Less; Better, a Workbook, and Looking for Feedback

I don’t know what you did over your winter break (for those that got one), but I wrote a new workbook and now I’m looking for a few brave souls to read it and give me feedback.

Less;Better Workbook draft cover. An out of focus hand and background holds a camera lens that provides clarity of a city street.

First, the ask, then the workbook summary: I’m looking for 5 folks to read the current draft and give me feedback on the text. NOT copyediting, but thoughts on the overall concept, does the text make sense, do the worksheets flow, do you like the cover, what did I miss, etc.

So what is Less; Better, and why a workbook? The short answer is that it seeks to fill a gap in thinking about community-based/new librarianship – finding focus. In my other books like Expect More and Atlas of New Librarianship a library is defined as the result of a librarian facilitate community learning. But this is so broad it raises the question – how can librarians do it all? Less; Better is about finding the balance.

A workbook because it includes exercises, slide decks, and hand outs to facilitate workshops and conversations on the topic. It is meant to be lightweight, useful, and practical. I first did a presentation on Less; Better last year at the New Jersey Library Association conference, and have since gotten regular requests to speak on the topic.

Sample worksheet.

My plan is to self-publish this, just as I did with Expect More so I can keep it inexpensive, get it out quick, and be able to facilitate its use without complicated publisher negotiations.

So, if you are interested, let me know in the comments or email me at rdlankes@gmail.com

A special thanks to Jennifer R. Nelson, NJ State Librarian for her considered feedback.

Introducing Bowden Fellows

As the new year starts, so does a new program – Bowden Fellows. These are folks from practice and academia working closely with the Bowden Professor to push forward an agenda of improving libraries and library science education.

Kimberly Silk, Principal Consultant for Brightsail Research and Sessional Lecturer at the University of Toronto. Kim works with GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) sector organizations to help them adopt evaluation practices, develop metrics, and use data analysis to measure progress toward strategic goals, improve operations and demonstrate outcomes. Kim’s formal education includes a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in English Literature from the University of Waterloo and a Master of Library Science from the University of Toronto. In 2020 she completed a Graduate Certificate in Evaluation from the School of Public Administration at the University of Victoria.

This spring Kim will be working with the Texas State Library and Archives around the use of data for assessment and ongoing services, and teaching a course in library evaluation for the University of Texas at Austin’s iSchool.

Susan Gregurek, Library Director Jarrell Community Library and Resource Center. Susan is the Library Director for Jarrell Community Library and Resource Center in Jarrell, Texas. The library is a new small rural non-profit library in a community experiencing exponential growth. Her past experiences as a retired K-8 educator, staff development trainer, Board of Director of an educational non-profit, and worked for a major textbook company has helped to prepare her for her new challenges expanding library resources, programs and activities for the diverse community of Jarrell.

This spring Susan will be working with students in building and managing the Jarrell Community Library.

OF the People

“OF the People.” National Assembly Busan Library. Busan, Korea.

Abstract: National and parliamentary libraries are searching for a new mission. In this presentation I argue for a public facing mission reinforcing the infrastructure of democracy through local public libraries.

Slides:

Future of Libraries

“Future of Libraries.” National Library of Korea 77th Anniversary Conference. Seoul, Korea.

Abstract: There is no future for libraries. There are, instead, as many futures as there are libraries. And that means we need to rethink everything from networks to certification to who we call librarians.

Slides:

Speech Script

SLIDE 1

Greetings. I would like to thank the National Library for giving me this opportunity to speak to you today. They have asked me to talk on the topic of the future of libraries. It is perhaps then, somewhat surprising that in my work and in my discussions with librarians around the world, I have come to the conclusion that there is no future for libraries.

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A Final Message for the Newcomer Project

The Newcomer Project, an EU funded effort to bring together librarians across borders to discuss support of community and particularly older adults, had its last meeting. I was unable to join in person, and so prepared these remarks. Text of the speech is below the video.

Video Script:

I’m just going to say it. I’m jealous.

For me this will be the project that could have been.

When we started, I wasn’t going to be an occasional video or Zoom, but be there, in person, becoming part of a community of librarians dedicated to their communities and their profession across borders. I’m jealous because that is exactly what I see there now. Every one part of that community.

Through our rough start in lockdowns, and the move to Zoom, and then the trips and dinners and meetings, you have built a new community. One that I don’t think will stop after this meeting.

We have seen examples of great librarianship. Been challenged with new ideas, and found common ground. But more important, we have seen the value of what we don’t hold in common and how that is the strength of diversity.

For too long our profession has been focused on replication and adoption. Under the name of best practice or toolkit, for too long folks have seen libraries as variations on a theme. For too long through the 21st century we have fought about what is the ideal blueprint of a library. Associations, standards committees, and yes library scholars, have looked to be efficient and universal.

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