“Book Bans to AI: Changing the Narrative in Libraries” Keynote. Library Journal 2023 Directors Summit. Houston, Texas.
Abstract: While librarians should never surrender the fight for intellectual freedom, there is utility in changing the narrative of the conversation. Rather than fighting a charged reactionary “battle” against censorship, we should use local narratives that emphasize the professionalism of librarians and the larger societal benefits of public libraries. AI and workforce development provides one such opportunity.
I was quoted several times in a good piece on academic libraries and AI
“This does change things, but in a very good way,” said R. David Lankes, the Virginia and Charles Bowden Professor of Librarianship at the University of Texas at Austin. “Librarians, every decade or so, are getting good at dealing with an existential crisis of ‘Do we need librarians?’ But with this one they’ve been very open to embrace, discuss and analyze this.”
These days if I’m asked to give a guest lecture, keynote, or just a talk it is either about book bans or AI. Increasingly I see the intersection. I have a feeling this will be an area of continued investigation, so I’ve created a new category for my stuff. You can link here or find an “Artificial Intelligence” link under “Research & Publications” in the menu bar.
ABSTRACT: This piece explores a series of corollaries to Ranganathan’s five laws of librarianship. These corollaries talk about how librarians work with community’s to ensure that service is shaped throughout the community. Such shaping moves libraries away from some pre-determined standard model, and into hyper local organizations ultimately facilitating knowledge creation.
“LibrarianAI: Facilitation at the core of librarians role in AI.” Panel presentation at XX International Conference on University Libraries. Mexico CIty, Mexico
Abstract: To talk about what competencies librarians need in a world of ubiquitous AI has to start with rethinking the role of a librarian to begin with. Librarians should not compete with AI to be the objective answer machine, but instead be active facilitators of knowledge and fight for their communities.
I receive inquiries about working with me on doctoral studies. I would love to work with folks on their doctorates. I am writing this to let you know the kind of work I can support, and some logistics of how that might work. First, let me talk about my areas of research and the areas I would be able to advise. Then I’ll talk about the ways in which we can work on these areas.
What do you study and support?
My primary research agenda focuses on community-based librarianship. This works involves seeing the role librarians have in building knowledge in a community and help community members find meaning in their lives. I situate my methodology in Participatory Action Research, where I am part of building systems or working with librarians and community members to better understand systems. This work is international.
Abstract: The role of school librarians extends beyond simply helping students achieve success in their studies. School librarians prepare students for life-long inquiry based learning. We foster students passions beyond the curriculum and equip them to thrive in a world of information and misinformation. But how do we plan and build programs around the unique passions of individuals?? What does a makerspace of the mind look like and how do we draw lines, and put together budgets with such diversity? How can we constantly add new services, and tools when we barely can keep up with the current program? This talk will lay out some ideas on how as librarians we can do less, but do it better. It is about focusing the work of the librarian to unleash the potential of students.
“To Improve is Not a Neutral Act” Biblioteche Innovazione Comunita, Bergamo, Italy
Abstract: Values are one of the defining characteristics of a librarian. Yet one value needs a thorough rethinking: neutrality. In this short video Lankes argues that one can’t be neutral, that intellectual honesty is a better concept (active versus passive), and that such a stand is even more important in a time of attacks on intellectual freedom and librarians.
I’m proud to be part of this new program at the University of Texas at Austin.
“Congratulations to the inaugural cohort of the UT Research Leaders Academy! 15 researchers from 10 colleges were selected to participate.
The academy is a partnership between OVPR and the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost (EVPP) to support UT researchers who aspire to lead, or are already leading, large-scale research initiatives. Participants will work closely with OVPR staff to learn how to scope a large-scale, shared scholarly vision with colleagues, how to secure external support to realize that shared vision, and how to successfully implement and manage their vision.
We’re excited to partner with the Provost’s Office to help researchers develop their leadership skills! “