Academic Libraries and the Research Community

My job title is presently “Director of Patron Services.” This means that not only do I have the marvelously fun job of helping theology students do research, but I also get to fashion and plan the services we offer to those students.

Presently the library world is all aflutter about “Library 2.0,” an approach to library services that in essence Amazoogles the patron’s encounter with the library virtually, focuses on user-centricity in personal interractions, and pushes library content out into the world of the patron rather than waiting for them to come into the library.

According to Meredith Farkas:“The idea of Library 2.0 represents a significant paradigm shift in the way we view library services. It’s about a seamless user experience, where usability, interoperability, and flexibility of library systems is key. It’s about the library being more present in the community through programming, community building (both online and physical), and outreach via technology (IM, screencasting, blogs, wikis, etc.). It’s about allowing user participation through writing reviews and tagging in the catalog and making their voice heard through blogs and wikis. It’s about making the library more transparent through its Web presence and its physical design. We need to make the library human, ubiquitous, and user-centered. This involves a change in our systems, our Web presence, and our very attitudes. It will take a lot of work for a library to be completely 2.0, but the idea should inform every decision made at the library.”

This is part of why I started this blog — to see if user created content can indeed be a viable source of peer-informed research. What do you think? What type of library services would you find helpful as an informed researcher? Let’s move beyond the static world of libraries as relatively inaccessible silos of information with librarians on guard. Clearly, excising this antiquated approach to librarianship would benefit everyone involved. But is my vision of a user-centered library that offers opportunity for user-created content realistic?

I guess my question is this: what is the value of library 2.0 to informed researchers?

Your thoughts?