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13 Jun 2007 / Julie

Everything to Everyone (is it possible to be)

In the June 2007 issue of Information Today, Dick Kaser, in his column, Ain’t No One Thing reflects on Pew’s 10 User Types.

At the top, we’ve got the Onmivores who “have all the gadgets and go online to participate and contribute” (this would be the Millenials, the Web 2.0 Generation) and at the bottom we have the Off the Network folks who “are perfectly happy with the old media, do not have cells, do not go online, and don’t feel at a loss”.

While libraries as an industry are busy trying to “catch up” to where the Omnivores (8% of the adult population according to Pew) have been operating for years, we can’t forget about the 15% (according to Pew) of people who liked things the ‘old way.’

Libraries have always dealt with a very huge dilemma- how to be all things to all people. Anyone who’s ever tried to do that on a personal level knows that it doesn’t work. Someone, somewhere, is going to end up being unhappy at the expense of someone else. Where do we strike a balance with this attempt at all around and overall awesomeness? (because balance, here, is indeed the key to success)

I think one thing to remember is to try to avoid tech for tech’s sake. Don’t create a blog or a MySpace account on a whim because it’s the “hot” thing to do. Leave that for the individuals with time on their hands. When your library or organization is looking to incorporate some of the awesome new technologies and tap into the collaboration of the collective, make sure you’re doing it because that particular thing will help you do something you do better, or make life easier for the majority of your users. Think first. Then tech.

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