Learning 2.0

March 30, 2007 at 11:58 pm Leave a comment

Thai foodDuring the 1980s (seems like such a long time ago and I still have nightmares about the Dynasty-style shoulder pads that were so popular back then!), I was a teacher librarian. I have reinvented myself several times since then (into what I’m never sure!) but, at heart, I remain a librarian aka someone who is interested in enriching a user community by empowering minds and encouraging curiosity and inquisitiveness.

So I am keeping a close watch on the Library 2.0 movement – a new model for library service where libraries are embracing social software and finding innovative ways to reach users. By using Web 2.0 technologies, libraries are creating new services that were not possible before and they are able to offer user-centric service opportunities.

Learning 2.0 is a result of this movement and was initially developed by Helene Blowers at North Carolina’s Charlotte & Mecklenburg County public library. It’s been honed by other libraries, including Yarra Plenty Regional Library in Melbourne, Australia, which just finished a 4-month version of Learning 2.0.

Libraries are finding exciting ways to engage with blogs, podcasts, wikis and other media. The Charlotte & Mecklenburg County public library developed this program and made it freely available on the Web. The Learning 2.0 program is being used and adapted by university and community libraries in Sweden, Australia, Canada and Denmark. In the United States, programs are underway in South Carolina, Florida, Maryland and California. Even the Combined Arms Research Library, a military repository, has developed a program.

Over at the Yarra Plenty Regional Library in Melbourne, librarians are being trained to be Web 2.0 savvy and won’t look puzzled when users ask about Second Life. Check out their training program here.

The Long Tail is full of users who have favourite titles, authors and genres. Through Web 2.0 media, libraries can allow users to comment, write reviews, create their own tags and ratings and share them with others. Just like Amazon let’s you know what other people who have also bought your book are buying and reading, library users want to know what’s popular with other users. This is a user-driven, participatory model that will dramatically change the way libraries deliver services – great stuff!

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Entry filed under: Library 2.0.

Knowledge management: a cult? Is there life beyond cyberspace?

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