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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Sarasota Panel on Shared Issues with Librarians and Reporters

Sarasota County Public Libraries Staff Day: Panel on the News and Libraries

It was a great and pretty wide ranging discussion around fake news, editorial responsibility, possible collaborations, and even a little net neutrality thrown in for good measure.

Panel members Tom Tryon – Opinion Editor for the Sarasota Herald Tribune, Janet Coats – Founder & CEO of Coats2Coats, , and R. David Lankes, Director & Professor, University of South Carolina, School of Library and Information Science.

The Social Responsibility of the Library and the Librarian in a Post-Factual World

Follett Lecture Featuring David Lankes

Date: Wednesday, April 12, 2017 – 6:00pm

Location: Martin Recital Hall

Dr. R. David Lankes, 2016-17 Follett Chair, associate dean of the University of South Carolina’s College of Information and Communications and director of the School of Library and Information Science there, will present the 2017 Follett Lecture, titled “The Social Responsibility of the Library and the Librarian in a Post-Factual World.” The author of The Atlas of New Librarianship and Expect More, he is a strong advocate for innovation and excellence in twenty-first century libraries.

Respondent panelists include Nicole A. Cooke, assistant professor at the School of Information Sciences and faculty affiliate of the Center for Digital Inclusion at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; Miguel Figueroa, director of the American Library Association’s Center for the Future of Libraries; and Scott Walter, university librarian at DePaul University.

The lecture will take place at 6 p.m., followed by a reception; it is free and open to the public, with registration required. The Follett Lecture is generously supported by the Follett Corporation. For more information, please contact SOIS Assistant Dean Diane Foote at, 708-524-6054.

Knowledge School Penthouse Interview @ 2016 Charleston Conference

The Charleston Conference and Against the Grain do a great series of interviews with Conference Speakers. Last year I was chosen for a “Penthouse Interview.” It is available in its entirety at: David Lankes Penthouse Interview @ 2016 Charleston Conference. It is also available in shorter segments on the Charleston Conference website at: Against the Grain Penthouse Interviews: 2016 Interviews.

Lankes to Deliver 2017 RUSA Keynote

Here is the ALA Press Release (original here):

RUSA’s 2017 Annual Conference President’s Program Keynote Announced

Tue, 01/31/2017

Melissa Tracy
Marketing & Programs Specialist
Reference and User Services Association (RUSA)

CHICAGO – David Lankes will be the keynote speaker at the Reference and User Services Association’s (RUSA) President’s Program Forget the Future: Our Time is Now, to be held at ALA’s upcoming Annual Conference in Chicago. David is the Director of the University of South Carolina’s School of Library & Information Science, the 2016-17 Follett Chair at Dominican’s Graduate School of Library & Information Science and recipient of the ALA 2016 Ken Haycock Award for Promoting Librarianship.

As those we serve face growing tensions of nationalism, xenophobia, racism, extremist politics and social media 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 President’s Program will explore how reference and user services not only remain relevant, but mobilize to addresses the real challenges of today’s community. The session will also feature two expert responders from the library world, to be announced.

Further scheduling details to come soon. There is no cost for this program, but conference registration is required in order to participate in this event – Registration opens on February 2, 2017 on the ALA Annual Conference website.

About RUSA

The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association, represents librarians and library staff in the fields of reference, specialized reference, collection development, readers’ advisory and resource sharing. RUSA is the foremost organization of reference and information professionals who make the connections between people and the information sources, services and collection materials they need. Learn more about RUSA.

Expect More Orlando Workshop on Librarian Advocacy

We had a great turn out for the Expect More workshop on librarian advocacy co-organized with Collaboratory partners EveryLibrary and Tech Logic. Thanks again to all Collaboratory partners for supporting this important work.

Below is a recording of the event, slides, and audio only version.

Orlando Collaboratory Event from R. David Lankes on Vimeo.

Slides: Orlando Workshop Slides
Handouts: Orlando PowerMapping Handouts
Audio Only: