are librarians innovators? do libraries innovate?

I read the web4lib mailing list in RSS format. It’s fascinating because not only is there a lot of good advice, and a lot of familiar faces, but I also learn a lot in terms of what people do and do not know about technology which helps me do my job. There are also some more thought-provoking longer threads sometimes about things like the 2.0 bandwagon, whether Twitter/Facebook type applications are a flash in the pan, or the recent thread about whether libraries innovate.

It all started, I think, with a lita-l mailing list topic that I didn’t see concerning the “ultimate debate” happening at ALA. The event was blogged on the LITA blog and debated a lot on web4lib though the thread is sort of all over the place. And then the topic was picked up by other blogs, which someone on web4lib graciously added to the mailing list as a list of links.

I wonder about the topic myself. The libraries I work with around here are very innovative, but mostly in stretching a super-small [usually five-figure] budget and rarely in technological ways. However, when you’re the only free internet in town, taking a step like offering free wifi when the library is closed, or having a way that people can use your computers to download ebooks checked out from other libraries in other states seems pretty innovative indeed.

5 Responses to “are librarians innovators? do libraries innovate?”

  1. Oleg K. Says:

    I clicked the link to the Web4Lib list, but could not find a feed to subscribe using RSS.

    If you don’t mind, how did you do it?

  2. jessamyn Says:

    Oh sorry, that’s not the right place to put that at all. I read the RSS from this page and I’ll edit the post to reflect that.

  3. Jay Datema Says:

    XML feed here:
    http://rss.gmane.org/gmane.education.web4lib

  4. Innovation, Invention, and Inspiration « Library Science and the World Around Us Says:

    [...] Jessamyn West recently commented on the “Ultimate Debate” from the 2007 ALA conference, in which the question of whether or not libraries “innovate.”  As she mentions countless other blogs jumped on this topic, and the subsequent conversations on the Web4lib mailing list became equally as thought provoking.  So where do the issues lead us? [...]

  5. jen Says:

    You made my day. I didn’t know you could read web4lib via rss. I haven’t been reading it because I hate scrolling through the digests. Lovely.