School Libraries, Techno Geekiness

Rising from the ashes (part six)

I’ve spent the better part of the past week ordering books and checking in new books. In between that, and since the fire, I’ve been thinking about the way forward (or, as Chris says, not standing still).

In the midst of all this came the whole Cult of 2.0 controversy. Annoyed Librarian said, among many other things,

The problem is, I’m not a neophyte. I am a librarian who knows how to use all this stuff, and I’ve been serving “users” for years. I’m the knowledgeable skeptic who isn’t awed because some librarian knows how to blog. Also, I’m skeptical, and whenever anyone starts jabbering about yet another “movement” with its own “manifesto,” I can’t help but criticize it. I don’t jump on bandwagons. I don’t follow fads. I’m not a convert or an ideologue. I’m interested in healthy discussion and debate, and am all for appropriate “user-centered” services, but I’m not impressed by some librarian doing her Stuart Smalley impression in American Libraries.

So save your daily affirmations and your professions of faith for someone else. I’m not interested. I, like a lot of librarians, am perfectly comfortable with using technology to connect with library users and teaching other people about it. But I don’t want to join your cult, because I can’t check my brain at the door and chant your mantras with you.

Absolutely right. It’s been on my mind since all the School Library 2.0 ideas started flying around: how do I pick and choose the right tools for my students? I’m not convinced that they’re all right for me, or us. Some people I know, like Joyce, have used many of the new toys/tools and seem to have great success with them. Others, like Elyssa (here and here) and Doug, are questioning whether they all have to be used – are some better than others, period? are some better then others in different situations?

As you know, I’ve been thinking about much of this since last year’s SLJ Summit. Part of the problem is, of course, time. Time to think. Time to play. Time to really focus on what’s right, what’s best.

And that’s the problem with this push to 2.0. There’s so much going on “out there”. It’s all new, it all has implications, and it’s never ending. Yes, the profession needs cheerleaders, people who’ll push the envelope and exhort us to follow along. My concern is that the pause for reflection doesn’t seem to follow. I want to do what’s right and best for MPOW, and that doesn’t include rushing into Beta before discussing the implications of VHS. Remember laserdiscs?

Here’s one clear quandary: Facebook. We all know that many students have Facebook pages. The 2.0pians insist that we get on board, create an account for our school library – it’s the absolutely kewl new way to connect (of course, there is some question about how close these new connections really are, something I’ve been wondering for a while). I mentioned this to some of my current students and their immediate reaction was “ewwww – NO“. Would they Friend the library? Doubtful. Why? Because they want that part of their life to be separate from their academic life. Now, I’m not planning on taking a few people’s opinions as the Absolute Truth – we’ll do a survey – but something tells me that the consensus will be “why?”. I don’t need Facebook to reach out to my students.

I guess, in Meredith’s continuum, I’m a pragmatist. Perhaps after her day, Jessamyn is, too.

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