Michael Sauers, The Travelin’ Librarian, has an interesting post today about 2.0 and staff workloads.
Maybe at an institutional level adding the new social tools onto an already overloaded workflow isn’t the answer. Granted, I firmly believe that some of the new tools can be integrated successfully and streamline the existing workflow, but what about larger tools like blogging. Instead of expecting staff to blog for the library in addition to their existing workload, how about redistributing the workload so the staff that will be blogging on behalf of the library have a little less of what they did before and now have the time to blog?
I’m not saying this would be easy, nor could I possibly claim to have a “plan” for something like that that you could implement in your library. (How could I, each library’s solution would be completely different from every other.) However, maybe we should not look at this as an addition problem, but more of a rearrangement problem.
It’s nice that people are starting to recognize and acknowledge that it will take more than access to the technologies to get librarians to really adopt 2.0 methods and products. It will take lots of effort and time to incorporate it into the current model, and perhaps the current model is already broken.
Jezmynne Westcott commented:
As one of those librarians who manage subjects, ref desk, outreach, instruction, appointments, a building, staff, AND 2.0 stuff, I agree it is a challenge. For me, it comes down to 2 things – prioritization and well, prioritization.
I think that’s also true, as well as the need to examine what’s important for each individual library. I still don’t know that every library absolutely needs a blog. My library’s been trying to blog and I think it’s been far from a success, mostly due to time issues and lack of interesting content. The people who have the time to write posts aren’t the ones who would write the most interesting, in-depth, and informational posts about transportation information. I would include myself in the former. People would really need the time to devote to learning how to use the tools and then the time to implement them, similar to professional development time. Sauers is probably correct in assuming that more staff would be needed to free up this time, or some sort of restructuring in many libraries. It’s also clear though, that these sorts of changes would be hard to implement because they would affect everybody, but I still think it’s needed in this changing world.
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