Library 2.0 – powerful communications tool or fad?

Why are public libraries in USA more engaged with Web 2.0 applications than their UK counterparts?

I’m trying to work out if it is genuinely worthwhile getting involved in activities such as blogging if you are a public library. And are public library authorities developing web activity policies commensurate with the explosion of stuff online?

I’m working in my MA in Librarianship and the above is my dissertation topic; I’m more than just academically interested in it, I want to be able to justify my standpoint (that it is worthwhile engaging) when I get into my first professional role. From a user-centred design standpoint, there is no point developing blogs etc just because you think they are a good thing, you need to be able to discern a need or desire amongst your actual or potential users. I think I’m far too close to the issue to be able to judge, I’m a library geek, of course my local library’s website is in my bookmarks but I don’t think that’s necessarily “normal”!

So, I am seeking examples of UK public libraries with blogs specifically but any Web 2.0 activity is of interest and also the librarians that are responsible for their content because I want to gauge underlying attitudes that motivate you to blog, facebook etc.

I know that one of the big problems is that the library’s website sits underneath that of the local authority and that is usually somewhat clunky and generic, but how much of a problem is this? What other problems do keen bloggy librarians encount? Have they given it up as a bad job? What would happen to the blog if they moved to another job?

Would the average nethead bookmark their local library’s pages?


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