Serving & Saving Communities

“Serving & Saving Communities.” Tennessee Library Association Annual Conference 2022. Knoxville, TN.

Abstract: With COVID, Insurrection, war in Europe, inflation, an increasing ideological gap, our communities need libraries to do more than be ready to serve, they need a proactive librarianship dedicated to saving communities. Libraries remain the last standing public service that is local, serves the whole community, and is dedicated to the aspirations and knowledge of a community. How do they feed the souls of the nation?

Video Sharing & So Much More: New N2L2 Episode

Episode 17: Video Sharing & So Much More

Beth Patin, Dave Lankes, & Mike Eisenberg

YouTube has more than 2 billion active users collectively viewing over 5 billion videos totaling a combined 1 billion hours of video viewing every day!! Tik Tok is the new kid on the block, just 4 years old worldwide, and already with over 1 billion active users watching 167 million videos every minute! These two entities wield tremendous influence across every demographic. Clearly more than benign video sharing platforms, they are mass media publishers, social media exchanges, and content creation streaming services. What’s the scoop? Are they valuable and helpful services or is there a darker side? Let’s find out.

Click here for episode page and previous episodes.

The Battle for the Soul of the Library: A Response

The following is a letter I sent the New York Times in response to the editorial written by Stanley Kurtz on February 24, 2022.

To the Editor,

I write in response to Stanley Kurtz’s The Battle for the Soul of the Library published in February 24th. I appreciate Dr. Kurtz’s concern for libraries and very much appreciate his identification of librarians as crucial players in the ongoing debates about challenged materials and ideological debates in our school and public libraries. I do, however, disagree with both his assertion that librarians can be neutral, his attribution of the current raft of challenges to librarians, and his assertion that trust in the profession is founded on neutrality.

Librarians are not, and have never been neutral. They are human, and human beings are driven by conscious and unconscious bias. But rather than debate the point, let me posit we don’t want librarians to be neutral. We want librarians to work to make our communities better. We want our libraries to help communities make smarter decisions and to help community members find meaning.

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Help: Connecting Great Students to Great Libraries

The Too Long; Didn’t Read version of this message is that as part of my work as the Bowden Professor I would like to connect library science students to the real work of great libraries. To that end I am looking for projects that teams can work on in a Community Engagement course and more in-depth capstone projects that I will fund. Interested? fill out the form below.

In August of this year, I started as the Virginia & Charles Bowden Professor of Librarianship at the University of Texas at Austin. Over the past two months I’ve been developing a plan to strengthen the ties between Austin’s iSchool and the library community. I’m writing you today about two of those efforts. Two efforts that will give our library students opportunities to get real experience in libraries.

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An Invitation to the New Librarianship Symposia

Hi, my name is David Lankes. When I wrote the Atlas of New Librarianship 11 years ago my goal was to start a conversation about librarians, libraries, and their role in helping communities of all sorts make better decisions and help community members find meaning in their lives. Over the past decade that conversation has spread across the globe. It has also grown deeper with passionate new voices adding new perspectives, expertise, and challenges.

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A new normal – renaissance of the public library

“A new normal – renaissance of the public library.” Stelline Conference, Milan, Italy. Online.

Abstract: Librarians and the libraries they build and maintain must step up to save our communities.

Speech Text: See below

Script for the talk (typos and all):

Greetings all. First let me apologize that I am not in there in person. I can promise you that I am on the losing side of this equation.

Of course, we have become increasing used to this story. Projects started, moving online, slowly trying to regain normalcy and then back online. It seems all of our lives have become a series of waves, variants, and social distancing. Even as we look for the positives that have come out of the pandemic such as accelerated digitization of services and a shift in the work of librarians from maintaining spaces to content creation and community outreach, we must also acknowledge 4 million dead worldwide.

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New Librarianship Symposia Invitation

I am so happy to announce a symposia series on New Librarianship.

Ten years ago MIT Press published The Atlas of New Librarianship. We are taking the opportunity of its 10th anniversary to explore some of the key issues in librarianship that have evolved and emerged since 2011 in a series of online symposia in October and November 2021. We would like to invite you to be a part.

The symposia series is sponsored by MIT Press, the University of South Carolina, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, the British Library, KB National Library of the Netherlands, the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, Gigabit Libraries Network, URFIST de Bordeaux, Enssib, and the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. We also expect more international organizations to join as sponsors shortly.

Call for Contributions

We seek abstract and creative format proposal submissions for ideas and approaches that can guide the field over the next decade and address the following areas:

  • Equity, diversity, and inclusion
  • Post-neutrality librarianship
  • International influences
  • A “new normal” agenda in a COVID-affected world 

Symposia sessions will be streamed live, free of charge, and with efforts made to meet accessibility needs. Detailed descriptions for each topical area are below.

Accepted abstracts will be presented during a symposium and published on the University of South Carolina ScholarOne digital platform. Three abstracts for each symposium will be invited for development into white papers and awarded $2500 stipends. In addition, selected presentations will be developed into commissioned essays to be included in the Atlas of New Librarianship. Submissions from library practitioners and early career faculty are highly encouraged.

Each symposium will focus on concepts that guide library practice and development, rather than focusing on skills or specific functions tied to a given institution. Participants will be encouraged to seek broad concepts and theory that ultimately determine how librarianship is defined in and outside of the context of a library, as well as beyond sectors (public, academic, school, etc.). These symposia seek the ideas that will guide the field over the next decade instead of the latest trends or services.

Abstract submissions should address one of the four following core topics:

Symposium 1: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: The vital need for diversity in librarianship stems from twin beliefs in the inherent value and dignity of all people and in the fact that the best knowledge is derived from the richest variety of sources. How can this be expressed as a core value of librarianship and what are its implications for the institutions librarians build and maintain? How can we address institutional racism, biases, discrimination, and inaccessibility   in library institutions, education, and practice internationally? How might we integrate principles of inclusion and universal design?

Symposium 2: Post-Neutrality Librarianship: Librarians cannot be unbiased neutral information professionals and passionate advocates for better communities. To seek an improved society calls for a vision of what “improved” means. How can librarians reconcile the reality of making service decisions in a context of limited resources with a mandate to serve the whole community?

Symposium 3: International Influences: Concepts of diversity, of service, and of librarianship itself are strongly influenced by local contexts. The idea that the work of librarians looks the same in Kenya, Norway, China, and the United States is founded on the strained concept that universal structures serve all. What in librarianship transcends national boundaries, what varies, and what is the process that connects the two?

Symposium 4: A New Normal Agenda in a COVID-Affected World: The COVID pandemic has put in sharp contrast the role of libraries in communities, and made clear how what was once considered normal, must never be normalized again. Librarians must fight for universal broadband, better workforce development, and expand democratic conversations, to ensure the wellbeing of communities and understand their roles in a crisis. What does the new normal agenda for librarianship look like? 

Paper Abstract Submissions:

Abstracts for papers to be presented during a symposium should discuss, analyze, and critique critical ideas, theories, and concepts addressed within the chosen symposium topic. Submissions will be evaluated on quality of content; theoretical, conceptual, or practical significance; relevance for practice; originality; and clarity. The maximum length for an abstract, including references, is 500 words. Appendices should not be included. No author names should be listed in the abstract submitted for review. 

Creative Format Contribution Proposals:

In addition to the call for paper abstracts, we invite multimedia contributions in visual, audio, audiovisual, or hybrid formats. Contributions should include a sample of work and a contributor statement and engage with critical ideas, theories, and concepts addressed within the chosen symposium topic. Submissions will be evaluated for quality of content; theoretical, conceptual, or practical significance; relevance for practice; and creativity.

Editorial Board Review: Submissions will be refereed by an editorial board assigned to each symposium area. Please see the “About” page for Editorial Board Member information.

Important Dates

  • June 30, 2021: Abstract submissions due by 11:59 PM EST
  • August 1, 2021: Notification of abstract and creative format proposal acceptance; notification of abstracts selected for white paper commissions 
  • October 28, 2021: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Symposium 
  • November 4, 2021: Post-Neutrality Librarianship Symposium 
  • November 11, 2021: International Influences Symposium 
  • November 18, 2021: A New Normal Agenda in a COVID-Affected World Symposium 
  • February 28, 2022: Publication submissions due by 11:59 PM EST (GMT -5)
  • July 2022: Processing of materials, copyediting of submissions, and preparation of introductory materials, including audio introductions of selected content, will be completed and published on the University of South Carolina ScholarOne site.
  • End of 2022 (approximate): Target publication date for The Atlas of New Librarianship,Second Edition

Click here for more information and to submit your abstract: https://scholarcommons.sc.edu/newlibrarianshipsymposia/cfp.html

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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