Library 2.0 = MyLibrary?

Michael Stephens is collecting Library 2.0 definitions, and asked for mine. Since I'm not at all clear on what my definition is, what I came up with was based on what was going on in my mind at the time. It was good to get challenged on this and it is probably time we start to search for a definition, but at the same time I don't want to get too hung up on the search for a definition. There is still a lot of discussion, thinking and just goofing around that must be done.

Here is what I wrote:

Library 2.0 is an reaction from librarians to the increasingly library relevant developments in ICT (web 2.0 and social software) and an environment that is saturatedwith information available through new and more easily accessible channels. The reaction comes in the form of increased openness and trust towards library users, both online and in the library, and in the development of new communication channels and services that are more in tune with social developments.

What is wrong with this picture? Well, for one thing it is totally library- and librarian-centric, which is NOT what Library 2.0 is about. Secondly it does not incorporate the things I think are most important about how Web 2.0 can help libraries improve their service and how to accomplish their mission. The involvement of library users in all aspects of the library and the customization and individualization of library services.

Think of it as MyLibrary

(I got the idea for the name from my son, who whenever we entered the local public library would exclaim: MY library in a very proprietory manner and then run around as if he owned the place. The name MyLibrary is already taken, by a very nice little project at the University Library at Notre Dame),

a space where the individual user finds everything she wants tailored to her taste and needs. A library service on the web that is a combination of LibraryThing, Netvibes, IM-reference and Aquabrowser adapable to the individual needs and of course it should not be library dependent, but could incorporate content and services from all kinds of library-enteties. Comments, tagging and wiki-like features would also be part of this MyLibrary concept. And OF COURSE it would be possible to incorporate all MyLibrary features into other pages, like blogs, wikis and just plain startpages that people create for themselves. 
If I should write a new definition of Library 2.0 it would go something like this:

Library 2.0 is the natural evolution of library services to a level where the library user is in control of how and when she gets access to the services she needs and wants.


I'm a norwegian librarian.

Posted in Library 2.0, Users, Web 2.0
8 comments on “Library 2.0 = MyLibrary?
  1. Tim Spalding says:

    Nice piece. How do you think LibraryThing and Aquabrowser mash up together. LibraryThing’s user-driven content with Aquabrowser’s visualization?


  2. lib1point5 says:

    I use Aquabrowser as just an example of visual representation, but LibraryThing has everything that I think is positive about Library 2.0: community, content and continous development. I think that every library catalog has a lot to learn from LibraryThing.


  3. Who’s in control of the security for these new IT related services? I hear a ton of positive talk about the Library 2.0 movement and what it’ll give members of the public but what about the impact on IT administration? Is anybody talking about how these new services can/will be secured on PAC terminals or is security taking a back seat to the demands of fourteen-year-olds who want Messenger installed throughout their library?

    Right now I get requests from staff/patrons for DVD burners, unrestricted USB/floppy access on PCs, little or no restrictions on internet PCs, the ability to install their own software, unrestricted wireless access (aka. hello BitTorrent, goodbye bandwidth), open network shares for patrons with unrestricted quotas, MP3 filesharing terminals, and more. All this in the interests of supporting a 2.0 way of life with little or no concern for the security and/or legal interests of the users or perhaps even the staff.

    I think it’s great that people are waving the flag for Library 2.0, but they have to start documenting the security that goes along with it or us IT people are going to take the blame for the problems that will inevitably arise.

  4. Dave Pattern says:


    I think it’s all about balance. One or two of the items you list could be implemented without compromising your security and infrastructure.

    For the rest, as long as you have a perfectly justifiable reason why you can’t allow it, and you’re also prepared to occasionally re-evaluate that position, then I don’t see any problem.

    Even better, set up a library weblog and use it to explain the reasons why you can allow certain things and not others.

    I think the issue for many patrons is that they just see the barriers, but very few of us bother to explain the reasons why we’ve put them there.

    Here at the University of Huddersfield we’re looking at allowing “walk in” users (e.g. the general public) to use our computers (see This has raised a large number of issues (e.g. licensing and support), but these are things that the Library and the C&IT staff can discuss and resolve.

  5. […] In two comments Jeremy Morrow from Burlington public library in Canada raises the question of security in the Library 2.0 world. He raises some good points, and the most important in my opinion is: I think it’s great that people are waving the flag for Library 2.0, but they have to start documenting the security that goes along with it or us IT people are going to take the blame for the problems that will inevitably arise. […]

  6. […] Brevik, Thomas. “Library 2.0 = MyLibrary?”, Librarian 1.5 blog, April 12, 2006. <; […]

  7. […] Holmberg johdatteli meitä Kirjasto 2.0 –käsitteeseen, josta on useita eri tulkintoja: Thomas Brevik :: Michael Stephens :: Michael […]

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