I have a number of reactions to the statements in the blog regarding 'L2.'
First, I can understand some of the concerns over L2. We are looking at drastic changes to our library system with L2, changes of the sort that we haven't ever faced. Libraries have essentially been a constant since their founding -- a loan repository for printed materials. Now, quite suddenly, that's no longer enough. To suggest that libraries perhaps consider purchasing a new piece of equipment over a new reference librarian can freeze the blood in our arteries. Still, I personally find the changes exciting, but I think we walk a careful line here. What is the library to become. Are we moving to being simply another 'internet cafe'? What is the difference between the library and the computer lab at school?
In the blog, Blyberg writes:
With the exception of inter-library-loan programs, very little inter-library
cooperation has existed. L2 is going to require that libraries pool their
resources in order to achieve their goals. This is not a new concept, but I
think it’ll probably be vital to the enrichment of our systems and programs.
Take for example the type of development collaboration that is starting to take
place between developers at different organizations. We’re going to have to find
a way to harness the “peer-to-peer” abstraction in ways that can benefit all of
us. Individually, we can’t compete with giants like Google (nor would we want
to). But collectively, we have the resources and societal placement to provide
vital services that extend beyond our local communities. We have the opportunity
to make a global impact.
What I find somewhat disturbing about this is that he does not indicate any kind of cooperation or collaboration, he only suggests it in the abstract. "Take for example the type of development collaboration that is starting to take place between developers at different organizations." Who? What kind of collaboration? Give me an example, because I don't think I agree with this.
My point here is that I don't see what kind of collaboration between libraries we should be looking for. There's nothing concrete here and it makes for wonderful sounding hyperbole, but lacks substance. Perhaps this is part of the fear for those who are not being supportive of the L2 movement ... lots of abstracts.
More than anything else, the ideas that comprise L2 stand to bring
revolutionary change to libraries, not simply adaptation to changing demands.
Not even the initial introduction of ILSs compares to the conceptual,
programmatic, cultural and physical changes that are bound to come about as a
result of L2. Library 2.0 marks historical change.
Agreed. But I ask you...what is a library? If we are no longer a resource for lending materials, perhaps the change is so drastic that we need to rename our collective bodies. We are no longer 'libraries' we are 'eHouses' or 'iCafes' or 'librarEs'.
We cannot stop the progress of computers, internet, and all the other technology that has hit us. nor would we want to. Certainly the libraries need to adapt to accept and even embrace this change. But someone, somewhere, sometime, will need to make the decision that libraries are no longer libraries in the historical sense. Libraries will become extensions of the school computer lab, rather than simply a resource room.
Already the librarian needs to have moderate technical skills to help patrons do 'simple' things such as attaching photos with an email, or printing only part of a report, or troubleshooting an error code. As libraries add more technical items to their physical spaces, more know-how in all things computer will be required.
Who are we? What is a library? I don't think I know anymore.