The introduction of the printing press had a HUGE impact on humans. In the west it is seen as one of the main drivers behind the rise of: humanism and individualism; the Reformation and Counter Reformation; and the modern nation state. It also played a role in the developments in warfare, healthcare, literature, business and finance. This was because the printing press allowed more and more people to share and capture ideas. Without the printing press 20th century libraries with “just in case collections” would not exist. Web 2.0 applications have the potential to blow this out even further. Irrespective of whether libraries understand or agree or disagree with social networking, it is here to stay and its impact is being felt NOW.
As noted in the recent VALA meeting on “Facebooking your library”, irrespective of which social networking applications are in the ascendency (and this change with dizzying frequency) we HAVE TO BE IN THIS SPACE. Ignore it at your peril!
What does this mean to a library profession where librarians are being left behind or do not see the point? From what I hear on the street, quite a high percentage of librarians starting Learning 23 things do not complete it, and say they do not see the point. Yet it is through the use of social networking applications that we can engage with, and be relevant to digital natives. Why, because this is what they are using to communicate as well as create and share content. This is not instead of the book and linear narratives (well at least I hope not) rather this is in parallel with traditional collections and library services.