Access and Impact

[Originally posted to Facebook]

Ok I’m feeling preachy.

Repeat after “me access does not equal impact or knowledge or improvement”…Unless you are also talking about access to education, economic opportunity, good schools, good nutrition, transportation, and resources.
Yes libraries are part of a whole network where we meet Maslow’s needs, but we can’t simply assume all these needs are met. We must be part of a proactive system that seeks to ensure them. We are not simply doing collection development with books and databases, but with schools, faith communities, philanthropies, social services, government. We must seek to connect the vast and diverse players toward equitable access across our communities.
School librarians working with teachers, and nurses, and counselors is access.
Academic librarians working with student services, career services, teaching centers, and crisis centers is access.
Public librarians working with homeless shelters, prisons, and churches is access.
Medical librarians working with patients, doctors, care givers is access.
Librarians working across library type to ensure a student transitions to undergraduate to worker is access.
Here ends the

New Design

Nothing like a misbehaving WordPress theme to motivate a site redesign. The good news is that the site loads a lot faster. I’ll no doubt be tinkering with it a bit, but interested in your comments.

All the content and links should be unaffected, but please let me know if you see broken stuff.

Hearst awards major grant to College of Information and Communications

Hearst awards major grant to College of Information and Communications
Posted July 5, 2017
by Rebekah Friedman
Photo: Students, faculty and staff participate in South Carolina’s “Read-In” at the State House.

The College of Information and Communications has received a $100,000 Hearst Foundations grant to strengthen South Carolina communities through comprehensive literacy efforts.

The grant will fund the Community Based Literacy Initiative, a partnership between the South Carolina Center for Children’s Books and Literacy (SCCCBL) and USC’s College of Education. The initiative builds upon work already being done by Cocky’s Reading Express, SCCCBL’s statewide outreach program.
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Summer SLIS Update

Greetings my Friends,

Normally summer is a slow period in academia, but not at the School of Library and Information Science. The faculty, students, and staff have been busy moving forward Carolina’s Knowledge School.

The big news is that the school’s graduate program in library and information science has been reaccredited by the American Library Association! This has been a multi-year process that has involved all parts of the school. The faculty worked with our National Advisory Council and our Diversity Leadership Group to put together a program report that covered all aspects of the school. ALA looked at everything from our curriculum, to the moral of our students, to the condition of Davis College. While there are always things for us to improve upon, the committee gave us the thumbs up.
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University of South Carolina LIS Program Re-accredited

The American Library Association (ALA) Committee on Accreditation has granted re-accreditation to the Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) program at the University of South Carolina. The designation, effective for seven years, is held by only 60 programs nationwide.

“Having accreditation from the American Library Association not only allows us to continue to serve the citizens of South Carolina and libraries around the world, but it’s also a mark of quality,” says Dr. David Lankes, director of the School of Library and Information Science (SLIS).

Members of the ALA’s External Review Panel visited the university in March to review all aspects of the MLIS program, from curriculum to faculty quality. Following that visit, the panel identified four strengths: community engagement, vision and strategic planning, graduate student access to faculty and faculty advising, and high morale among students and employees.

The accreditation announcement comes just months after U.S. News and World Report ranked USC among the top 20 ALA-accredited programs in the country and among the top five for the School Library Media specialty.

Lankes credits the SLIS community with the program’s success.

“This is the result of thousands of hours of dedicated work by faculty, staff, students and professionals from the field,” Lankes says. “We believe that time was well spent and represents our dedication to librarianship and the power of librarians to transform lives and communities across the globe.”

For more information on the School of Library and Information Science, visit

Eulogy for the Information Age: The Future is Impact Not Access

“Eulogy for the Information Age: The Future is Impact Not Access” ALIA New Librarians Symposium 8. Canberra, Australia (via Skype).

Slides: Slides in PDF
Speech Text: Read Speaker Script

[This is an edited version of the script I used for my talk. However, it is not a word for word transcript.]
I realize the New Librarianshipin the event’s title refers to new to the profession, but I’d like to think of it for my talk as a reference to a new view of the profession. I would also like to let you know that many of the ideas in this talk were strongly shaped by ongoing conversations with Darin Freeburg at the University of South Carolina. The good stuff is his, the bad stuff are my fault.
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Forget the Future: Our Time is Now

“Forget the Future: Our Time is Now” RUSA President’s Program, American Library Association Annual Conference. Chicago, IL.

Slides: Slides in PDF
Speech Text: Read Speaker Script
Abstract: Our communities-our colleges, our towns, our schools, our businesses-need us. As those we serve face growing tensions of nationalism, xenophobia, racism, extremist politics, and social media sites that seems better at building filter bubbles than societies there is a need for a community of professional dedicated to the common good and founded on knowledge. However, our communities don’t need us to gate keep a collection, offer up workshops, or staff a building. They need us adding value to their lives with them in their homes, classrooms, offices, and devices. This talk will explore how reference and user services not only remain relevant, but mobilize to addresses the real challenges of today’s community.

[This is an edited version of the script I used for my talk. However, it is not a word for word transcript.]

Every year the University of South Carolina’s School of Library and Information Science have a hooding ceremony for graduating librarians in Rutledge Chapel on the historic Horseshoe of campus.

The chapel is in Rutledge College, the first building built for the South Carolina College – now the University of South Carolina – in 1805. It was built, in part, with slave labor.
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A Carolina School of Librarianship

“A Carolina School of Librarianship” Metrolina Annual Conference. Charlotte, SC.

Abstract: In academic and disciplinary circles there is a rare occurrence when a school, an organizational unit, transforms into a school of thought. This kind of school of thought galvanizes thinking between scholars and practitioners to change how we think about something. Classic examples include the Chicago School of Architecture where new building technologies lead to a way of designing city buildings that eventually defined modernism, the modern skyscraper, and changed the look of cities forever. There was also the Chicago school of economics and social science. These influential communities of thinkers and doers can change the whole world.

I think we are ripe for a Carolina School of Librarianship. In North and South Carolina we have a concentration of outstanding scholars and libraries. We have library leaders in public, academic, school, and special libraries. If we can come together to think together, to develop common impacts, to share we can forge an agenda and way of thinking about the field that would have global influence. In this talk I would like to outline some aspects of that school that I think can serve as a foundation for this and talk about the outsized influence the people in the room can have across the globe.
Slides: Slides in PDF

Metro from R. David Lankes on Vimeo.

Librarianship is a Technical Profession…That is All About People

[This is an edited version of the script I used for my talk. However, it is not a word for word transcript. Aside from added comments during the talk, I have edited and expanded the notes here to make them more readable. You can see a screencast of the actual presentation here.]

When I was invited to give this talk, Kim Tallerås told me that I could address:

  • What technological expertise should librarians have?
  • What should we leave to other professions?
  • Generalist vs specialist?
  • What does knowledge organization mean in 2017?

A simple list, right? I particularly like the “etc” just in case I might have some extra time.

So where to begin? I could start with my opinion. I could start with the curriculum that we are developing at the University of South Carolina. I could, of course, pretend to answer the questions by “framing the debate,” where I list some international competencies, throw in a bit of criticism, but really leave the questions unresolved.

Instead, let me start with a question that isn’t on this list: are there right and wrong answers to these to begin with? Is there some foundation that we can test our opinions? Because it turns out what looks like topics for debate, are in fact answerable, but only if we start from a firm foundation.
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