…a library site should mimic the actual library. And what type of experience happens in a library?
One of community. And conversation. And participation.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the idea of community and library websites. I think the key is we need to consider our library websites as spaces, just like our buildings, where people ‘connect’ (and I don’t mean connect in the sense of ‘dialing in’ – I mean it in the sense of real, meaningful interaction) with our services and collections and with each other. Library websites are, essentially, online branches. They’re places for exploring the collections, for interacting, for sharing and developing ideas and knowledge… And just like our physical spaces, they should centre on community and activity; they should allow users to interact with, and through, them in meaningful ways.
Does any of this sound familiar? We’re operating in a 2.0 world, where social networking is the buzz concept of the day. Sites like Facebook allow users to communicate with friends and colleagues, to form and join groups on topics of interest to them, to connect for work, play, and a whole lot more.
The tools we need to create dynamic, participative online branches are at our fingertips. Lots of them are even free. Initiatives like Learning2.0 are seeing us build the skills sets we need to allow us implement these tools. So now all we need to do is just get cracking.
And, perhaps, give up on worrying about getting it perfect.