Thursday, September 10, 2009

2.0 Reference

It's about time for libraries to move into the 2.0 world for reference services. More people are communicating and spending time in the 2.0 world. Libraries that use Facebook or IM to answer reference questions will be best served if the staff are already using those services in their daily lives.

However, there comes a challenging point of whether staff will want to use the same account for private use as well as business. The issue of privacy in the social networking environment is touchy. Some people carry aliases to allow them more privacy and separation from their jobs and social lives. As librarians, who are concerned with patrons' privacy, we should also be concerned about our own privacy.

Should libraries use a generic account that displays no personal information about the employee responding to the reference inquiry? If so, how does that impact the sense of receiving personal service? As librarians continue to forge into the 2.0 environment, they will need to find the balance between the public role of the profession and online social privacy.

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