Today, many libraries are at a crossroads: several of the services they have traditionally provided within their walls are increasingly made available online, often by non-library, commercial entities. For example, Web search engines provide easy access to millions of Websites, online databases provide convenient gateways to news and scholarship, and book-scanning projects make roaming the shelves seem antiquated. Meanwhile, the traditional authority and expertise enjoyed by librarians has been challenged by the emergence of peer-produced and collaborative knowledge projects, such as Wikipedia, Yahoo! Answers, or Amazon's personalized book recommendation system. Further, the professional, education, and social spheres of our lives are increasingly merging, marked by the rise of social networking services providing new interfaces for interacting with friends, the sharing of information, and professional collaboration.
Libraries face a key question in this new environment: what is the role of the library in providing access to knowledge in today's digitally networked world? One answer has been to actively incorporate features of the online – “Web 2.0” – world into library services, thereby creating “Library 2.0.”
Library 2.0 means bringing interactive, collaborative, user-centered, and web-based technologies to library services and collections. Launching such Library 2.0 features, however, often brings unique challenges to librarians, administrators, and patrons alike. These include: technological constraints, issues of accessibility and diversity, staffing and cost, IP/copyright concerns, privacy and data retention policies, and the overall impact on the nature and culture of the library itself.
By bringing together a diverse collection of information professionals tasked with delivering Library 2.0 services, this panel discussion will outline many of the challenges of implementing Library 2.0, as well as illuminate some solutions and directions for the future. The goal of the panel is to help other information professionals navigate this uncharted terrain to foster the creation of innovative Library 2.0 services for their patrons, and reveal areas that require further attention by the profession and academia alike. This will be accomplished through guided conversation and sharing of ideas, not the traditional presentation of papers.