Conservation is part of the library business
As Lankes, Silverstein, & Nicholson (2007) state “Knowledge is created through conversation. Libraries are in the knowledge business. Therefore, libraries are in the conversation business. Some of those conversations span millennia, while others only span a few seconds. Some of these conversations happen in real time.” ( p. 3) I whole heartedly agree with their observation. I am especially in tuned with these statements as a reference/public services librarian. Conversations with our patrons is essentially when determining the services and new technologies we implement in the library.
Social media as a way to connect
I think many of us that use social media get involved in getting more friends and connections, and for some people it becomes more important than the information provided by that source. (Lankes et al., p. 8) Honestly, when I joined the Hyperlinked Library I started to send friend requests before I ever read the content of the Hyperlinked Library blog. There was lots of important information to read, but I began to get information overload, and found reading blogs and sending friend requests to be an easy escape.
What is best for your library is not necessarily right for every library
Technolust and the desire for some libraries to implement new technology just for the sake of it does not benefit the community you serve. Library administrators must consider how the new technology will be implemented, who will use it, how it will be maintained and evaluated. Depending on a library’s resources it may be difficult to implement new technologies. (Lankes et al., p. 16) Several of the students we serve in my library use their Smartphones to search the online catalog and databases. They text their friends and family members using these devices too. We do not have text reference in my library. I think it would be a good resource for our students, but we do not have enough staff to facilitate the service. We only have 3 full-time librarians (including the library director), and 4 part-time librarians (all working less than 29 hours a week). This makes it extremely difficult to offer additional reference services. I was an online librarian and my job did not involve any face to face reference. I would provide chat reference for 9 hours while answering reference emails. If I had to answer face to face questions, and troubleshoot printer/copier issues I would not have been able to help as many students.
We could implement a text reference but I am afraid it would be switched off most of the time. I always wonder as a library patron about libraries that offer text reference, but whenever I go to their website no one is available to help me. I have to call the library for help. Not all technology services will work in every library setting.
Reference: Lankes, R. D., Silverstein, J., & Nicholson, S. (January 01, 2007). Participatory Networks: The Library As Conversation. Information Technology and Libraries, 26,4, 17. (Pre-pub version available here: http://quartz.syr.edu/rdlankes/Publications/Journals/COLISFinal-v7.pdf)