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Web 2.0 in Public Libraries

October 22, 2009

Lietzau, Z. (2009). U.S. Public Libraries and Web 2.0: What’s Really Happening?. Computers in Libraries, 29(9), 6-10.

I was looking for something completely different (and much less interesting) when I came across this article last week. This is perfect timing for this assignment. We are all taking this class I assume because we believe there is a need for library professionals to be knowledgeable in this area. But is that just a hunch or is there any truth to that idea? Recently the trend for libraries to adopt the use of Web 2.0 tools such as blogs, wikis and social networking sites has become quite popular. While there is much discussion about these practices there have been no statistics on how many libraries actually are using these tools and whether this has improved services or changed the library from those that are not using Web 2.0 tools.

Colorado State Library’s Library Research Service (LRS) had three purposes for making the study discussed in the article. 1. Identify the proportion of US libraries that were using specific web technologies, 2. determine how they differ from their peers, and 3. try to determine whether this has contributed to library success as defined by traditional statistical measures. 483 library websites were visited looking for anything from just a website to specific web 2.0 tools such as blogs and wikis as well as use of Facebook, Myspace or Twitter. The resulting findings were that almost all libraries had three things: a website, an online catalog and online access to a patron’s account. The smaller libraries, of which there are many in the US had very few online services and resources. However the larger libraries were moving towards greater use of Web 2.0 tools. The next step was to rate each library on a 29-point scale. This consisted of a checklist of which technologies have been implemented and the quality of use. Just having a blog got one point, but if it was current they got another point and if patrons had made comments it received another point.

Libraries in the top 20% were considered an early adopter of Web 2.0. Furthermore, these libraries were used in other ways much more heavily than their peers. In all areas the libraries that incorporated more Web 2.0 tools had higher participation among other services. LRS expects to repeat this survey every two years with the goal of looking at how these technologies are helping libraries. I will be interested to see what the next study shows but it is encouraging to see what they have found so far.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. gillisbooks permalink
    October 22, 2009 6:32 pm

    I can’t figure out how to make a live link to the article. I clicked on the icon for “insert link” and went through the process but my link didn’t show up, so I did it again, no luck and now when I go to edit it doesn’t give me that as an option….. So I just pasted in the URL. Jessica

    • anahitpetrosyan permalink
      October 22, 2009 9:10 pm


      In WordPress in the Edit Post mode, switch from the “Visual” view tab to “HTML”, located in the middle portion of the screen on the top right-hand side. There, use the “link” option to convert your URLs to live links.


  2. clementmunns permalink
    November 2, 2009 3:47 pm

    Good find.

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