The Academic Library and the Net Gen Student

The Academic Library and the Net Gen Student: Making the Connections - Susan Gibbons I was not impressed with this book. A lot of it is stuff that any librarian who at least reads a few of the many blogs written by librarians on topics of Library 2.0 ought to know by now. The initial chapter on the NetGens is basically a compendium of generalizations. For instance, the part about Gen-X'ers being pessimistic as a general rule, which I am sure a few of them would be happy to disprove. Though drawing on work done at U. of Rochester, some of the material can be questioned on the basis of other data available. The books seems to basically paint a somewhat ideal image of the NetGens. They may be digital natives, but it does not make them good researchers or even information literate. Another issue for me was the assumption, mostly unquestioned in the book, that the students are pretty much constantly plugged in. I think this is very dependent on campus and demographic. In my previous work, while there was a lot of use of social networking, there was no awareness of any tools like blogs and wikis. Having said that, the idea of distinguishing between knowledge and information, and that the library should emphasize the provision of the former rather than the later deserves further thought and exploration. It was a good point of the book. Also the idea of an academic library as an R&D unit that allows its librarians to actually do research and development is also a very important idea. Personally, when I read LIS books, I manage to get an idea or two worth exploring further or that I want to remember. This was what I got out of it overall. The book does provide some good ideas and suggestions for reaching this student population. For librarians who have not kept up and need an overview, this would probably make a good text. For those of us who already keep up, a lot of this material we have seen already.