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Library 2tryhard – skinny leg jeans dont look good on everyone

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					                             1-2 February 2008
                             Brisbane, Australia


Library 2.tryhard – skinny leg jeans don’t look good
                    on everyone

                                   Katy Watson


Why is your library considering using web 2.0 technologies?
   •   Is it because it is the latest trend?
   •   Is it because you want to keep up with what other Libraries are
       doing?
   •   Is it because you have a personal interest in the technology?
   •   Or is it because your clients require services that are met by the
       implementation of these technologies?
Be honest. Are your library 2.0 services driven by client demand?
Or are your decisions being driven by technology, trend and hype?


Skinny leg jeans don’t look good on everyone. Actually, apart from Kate
Moss, they don’t look good on many people at all. Yet most of us own a
pair hanging in the back of the wardrobe. What can seem like a wise
investment at the time can sometimes turn out to be a trend disaster.
This applies to investment in web 2.0 technologies and services in
Libraries. While 2.0 technologies are easy to implement, if the services
are not driven by client demand, they can quickly turn into trend disasters
with the ability to alienate the clients for which the services were originally
created to engage.




Katy Watson     Library 2.tryhard – skinny leg jeans don’t look good on everyone 1
Following trends …
In the fashion world, ‘what’s hot’ lists are released and revised on a
weekly basis as fashion magazines and designers market new styles and
designs for each season. Similar trendspotting lists exist in library land1
where experts and commentators identify top technology trends for
libraries. 2.0 is a hot trend for librarians at the moment with web 2.0 and
library 2.0 technologies and philosophies discussed heavily in recent
‘what’s hot’ library trend lists. This interest is also evident in the number
of local conferences and symposiums focusing on 2.0 developments2.


With librarians being prompted to scan the horizon and become
trendspotters (Library Technology Reports, 2007), many are now
watching and monitoring 2.0 trends. However, monitoring trends and
implementing trends are two different things. While it is important to be
aware of 2.0 trends, if implemented for the wrong reasons they can have
a negative impact. There is no point implementing a trend for the sake of
being trendy.


As humourously noted by Goldstein (2007), “fashion editors don’t follow
fashion”.
      The fashion industry’s top tastemakers — the people so stylish
      they’re paid to show the rest of us how to dress — don’t follow
      fashion trends themselves. From season to season and year to
      year, their own outfits barely change. They know what suits them,
      and that’s what they wear — with only the slightest nod to the
      trends they’re paid to push.
      (Goldstein, 2007)




1
  Library Trends Journal http://www.press.jhu.edu/journals/library_trends/,
LITA Top Technology Trends http://litablog.org/category/top-technology-trends/,
and various blog posts by library technology experts, for example Tame the Web
Ten Tech Trends for Librarians
http://tametheweb.com/2007/03/ten_tech_trends_for_librarians_1.html
2
  Beyond the Hype 2008: Web 2.0 – Brisbane - February 2008
Library 2.0 Unconference – Brisbane - October 2007
Library 2.0 on the Loose Unconference – Perth - August 2007
Web 2.0 in Australia – Sydney - June 2007


Katy Watson     Library 2.tryhard – skinny leg jeans don’t look good on everyone 2
Goldstein uses photos of Anna Wintour3 (editor of US Vogue) over a
seventeen year period to demonstrate this point. Goldstein writes,
         Her trademark dark glasses and bob have been subtly updated to
         be more contemporary, but are effectively the same style. She has
         also retained a preference for neutral colours and simple shapes,
         which look fantastic on her. Note that even the watch is a similar
         style to what she wore decades ago! Over 17 years, her style barely
         changed. She knows what suits her and wears up-to-date versions
         of it, but she’s recognisably the same person with the same great
         taste, no matter what year it is.
         (Goldstein, 2007)


While I imagine Anna Wintour would have spent months advertising
skinny leg jeans in US Vogue, if she didn’t think they were a flattering fit
complimenting her existing wardrobe and style, I doubt she would have
bought a pair. If Anna Wintour was a library director, while she would
have an advanced understanding of 2.0 trends and technologies, she
wouldn’t rush out to implement a full suite of 2.0 services to create a
whole new library look all at once. I am guessing instead she would
carefully evaluate each trend comprehensively and only integrate 2.0
services into the library wardrobe when deemed a required addition.




But everyone is wearing them …
It’s ok to be the only person in the room not wearing skinny leg jeans.
While benchmarking has a vital role in the library industry, library services
should always be driven by client needs and requests, and not by looking
sideways at what others are implementing, and wanting the same. While
a keynote presentation on 2.0 technologies and services at the next
conference may discuss how these implementations have had success at
Library X, it is important to remember client demographics, needs and
wants will differ from library to library.




3
    http://fashion.thebargainqueen.com/?p=124


Katy Watson     Library 2.tryhard – skinny leg jeans don’t look good on everyone 3
Skinny leg jeans which look great on one person might not fit another. If
librarians let looking sideways at other libraries dictate new services and
technology implementations, there is a risk of implementing services that
do not suit library clients.




I love them …
Be honest. Are you thinking about implementing 2.0 services and
technologies in your Library because your clients require services that are
met by the implementation of 2.0 technologies, or because you have a
personal interest in the technology and think it is fun? Library 2.0
technologies are a lot of fun, but their implementations need to be driven
by client demand and not by a librarian’s personal interest in the
technology. Don’t buy a pair of skinny leg jeans under the pretence they
are for library clients, when really you just want to wear them yourself.




What library clients are wearing this season …
If library clients want 2.0 services from the Library, they will ask for them.
As long as a library has transparent feedback mechanisms in place and is
actively seeking client data, library clients will advise their needs and
wants. Use client data (suggestions, complaints and feedback) to drive
new services and define gaps, rather than letting perceptions of their
needs drive direction. Let clients know you want their comments and
make them feel welcome in providing them. Ask clients what they want
from their library experience rather than telling them their options. Spend
time asking clients what they want rather than implementing 2.0 services
one thinks they will use.


In 2007, University of Michigan Library surveyed library client needs
relating to 2.0 services. Respondents were asking to rate interest level for
a list of services that many of their libraries did not currently offer. The
four technologies were: audio podcasts about how to do research; blogs
written by librarians about research in specific areas; RSS for new articles
on specific subjects; and streaming videos/screen casts about how to do


Katy Watson   Library 2.tryhard – skinny leg jeans don’t look good on everyone 4
research. University of Michigan Library reported half of respondents were
not interested in audio podcasts, and about 30% of respondents were not
interested in weblogs (University of Michigan Library, 2007).


At the University of the Sunshine Coast Library, while library staff are
trained in 2.0 technologies and are actively watching 2.0 trends, as library
clients have not yet requested these services or identified gaps in services
that staff deem can be met by 2.0 tech solutions, no 2.0 technologies
have been implemented into the existing suite of library services and
technologies to date. Library suggestion statistics from 2005 to 2007
demonstrate library clients are yet to request or complain about the lack
of such 2.0 services, with the majority of suggestions focusing on more
traditional areas of library services. The USC Library 2007 Rodski Client
Survey results4 support this picture of client suggestions with the top
three areas library clients identified for potential improvement including:
access to computers, individual seating, and quiet study facilities.



                                       Library Client suggestions/comments

                       35
                       30
      % of comments




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                        Figure 1 – USC Library suggestion statistics 2005-2007

4
  The Rodski Client Survey objective is to provide the Library with a way to
identify key client concerns.


Katy Watson                   Library 2.tryhard – skinny leg jeans don’t look good on everyone 5
Percentages of client requests need to be taken into consideration when
utilising client data and statistics for the implementation of new directions,
2.0 or traditional.
   •   Is 5% of library clients requesting a library presence in Second Life
       enough to warrant a library presence there?
   •   Is 5% of library clients requesting opening hours till midnight
       enough to warrant extended late night opening hours for the
       library?
   •   Is 5% of library clients requesting the air-conditioning to be turned
       down enough to warrant turning the thermostat down?
How high a percentage should client requests for 2.0 services should be
before being acted on? 1%? 15%? 50%?


Ongoing evaluation of all services, 2.0 or otherwise is vital. While there
must be a reasonable lead time for service take-up allocated, there is no
point carrying an unused service just because it is the new 2.0 trend.
There is no point in having a pair of skinny leg jeans hanging in the
wardrobe if no-one wants to wear them. As Trinni and Susannah say, if
you haven’t worn it for a year – get rid of it (Woodall, T. & Constantine,
2008).




2.Tryhard …
It is important for libraries to remain genuine in their 2.0 services and
related marketing, and not try to fit a certain style through imitation or
scripted behaviour. Squeezing into a pair of skinny-leg jeans that don’t fit
just to impress clients will be uncomfortable for everyone.


As noted by urbandictionary.com (2008),
       A tryhard puts a large amount of effort into achieving a certain
       image to the point where it is obviously contrived. Rather than
       achieving an image through genuine personality, the tryhard
       consciously attempt to fit a certain style through deliberate
       imitation, forced style, or scripted behaviour.


Katy Watson   Library 2.tryhard – skinny leg jeans don’t look good on everyone 6
Flynn (2006), uses Mazda’s ill-fated blog to highlight how 2.0 audiences
can spot a phony and to highlight how blogging culture demands




absolute honesty5. 2.0 audiences can also spot a tryhard. Clients will not
warm to services they do not trust. If a service appears to be contrived,
an imitation, forced or scripted, and outside what clients perceive to be
the ‘library personality’, libraries may risk alienating clients by appearing
2.tryhard.




OUR MY space …
While it is important for libraries to have an online presence, in a social
2.0 world there are online spaces where a library presence might not be
appropriate.


Levine (2007), provides a good analysis of library presence noting while
libraries excel in physical world presence, there are still challenges in
establishing an online presence. Levine discusses online presence as,
         1. An online presence that allows for patron participation at the
         point of need, and
         2. Providing online the humanity, vibrancy and expertise that
         infuses our physical presence.
         (Levine, 2007).


5
    The Mazda blog supposedly belonged to a 22 year old generation Y called ‘Kid
Halloween’, used language and discussed topics designed to appear to generation
Y audiences. It reportedly linked to three videos (one of a car break dancing) that
a friend had supposedly recorded. It is reported the videos, promoting the new
Mazda3 model, were actually expensively produced videos (Flynn, 2006). Flynn
discusses how puzzled by the expensively produced videos and sensing a fraud,
bloggers started talking negatively about the Mazda blog, and reports after three
days of getting ‘bashed in the blogosphere’, Mazda deactivated the ill-conceived
blog.



Katy Watson      Library 2.tryhard – skinny leg jeans don’t look good on everyone 7
Levine also highlights the next challenge for libraries as being an entirely
new type of presence online, that of actually being ‘there’ in the moment
(Levine 2007). As outlined by Library Technology Reports (2007b), ‘Going
where the users are’ is a phrase used a lot in discussions about 2.0.
However, libraries need to be aware of not pushing into client’s social
spaces where they are not wanted. Just because technology enables it is
not a given they will necessarily be welcome.


This is particularly relevant when discussing library presence in social
networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace. While authors such as
Bolan, Canada & Cullin (2007) discuss how social networking sites can be
an excellent way to connect teens with the library, it needs to be
remembered that these online spaces are social spaces, and clients may
not want the library hanging out in their social space. Is a youth librarian
turning up at an after school birthday party to hand out overdue notices
and wheel around a trolley of the latest teen fiction any different to a
youth librarian marketing online versions of those services to teens on
Facebook?


University of Michigan Library asked their library clients via survey, ‘if you
could contact a librarian via Facebook or MySpace for help with your
research, would you? If not, why?’. Published results indicate 17% of
respondents answered yes, 6% answered maybe, and 50% answered no.
The other 27% of respondents indicated they don’t use social networks
(University of Michigan Library, 2007). The report also released
representative verbatim responses indicating some respondents saw social
networking sites as ‘a social thing and not a research thing’ (University of
Michigan Library, 2007, p.22).
    “…facebook and MySpace are very public sites...it'd be weird to
    contact a librarian that way.”
    “No, facebook does not seem like a site I would use for school
    purposes. I don't want librarians looking at my profile. Facebook is not
    for school, it's for fun.”




Katy Watson   Library 2.tryhard – skinny leg jeans don’t look good on everyone 8
    “No, because you can already chat with them online through the
    library website and I wouldn't want to contact a faculty member using
    my personal networking site.”
    (University of Michigan Library, 2007, p.21).




Jeans don’t make the outfit …
While many 2.0 discussions focus on related technologies, it is possible to
embrace Library 2.0 without implementing blogs, wikis, blikis; guiding
your clients through Flickr, tagging, or YouTube; or entering into Second
Life, Facebook or MySpace. There is no need to rush out and buy the
latest skinny leg jeans advertised in Vogue when you might be able to be
as trendy and relevant wearing the boot cut jeans you already own. As
noted by Casey & Savastinuk (2006), the heart of Library 2.0 is user-
centered change and inviting user participation in the creation of services,
supported by consistent evaluation. Library 2.0 is about dynamically
interacting with and listening to clients to create more user-centered
services (Bolan, 2007), and while the trendy 2.0 technologies can help in
certain situations, they are not always key.


As discussed by Stephens (2007), the principles of Library 2.0 include:
conversations, community, participation, experience, and sharing. Any
services that meet these principles can be Library 2.0. As noted by Casey
& Savastinuk, even older, traditional services can be Library 2.0 if criteria
are met, and being new is not enough to make a service Library 2.0
(Casey & Savastinuk, 2006).


Library 2.0 is not just about the technology, it is about relationships with
library clients, and the ways in which libraries work to meet their needs.
To be Library 2.0 savvy, as long as relationships with library clients are
consistently fostered, supported and reviewed, a suite of new technologies
is not necessarily required. Library 2.0 discussions should focus on sharing
how libraries monitor and improve relationships with library clients,
shifting the focus from techno-speak. With this in mind, if library


Katy Watson   Library 2.tryhard – skinny leg jeans don’t look good on everyone 9
managers are considering implementing staff positions to monitor new 2.0
technologies, they may also want to consider implementing client
relationship positions to work in tandem.




Katy Watson   Library 2.tryhard – skinny leg jeans don’t look good on everyone 10
References


(2007). Technology Trends for a 2.0 world. Library Technology Reports.
Sept/Oct 43(5), pp.32-44.


(2007b). Social Networking Services. Library Technology Reports.
Sept/Oct 43(5), pp.45-51.


(2008). Tryhard. Retrieved January 2, 2008, from
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=tryhard


Bolan, K., Canada, M. & Cullin, R. (2007). Web, Library, and Teen
Services 2.0. Young Adult Library Services. Winter, pp.40-43.


Casey, M & Savastinuk, L. (2006). Library 2.0. Library Journal,
September, pp.40-42.


Flynn, N. (2006). Blog Rules: a business guide to managing policy, public
relations, and legal issues. American Management Association, New York.


Goldstein, S. (2007). Fashion editors don’t follow fashion. The Bargain
Queens. Retrieved January 5, 2007, from
http://fashion.thebargainqueen.com/?p=124


Levine, J. (2007). Presence in the 2.0 World. Library Technology Reports,
43 (5), pp.7-8.


Stephens, M. (2007). Ten tech trends for Librarians 2007. Tame the Web:
Libraries and Technology. Retrieved December 20, 2007, from
http://tametheweb.com/2007/03/ten_tech_trends_for_librarians_1.html


University of Michigan Library (2007). Library Web Survey Formal Report.
Retrieved January 15, 2008, from
http://www.lib.umich.edu/usability/projects/ProjectReports/WebSurvey_F
all2007_Formal.pdf


Katy Watson   Library 2.tryhard – skinny leg jeans don’t look good on everyone 11
Woodall, T. & Constantine, S. (2008). Trinny & Susannah. Retrieved
January 20, 2008, from www.trinnyandsusannah.com




 The Beyond the Hype: Web 2.0 Symposium is an ALIA event.




Katy Watson   Library 2.tryhard – skinny leg jeans don’t look good on everyone 12

				
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