Social networking and libraries
I've thought about this a lot, and agree with Meredith Farkas who says that just because a library has a Facebook or MySpace profile does not make it cool, a fact which is proved when you randomly click on links to some of those libraries in the wikipedia article (though I did like Birmingham, Alabama's profile). Many of our patrons (those over the age of 25, probably) would be hesitant about joining the library profile as a "friend" for fear of being bombarded with info that they may not want, and also for fear of their details being passed on to other organisations, despite any assurances we might give that this would not happen. I have found the whole process of subscribing to things like Blogger, BoingBoing, podcasts etc. a bit scary - "download" is non-threatening, "subscribe" is the opposite, bringing thoughts of "what am I getting into here? Am I going to be asked for money? Who else will find out I have subscribed?" But anything that gets the message out to a whole community in an interactive, visually exciting way, has to be a good thing. National Library have recently run 23 things workshops to upskill all school library staff, where the need is, if anything, far greater than in the public arena, given the clientele. As the old MIT poster with the dinosaurs used to say "Evolve or die".