"The library is human" (Michael Stephens, librarian blogger) - When considering the present and the future of the library, this statement is the most essential of all. Yes, there's an assortment of Web 2.0 technologies, many of which I've explored, as evidenced in my blog. However, with all of this focus on becoming in tune with technology and integrating as much as deemed fit or possible in the library, we serve real, living human beings.
There are conveniences that come along with technology but there's a personal touch that comes with face-to-face interaction that cannot be matched by technology.
Rick Anderson (Director of Resource Acquisition, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries) made a good point as well when he said that, "We have to be a bit more humble in the current environment, and find new ways to bring our services to patrons rather than insisting that they come to us—whether physically or virtually."
We have to reach our patrons right where they are. It isn't enough for example for the library to merely have a Facebook page, they have to actively create ways to draw patrons to their page. What ways will the library use these Web 2.0 technologies interactively? The days of static Websites are fading. As users, we're enjoying the sense of community that's developing online. We don't simply consume. We contribute, we create, and add value to the overall experience.
To be future-ready, we'll need a good mix of continued face-to-face as well as virtual interaction. Face-to-face will never grow old. In fact, in the local library I frequent, there's so many self-checkout stations now. Yes, it's pretty cool, even fun. However, I miss the conversations at the circulation desk. Human interaction is important. In some ways, I'm confused because our libraries in the county have cut hours and staff but then a great number of self-checkout stations are added. I'd rather see the smiling faces of library staff (with jobs and restored hours) instead of new machinery.