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.

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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Collective Individuality

“Collective Individuality: How libraries can support individual action” State Library Victoria Public Library Planning Meeting.

Abstract: Library networks need to change from platforms supporting similar services across libraries, to platforms that allow libraries to better look like and serve their unique communities.

Script below video

Below is the script I used for the video…typos and all.

So, you are meeting to discuss the next 3 year plan for the public library network. As we’ve just seen, a lot can happen in three years. Our phones get smaller, our computers get faster, oh and global pandemics and the first land war in Europe since the 1940s happen. 

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Less; Better

“Less; Better.” State Librarian’s Program, New Jersey Library Association Annual Conference 2022. Atlantic City, NJ.

Abstract: Librarians are service oriented. All too often that translates into trying to be all things for all people. When you put diverse communities at the core of a library, the pressure for doing more increases. However, trying to be all things to all people is a sure way to pleasing no one, and burning out library workers in the process. In the shadow of the pandemic, our communities need us more than ever, and they need us to find the balance between serving a community, and saving it.

Slides