Expect More: Creating Better Libraries for Today’s Complex World

“Expect More: Creating Better Libraries for Today’s Complex World” Cuyahoga County Public Library Staff Development Day. Parma, OH.

[Please note this is the first of three times this talk was presented, so if it doesn’t sound familiar you may have been in a different session.]

Slides: CCPL-Staff

CCPL from R. David Lankes on Vimeo.

Expect More at ALA Annual

We’re putting together a working session for folks interested in crafting messages, materials, and projects to promote librarians to the general public. We are doing an increasingly good job getting the word out about libraries growing relevancy and community focus, but folks need to know this is a result of librarians and library staff.

Please consider joining us in Orlando and sharing your ideas. Information below:




Field Guide, Atlas, Expect More? Which When Why?!

[tl;dr version: How does my new book The New Librarianship Field Guide fit into my other books on new librarianship? Librarian or teaching librarians – read the Field Guide. Scholar or librarian looking deeper – The Atlas of new Librarianship is for you. Board member and non-librarians curious about libraries – Expect More.]

While there have been numerous articles and presentations concerning new librarianship, the core of the concept is found in three books:

  • The Atlas of New Librarianship
  • Expect More
  • The New Librarianship Field Guide

The three represent stages of thinking and an evolution of the concepts in librarianship, but each remains relevant and each is targeted toward a specific audience.

The Atlas of New Librarianship

Published in 2011 the Atlas seeks to present a holistic view of librarianship and is focused on answering the question, “what is a librarian?” It dives deep and wide into concepts such as knowledge and facilitation. It seeks to link the what and how of librarianship to a why founded around a mission: to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in communities.

Expect More

Published in 2012 Expect More is written for non-librarians about the field and how libraries as institutions are moving from collection-centered to community centered.

The New Librarianship Field Guide

Just released in 2016 the Field Guide is written for front-line librarians and library science students. It is intentionally linear (unlike the Atlas) and accessible by a broad audience. It is loosely modeled as a text book with resources for teaching and discussing the field. It incorporates updated concepts of librarianship from the Atlas and libraries as institutions from Expect More without simply being a digest version of both.

To be clear each represents an evolution of thinking from the previous work. These seek to both promote and document the learning of the field through conversation. As always these works seek to be of value, but don’t seek to be definitive. Any active and vital field will continue to evolve as the world evolves. The goal of any of these books is not to have everyone agree, but to provide a foundation for dialog and healthy argument.

I end with a request to the field. I know that there are aspects of my work and views that people disagree with; that is how it should be in scholarly discourse. From the treatment of knowledge, to the focus on communities, to the political implications of the work there is great room for debate and experimentation. These conversations have and should continue to happen on social media and in conferences. I ask that these conversations be constructive.

Let us all use social media and journals and other forums to debate and argue on the ideas. In the pages of these works you will find an evolution of my thinking that has come from engagement. Librarianship (new, old, or other) is ultimately about society making smarter decisions. I get smarter from engagement with those who disagree often more than a discussion with those who agree. Please share your thoughts in journals, books, and practice. And let us never dismiss useful ideas for failures of the messenger.

Librarianship: Saving The World One Community At A Time

“Librarianship: Saving The World One Community At A Time” VALA 2016. Melbourne, Australia.

Abstract: We live in uncertain times of war, protest, terrorism, economic austerity, ecological disasters, and mass surveillance. What can librarians do to help communities in such turbulent times? Lankes will discuss how a proactive librarianship can build an alternative path to the growing “security versus freedom” narrative. Librarianship can shine in times of crisis, but it requires a focus on improving society over informing customers.
Slides: https://davidlankes.org/rdlankes/Presentations/2016/VALA.pdf
Audio: https://davidlankes.org/rdlankes/pod/2016/VALA.mp3

There is a video of the talk for VALA members.

Dominican’s GSLIS Joins Collaboratory

DomSeal_300Dominican University’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science has joined the Expect More Collaboratory. GSLIS will be at the center of next year’s focus on applying the ideas of Expect More in the Chicago area. I look forward to working with Dominican and our other partners to make a real difference in how communities see libraries and librarians.

Expect More 2nd Edition Now Available

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The Second Edition of Expect More: Demanding Better Libraries For Today’s Complex World is now available for purchase (Expect More Collaboratory Members receive free copies).

You can purchase it from:


CreateSpace Online Store (preferred) and Amazon



If you are interested in bulk discounts please contact me at [email protected]

Thanks to all the Collaboratory partners for their help. Keep an eye out for Greater Expectations, the Expect More Workbook for engaging your community in conversations.


Here is a brief Changelog to highlight major changes:

  • Changed the acknowledgements to recognize Expect More Collaboratory partners
Chapter 1
  • Revised estimated expenditures of libraries in North America and Globally. First edition grossly underestimated them.
  • Added OCLC examples of library usage.
  • Added Ferguson, Calgary, an NYC examples
Chapter 2
  • Added “Third Space” as a core argument for libraries.
    • Included examples like Toronto’s study pods and Fairfield’s treehouse themed children’s library.
  • Updated journal and database figures
  • Added Canadian statistics for literacy
  • Added StoryCorp and DPLA examples for Cultural Heritage
  • Added Toronto, Cuyahoga, and DC examples of supporting entrepreneurs
Chapter 3
  • Updated a lot of URL’s and mission statements.
Chapter 4
  • Added more examples in the training section
  • Added the Lebanon, NH Tor case as an example of protecting intellectual safety.
Chapter 5
  • Added discussion of how communities must share limited resources and how that can lead to conflict.
  • Added a discussion of hot spot lending
Chapter 6
  • Updated examples
  • Incorporated Aspen Report’s People, Platform, Place
  • Added section on the Community as Collection

Expect More Second Edition    

The Expect More Collaboratory is about to produce it’s first deliverable: the second edition of the Expect More book. This will be quickly followed by an Expect More Workbook and, in the summer, online training and advocacy materials.

With the release of the second edition the downloadable and print version of the first edition will be withdrawn from the web and online markets like Amazon (Collaboratory partners will be able to still download the first edition as well as the second edition through the Collaboratory site). The second edition of Expect More as well as the Workbook will be available for purchase by non-members. This will start happening January 1st.

Just as a reminder, Expect More Collaboratory members get 25 copies of the printed second edition, a print copy of the Workbook, unlimited access to the ebook versions and of course access to the coming online materials.

A note of thanks and gratitude to all who helped make Expect More such a success. It has been sold, accessed, and downloaded over 20,000 times!

If you would like to be part of the future of Expect More please consider joining the Expect More Collaboratory.

New Narratives for Librarians

“New Narratives for Librarians” SLA Military Libraries Division Training Workshop 2015. Washington, DC.

Abstract: Librarians must move past traditional narratives that are holding back the profession. Military librarians also have a special opportunity to craft a new narrative of libraries and security.

Slides: https://davidlankes.org/rdlankes/Presentations/2015/Military.pdf

Audio: https://davidlankes.org/rdlankes/pod/2015/Military.mp3


New Narratives for Librarians from R. David Lankes on Vimeo.