One Last Lecture

At Carolina’s School of Information Science graduate hooding ceremony to I give one last lecture:

I will not be the first nor the last to point out that you are graduating at a unique point in history. A time when people are talking about a reopening. A sometimes halting, undoubtedly uneven, and often inequitable reopening of society. It is easy to look ahead to this reopening, to the time after you graduate, to the time of vaccines. This is good, and you have certainly earned it. But I ask you to also reflect on the year that has just passed. I ask you to do this because it will be a time that will drive this nation in the coming decade and as librarians, as information professionals, you form the vital memory of our nation.

For all this past year has been one of loss. For too many the loss of a loved one, friend, or colleague. But for all a loss of certainty. In this past year a pandemic made us question the safety of our neighbors, the choices of our community, and the tenuous nature of health care in this nation. In the past months an insurrection at the Capital made us question the strength of our democracy, of our own ideals, and of the intention of our leaders. The murder of black men at the hands of police have made us question our own role in eliminating racism, in our privilege, and in the foundations of our civic institutions.

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Libraries Lead the New Normal

Libraries Lead the New Normal is a new podcast hosted by Mike Eisenberg (Dean & Professor Emeritus, Information School, University of Washington) & David Lankes (Director & Professor, iSchool, University of South Carolina).

There’s an emerging new normal. 2020 was brutal and has affected all aspects of our lives. As we come out of the pandemic in 2021 and beyond, we must ask, “Are these changes temporary and short-lived or are more fundamental and long-term?” It seems like this is a good time for re-examination and possibly reset of home-life and work-life, education, commerce, social life, politics, and even recreation. We think that this can be a valuable time for life-altering, ground breaking, and transformative change.

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Forged in War: How a Century of War Created Today’s Information Society

I am proud to announce my new book Forged in War: How a Century of War Created Today’s Information Society published by Rowman & Littlefield.

Forged in War

Many of what we think of as Information Age tools and media— computers, cell phones, the internet, encryption, and more— evolved directly out of modern warfare. These tools started with World War I (which began not with arms but with England cutting off underwater cables to Germany to isolate it), accelerated through World War II and the Cold War, and now play a central role in both declared and non-declared conflicts like election interference and cyberbattles.

We buy phones, smart speakers, and virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa to help us do our work and answer that one trivia question that bugs us. Yet these devices are data gatherers. They collect, repackage, and monetize our questions, purchases, photographs, and web surfing to form a data industry now larger than the oil industry.

Forged in War takes a critical look at the systems we use and how we ended up in a society that increasingly values data over personal liberty and commerce over the public good. It tells a compelling and previously untold story of how our ideas of information and knowledge reflect the century of war that has militarized our worldview.

R. David Lankes’s work has been funded by organizations such as the MacArthur Foundation, the Institute for Library and Museum Services, NASA, the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. State Department. This, his latest book, will help all of us learn how war has shaped our world and how to begin to create an agenda to stand down weaponized data and a media that seeks to own our personal, even intimate, data like one owns a gold mine.

Check out the star review in LibraryJournal: “VERDICT This most recent book by Lankes is ideal for readers seeking a more comprehensive look at information dissemination technology, its context, and its impact on the way in which we now live.

Available to order from Rowman & Littlefield

 SPECIAL OFFER 

30% DISCOUNT OFF LIST PRICE USING CODE RLFANDF30 

978-1-5381-4895-2 • Cloth May 2021 • $36.00 • after discount: $25.20 

978-1-5381-4896-9 • eBook May 2021 • $34.00 • after discount: $23.80 

Ampliemos expectativas – Expect More in Spanish Free Online

On Tuesday I had the honor of joining a launch event with the National Library of Peru. The library, working with the Library of Valencia, have translated Expect more into Spanish. It is a part of the National Library of Peru’s Reading, Library and Community Book seriesBest yet, they have released it to the world!

You can link to the Spanish eBook here: https://bpdigital.bnp.gob.pe/info/ampliemos-expectativas-exijamos-mejores-bibliotecas-para-lidiar-con-la-complejidad-del-mundo-actual-00638600

Here are my remarks for the release:

I am so happy to join you today for the launch of Expect more as part of the “Reading, Library and Community” Book series. I want to thank the National Library of Peru and the librarians of Valencia for their work translating and publishing the Spanish language version.

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Libraries Leading the New Normal

“Libraries Leading the New Normal.” Computers in Libraries 2021. Online.

Abstract: Insurrection, pandemic, racial awakening, climate crisis, a looming wealth gap. Libraries of all types are functioning in a time unlike any in history. What role can librarians play in times such as these? The answer must be to rebuild trust and reaffirm the foundations of our very democratic ideals one community at a time. Librarians must join with those we serve in forging a new normal that embraces diversity over division, collaboration over ideology, and seeks a unified equitable future. Doing so requires us to build a pragmatic agenda for a new normal based on a foundation beyond collections and access.

Slides: Slides in PDF

Librarians Building the New Normal

“Librarians Building the New Normal.” Brazilian Federation of Associations of Librarians, Information Scientists and Institutions Keynote. Via Video

Speech Text: Read Speaker Script or in Portuguese

Abstract: If librarians wish a better world, they have to make it better, not wait for it to happen.

Alternative Video: Use this link to watch the video with Portuguese captions plus listed the the questions and answers.

Audio:

Librarians Building the New Normal from R. David Lankes on Vimeo.

[This is the script I used for my talk typos and all.]

Greetings, and thank you for having me. I would like to thank Dr. Prado in particular, not only for the invitation, but also for being such a great collaborator over the years.

I see that the theme for today is “Libraries for a better world.” I have to tell you that after the past year, I could certainly use a better world right now. After this past year, a world without COVID would be nice. Without the isolation of the pandemic, without the loss, and the fear would be nice. A better world where public health is not intertwined with political ideologies. Where a mask is not a statement.

A better world where we don’t pit the economy against the environment and where the color of your skin or the place of your birth does not determine your future.

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Lankes Awarded Isadore Gilbert Mudge Award

Portrait, Isadore Gilbert Mudge, dated April 1897 and "circa 1932", Historical Photograph Collection, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University in the City of New York.
Portrait, Isadore Gilbert Mudge, dated April 1897 and “circa 1932”, Historical Photograph Collection, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University in the City of New York.

I am humbled to be “selected as the 2021 winner of the Isadore Gilbert Mudge Award, the Reference and User Services Association’s highest honor. In recognition of his 30 years of visionary leadership in reference services; for his national leadership in virtual reference; for his ongoing work in expanding reference services to build stronger communities; and for his excellence as an LIS scholar.” RUSA Website

I have to give great thanks to the selection committee. I am also indebted to the incredible Joe Thompson (who should be the next winner) for nominating me.

I am proud to join a list of awardees with some of my reference heroes on it like Joe Janes, Marie Radford, Cheryl LaGuardia, Nancy Huling, David Tyckoson, Linda C. Smith, Joan C. Durrance, Anne Lipow, and William A. Katz.

Lankes Named Visiting Researcher at French National Library School ENSSIB

I am proud to announce that I have been appointed as a Visiting Researcher to ENSSIB (École Nationale Supérieure des Sciences de l’Information et des Bibliothèques), the national library school in France. Previous Visitors include: Marie Martel, professeur et bibliothécaire à l’université de Montréal and Michael Buckland, Professor Emeritus at the University of California Berkeley’s School of Information.

This year I’ll be working virtually with faculty and students to organize some master classes on the topic of post-neutrality librarianship and some other projects. Thanks to ENSSIB director Nathalie Marcerou-Ramel and to Raphaëlle Bats for this amazing opportunity. I can only hope enough folks get vaccinated for me to actually travel to Lyon in the fall.

To prevent confusion, this is in addition to my current position as professor and director of the iSchool at the University of South Carolina.

What is a Librarian

“What is a Librarian?” Newcomer Project Meeting. Video Conference for the Erasmus+ NEWCOMER Project.

Abstract: What skills are needed by a librarian is set by how you define a librarian.