The social life of books and readers

April 4, 2007 at 2:00 am Leave a comment

Lotus - ThailandI’ve been searching around for some good examples of libraries embracing the Library 2.0 movement. Everything at the moment seems to be 2.0 something: Web 2.0; Library 2.0; Knowledge Management 2.0 – but essentially it’s about entering the social world of blogs, wikis, podcasts and various media that allow you to find and join a community of like-minded people.

I came across this great example of the Hennepin County Library in Minneapolis, USA. What I like about its web presence is the Bookspace area – an online community based around books. Bookspace illuminates the social life of books and its readers. Like, readers can create their own lists of favourite titles and share these with other readers; post comments about what they are reading; listen to audio e-books; pay library fines online; get RSS feeds on new books.

The comments for the upcoming final Harry Potter installment shows a community of 60 excited users collectively buzzing and creating a circle of conversation.

What I can’t find on this site (and maybe I’ve missed it or maybe it will be a future enhancement) is user profiles or user home pages. I also couldn’t see an area for user chat (aside from the comments area). These features would allow for social interaction with identity ie placing a face to a user name.

But it’s a great example of libraries grabbing Web 2.0 social software by the horns and delivering a new model of patron participation. Also a great example of the concept of Functional Requirements of Bibliographic Records (FRBR) – matching how users retrieve with the user perspective – which will be the theme of a future post.

I’m sure Australian libraries are doing similar so I’ll be on the hunt for examples to share. Leave a comment if you know of other examples.


Entry filed under: Libraries, Library 2.0.

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