Library 2.0

There are almost as many definitions of "Library 2.0" as there are people who have written about it. To me, Library 2.0 is about meeting our patrons wherever they are, and these days that means somewhere on the Web. As the Web has become more interactive, with static web pages being replaced by user-generated content, so, too, do libraries need to draw in their users to become active participants. People still need a place where they can feel a sense of community, and that has always been and will continue to be an important part of what the physical library offers. But people are also forming new communities which are not limited by space or time, and so the library must move beyond being only a building which houses books and is open certain hours of the day.

Facebook

Facebook is a social networking site that was originally available only to college students with an .edu email address. It is now open to anyone, and libraries can create a Facebook Page that other Facebook members can become "fans" of. This badge links to Cheshire Public Library's Facebook Page. We've linked to the news feed from our public blog so that new items also appear on our Facebook Page. Just as some of us always have our email open, some people always have their Facebook account open; this is a way of reaching out to them.

Flickr

Flickr is a social networking site for your photos and videos. Instead of emailing photos to my friends, I just email them a link to a Flickr set. Libraries are using Flickr to promote new and featured books, generate interest in programs, and just to save space on their own servers. Here are some photos from the displays of new and featured books at my library. The Flickr badge displays a few photos from my own collection of Connecticut libraries.

www.flickr.com

FreeFind

FreeFind is one of many free services that will index your website and provide a search box and a customizable search results screen that can be incorporated into your website. This site is organized in such a way that no page is more than three clicks away from the home page and a search box may not be necessary, but we can never know with certainty exactly what our users are looking for. If you want to see how many classes I had with Dr. Kim, for example, you can do that with the search box. FreeFind also produces a weekly report of the number of searches and the search terms used. Libraries can and should be tracking the number of visits to their website, which pages are being visited, and what the visitors are looking for, just as they would track any other library service like program attendance, circulation, or reference transactions.

LibraryThing

LibraryThing is a "home for your books." You can catalog books you own, books you wish you owned, books you've read, books you want to read, and books you have loaned out to friends. It's your own personal catalog, but it's also a social networking site where you can find other people with similar interests and similar libraries. Libraries can use it to feature new books or collections, or as just another way to connect with their patrons.

Meebo

Meebo is a web-based sevice which many libraries are using to consolidate all their instant messaging (IM) identities—AIM, Yahoo!, MSN, Google Talk, Facebook, MySpace, and more—into one place. By placing a Meebo widget like the one below on their website, libraries can offer their patrons personal help from anywhere on their website. For example, some libraries have customized their "no results found" OPAC screen to display a Meebo widget.