Back to the future: Augmenting competencies for Library 2.0

By Chan Ping Wah and Ngian Lek Choh, pp. 1-12


With the widespread use of web technologies and pervasiveness of handheld devices, libraries are grappling with the changing use patterns and expectations of its varied clientele. Debates about the uptake of new digital technologies reinforce old conclusions about the role and purpose of the library.

The authors argue that technological developments in the fulfilment of library services should be critically assessed in terms of how they satisfy the library’s purposes or use of its core competencies. The ubiquity of access and the emergence of unified communications pose huge challenges to traditional means and formats of content acquisition and delivery, however, not to its fundamental role in society.

While customer expectations of libraries are somewhat influenced and shaped by their experience of content access on the Internet which some scholars conclude as having reached a strategic inflection point, the authors opine that the National Library Board’s early exposure to user-centred services has reduced the impact of strategic shifts in the environment. The paper nevertheless calls for a redefinition of roles for librarians.

This article is based on the conference paper presented at the LAS Conference in May 2008.