once again advocates the need for excellent customer service.

I'll try the 2.0 line. Maybe it will impress her and she will leave us alone.

I'm Kat! said...

So you are going to require your patrons to use the USB drives with no other form of recourse?

Look how fast CD-trays and Headphone jacks get destroyed. How long do you thing the USB ports will last? [yes, you can get the extension things, that would solve some problems.]

At the same time, you will now have to deal with the informaiton loss that occurs when a patron incorrectly unplugs the USB drive, especially if the unplug part has been disabled in the operating software.

You must also realize that places like Photostores are printing more and more pictures on CDs in addition to the prints; CD/DVD technology remains popular with the luddites.

It seems a bit early to dump CD-Rom drives, unless they are being replaced with DVD-RW drives. You dump the technology AFTER it has been complete superceded, not Before!

And all of this trouble with CD/Floppy drives...while many libraries still have 8mm projectors, microfische readers, etc...

Kevin Musgrove said...

...an Accession Book in the Reference Library...

(even with all the accessioned stock being on the online catalogue!)

Anonymous said...

I remember when mice first came out, all the kids were removing the balls (remember mouse balls?) and lobbing them at each other, sometimes with medically significant consequences. Today, there are CD/DVD drives without trays (see Apple) and there are bluetooth headphones. C'mon, be creative.

None of this, of course, has to do with 2.0.

The ugly truth is, Library 2.0 is all about people not having to go to libraries anymore and pulling up Wikipedia on their mobile phone browsers. This is the real 2.0 moment. I can see someone coming in to the library, finding all the public access terminals taken by people game playing, looking at porn or planning the next DDR night, and the librarian, when asked a reference questions, pointing the user to the "customer's" cell phone and saying, "Now, that's 2.0."

Better wake up, people.

Anonymous said...

I rarely ever comment on these posts but something needs clarification. The level of customer service provided at the library where Mr. King works is outstanding. The front line staff, on a daily basis, uses staff computers at the reference desks to allow patrons access to technology not available on the public machines. This is not 2.0 -- it's basic customer service that we provide every day. David Lee King has no idea that we do this because he's never worked our reference desk or stopped long enough to observe how we work with the public every day, 12 hours a day. Instead, he made us sound like a bunch of lazy civil servants who wouldn't haven't a clue what to do with one of them newfangled disc thingies. I just wanted the world at large to know that the library staff at DLK's library is top rate and has always been dedicated to excellent customer service -- a value instilled in and practiced by the staff decades before he got here.

Anonymous said...

Not to go on about this, but I just had to follow-up on the last comment by saying that he or she is completely right on. The staff at David King's library are completely committed to providing outstanding customer service. We just see it as part of our job and we sure don't feel the need to run off and brag/blog about it everytime we help someone. For all his big talk about networking and 2.0, Mr. King spends the majority of his time (between being important at the numerous conferences he's always dashing off to) in his fortress of tech solitude in the library's basement, rarely surfacing to help, converse with, interact or otherwise share the same airspace as the staff or library patrons. Anyway, thanks AL for keepin' it real with your blog.

mdoneil said...

Why doesn't the director stop playing greeter and buy a fecking portable CD burner. They are fifty bucks (and they often attach to a USB 2.0 port!!).

I have an old external CD drive floating around somewhere if they want to tell me their address I'll send it to them.

Jeezus K Rheist they let somebody borrow a computer to look at vacation pictures. That deserved a self serving blog post.

No wonder I hate so many of my fellow librarians.

Anonymous said...

The ironic part would have been if they had been pornographic vacation pictures. Imagine David, at the director's computer, looking at photos of the nice elderly couple's vacation at an S&M resort.

I tend to be careful with what I bring up for customers at staff computers. Resumes -yes. Most other things, I suggest public computers or an internet cafe.