Library 2.0 and the changing landscape of information services in academic libraries in Kenya
Musangi, Penninah Syombua
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Traditional models of libraries offering information services are not working for current generation of students. The current generation of library users can be termed as‘digital natives’. These digital natives have grown up in an environment surrounded by rapidly evolving technologies. This means that today’s academic library users think about technology and information differently than previous generations, and expect instant access to information. They can also be called ‘netGen’ users. With this kind of environment and expectations, academic libraries need to evolve by changing to offer user-oriented services and following users into their social spaces by allowing users to participate in the creation of content, keeping the users constantly updated and building services based on their feedback. To achieve this, libraries need to incorporate web 2.0 tools in the way they provide services. Some of the tools to take advantage of include creation of blogs, wikis, flickr, youtube, facebook, RSS feeds, social bookmarks, microblogs, mashups and slideshare among others. Another obvious change noted today and especially in Kenya is the development of university campuses all over the country. For most of these campuses, one will find small rooms as libraries; with minimal resources and a few staff members. This is a challenge and library 2.0 being a combination of both physical and virtual spaces and services can offer solution to such campuses. In addition, many universities are offering distance learning and evening programmes to cater for the working class people who want to advance their careers. Do they have to come all the way to visit the library to get information for their studies? No. Library 2.0 is their way out and therefore academic libraries have to invest in these tools, in addition to off-campus access to e-resources. This paper will discuss library 2.0 as the new model of information provision to library users and especially in the academic world. The library 2.0 tools and technologies will be discussed and how they can be applied in an academic library.
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