I have worked hard on my Library Lab project, but had a nagging feeling that something was wrong. There was two problems with how I first envisioned it. And as my feeling of discomfort with the work increased I started to look at It was top-down and centrally managed and funded, and secondly it did not take into account the “nature of 2.0” as I now see it. First of all, let’s try to define 2.0-ness:
Web 2.0 and Library 2.0, and any other 2.0 you care to mention, rests on the basis of participation and development that starts from the ground. Social networks of people who all invest a little of their time, intelligence/knowledge and effort to make something that is greater than the sum of the parts.
Forgetting this, or just letting old habits rule, led me into the trap of trying to organize a project from the top. The Library Lab I envisioned would have a salaried project manager, a lot of management and organization, and would try to “make” people work on “approved” projects. How wrong is that?
So hopefully I have learned a lesson or two, and the New Library Lab project proposal will contain more 2.0-ness. Basically I now see a network that is supported but left to grow from the interest and abilities of the people in the network. Initially I think it will be important to have a critical mass of people and projects, so I thnk that the main effort will be in connecting people and spreading the word. The project manager is replaced with a facillitator who smoothes the way for the participants by setting up a CMS, getting in touch with people, finding and destroying bottlenecs (Bottleneck terminator – that is a title I want on my business card:-)), and lastly challenging the network and hope that something happens.
The thing is, I really want this network to incorporate people from outside the library sector. Not just library system vendors, or the odd friend of the library, but real library users and non-users, people from local Linux User Groups, students, High-school teachers and any other interested person. The main challenge will be connecting to the people who are interested. Sounds like marketing might be a greater challenge than the technical stuff.