Changing Times: Inspiring Libraries


The British Columbia Libraries put on an incredible event highlighting innovation in libraries and challenging librarians, politicians, administrators, and citizens to think different about libraries and impact. They have now put online videos from the summit and they are well worth the time:


The one I think you should watch immediately is Beth Davies’ Library Innovation and the Community. It is simply full of brilliant examples of facilitation and co-owning services with the community:

Also for my LIS Education colleagues there is a great set of ideas for curriculum change towards the end of Luanne Freund’s talk. And Gino Bondi makes participatory learning real.

This was an amazing event and I think it well worth your time to check out.

Travel and News for the Upcoming Year

This year I will need to stay off the road again this spring to take care of my wife as she has surgery on her other foot (the good news here is that she only has two feet so this should do it). That said if you are looking for a speaker via the Internet (Skype, Adobe Connect, FaceTime, iChat) I’m your man (and at greatly reduced honoraria). I appreciate your patience.

Here is my confirmed speaking for the Summer and Fall.


  • ALSC Division Leadership Session


  • The 4th Annual Connecticut Library Leadership Institute (


  • Ticer International Summer School 2012 (
  • Master Class for de Library School in Amsterdam (


  • AASL 2012 Fall Forum (
  • Internet Librarian International Keynote (


  • LYRASIS eGathering 2012 (
  • Ohio Library Council

Expect More: The Book

Announcing (and seeking help on) my next book, Expect More: Demanding Better Libraries For Today’s Complex World. At the beginning of the year I said my focus for the year would be on expecting more. That’s what this book is all about. Taking what we know works for great libraries (a commitment to learning, a focus beyond functions, co-owning the library with the community) and explaining that to non-librarians.
While I wrote this book to be read by people outside of the profession, the reason I wrote it was to help fantastic librarians make their case to those who oversee the library. I feel we need to do a better job advocating the power of libraries to our communities, and bringing those communities into the conversation of our future.

First an overview, then the details, then the request.

An Overview

Here’s the blurb for the book:

Libraries have existed for millennia, but today many question their necessity. In an ever more digital and connected world, do we still need places of books in our towns, colleges, or schools? If libraries aren’t about books, what are they about?

In Expect More, David Lankes, winner of the 2012 ABC-CLIO/Greenwood Award for the Best Book in Library Literature, walks you through what to expect out of your library. Lankes argues that, to thrive, communities need libraries that go beyond bricks and mortar, and beyond books and literature. We need to expect more out of our libraries. They should be places of learning and advocates for our communities in terms of privacy, intellectual property, and economic development.

Expect More is a rallying call to communities to raise the bar, and their expectations, for great libraries.

Unlike my Atlas of New Librarianship this one is written to be short (about 130 pages) and small (6×9 paperback) emphasizing examples and geared towards the general reader. It is based on conversations I have with public library boards, provosts, school administrators, and the general public.

The Details

The manuscript is done and is just about to go into final edits. I’m hoping to have the book out early summer in time for ALA.

I will be publishing this one as both a paperback and an ebook (and by popular request, with an index). I’m also looking for a low price point.

The Request

I’ve decided to self-publish the book. I have had a great relationship with great publishers in the past, but I thought it was time to put my money where my mouth was in terms of self-creation and exploring the realities of libraries becoming publishers. Right now my plans are to use CreateSpace for the print version, and an ePub solution for the ebook version. I’m interested if folks have gone this route and have any advice.

Innovation, thought leaders and technology—ALA Annual Conference offers inspiring range of options

Ala Anaheim2012 Color Transforming 14
For Immediate Release
Mon, 04/23/2012 – 10:04

Contact: Amy R McGuigan
Conference Services (cs)

CHICAGO — Innovation, thought leaders and technology are keys to transformation, and the 2012 ALA Annual Conference delivers on all those fronts. Energizing, transformative conversations, programs, pre conferences, discussion groups and high-profile speakers are lined up to spark creativity and foster transformative ideas.

Full listings of related events, as well as details about the highlights below, are on the ALA Annual Conference website, where you’ll find the Preliminary Program and other information.

Thought leaders appearing at Annual Conference include ground-breaking thinkers and writers such as Rebecca MacKinnon, David Weinberger, David Lankes, Dan Ariely, Duane Bray, John Jantsch, three amazing young adults–William Kamkwamba, Talia Leman, and Gaby Rodriguez–and many more.

Numerous programs and sessions such as “Cutting-Edge Technology Services,” (Washington Office) and “Top Tech Trends” (LITA) will inform and inspire attendees. In “Cutting-Edge Technology Services,” panelists will share information on innovative services–from QR codes and participatory learning platforms to online and mobile applications–and lessons learned, to help you replicate successful projects. “Top Tech Trends”–always a popular program–features LITA’s ongoing roundtable discussion about trends and advances in library technology by a panel of LITA technology experts describing changes and advances in technology and how the library world can take advantage of these trends.

In the exhibits hall, the Tech Pavilion groups related exhibitors, so attendees can more quickly identify who they need to spend time with and learn about what one librarian described last year as a “panorama of what’s new and exciting in the information industry,” helped by the “awesome vendors.”

Preconferences in the areas of innovation and technology include Mental Model Busting (PLA); Libraries in the Cloud (AASL); Web Content Strategy for Libraries (LITA); Source Code: Digital Youth Participation (YALSA); Building Digital Collections Using Islandora (LITA); Creating Library Linked Data: What Catalogers and Coders Can Build (LITA); and Zines in Libraries (ALA).

Targeted opportunities for conversation include the Library Boing Boing group, getting together to work on what’s cool in the future of libraries and the Networking Uncommons. And ideal for networking and good cheer over lively conversation and excellent drinks is the LITA Happy Hour.

If you need to make the case for attending ALA Annual Conference, these resources may help you. And you can hear more of what your colleagues say–comments like, “It’s the place for new technologies and innovative and creative ideas,” and, “Amazing ideas are born when librarians get together.”

Find out about the many other ALA Annual Conference & Exhibits highlights as they’re added–speakers, events, networking opportunities, and more. And for general information about the meeting in Anaheim, Calif., June 21-26, 2012, visit us at Get the best discount with Early Bird Registration, open until midnight, Sunday, May 13, 2012.

ALA Annual Conference–Transforming Our Libraries, Ourselves.

Kristin Fontichiaro and R. David Lankes join Henry Jenkins as AASL 2012 Fall Forum facilitators

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CHICAGO – The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) has added Kristin Fontichiaro and R. David Lankes to the roster of facilitators for AASL’s 2012 Fall Forum, “Transliteracy and the School Library Program.” Fontichiaro and Lankes will join media studies scholar, Henry Jenkins, in providing a comprehensive overview of transliteracy and its importance in education during AASL’s national institute taking place Oct. 12-13, 2012, in Greenville, S.C. More information on Fall Forum can be found at
Fontichiaro will work with Fall Forum attendees to deconstruct the concept of transliteracy into smaller, more manageable facets. She will focus on the inquiry and rigor of assignments and how to collaboratively work with teachers to empower students with transliteracy skills. With Fontichiaro’s guidance, attendees will build a definition of transliteracy and a supporting vocabulary to take back to schools and use to engage their educational colleagues in the process.

Lankes’ portion of the institute will further elaborate on the collaborative nature of transliteracy. He will advise attendees on how to advocate for and highlight the relevance of school librarians in environment of ever-changing educational priorities. He will guide attendees through building community engagement and cultivating school boards.

Kristin Fontichiaro is a clinical assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Information, where she coordinates the school library media program. She also co-teaches a teaching with technology course in the University of Michigan school of education. Her most recent edited volumes are “Navigating the Information Tsunami: Engaging Research Projects that Meet the Common Core State Standards, K-5 and Growing Schools: Librarians as Professional Developers.”

Fontichiaro was named an Emerging Leader by the American Library Association, a distinguished alumna by the Wayne State University library and information science program and a 2012 Library Journal Mover and Shaker. She blogs at and writes the “Nudging Toward Inquiry” column for School Library Monthly.

R. David Lankes is a professor and Dean’s Scholar for the New Librarianship at Syracuse University’s school of information studies, director of the library science program for the school and director of the Information Institute of Syracuse. Lankes has always been interested in combining theory and practice to create active research projects that make a difference. His more recent work involves how participatory concepts can reshape libraries and credibility. His book, “The Atlas of New Librarianship,” won the 2012 ABC-CLIO/Greenwood Award for the Best Book in Library Literature.

Lankes is a passionate advocate for libraries and their essential role in today’s society. He also seeks to understand how information approaches and technologies can be used to transform industries. In this capacity he has served on advisory boards and study teams in the fields of libraries, telecommunications, education and transportation including at the National Academies.

The AASL Fall Forum is a multi-day national institute held during non-AASL national conference years. A more intimate event, the institute focuses on one topic of importance to the profession. Transliteracy and the School Library Program will be held Oct. 12-13, 2012, in Greenville, S.C., and via satellite sites in Western Pennsylvania, Eastern Pennsylvania, North Texas and the California Bay Area. More information on programming, sites and registration can be found at

The American Association of School Librarians,, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), promotes the improvement and extension of library services in elementary and secondary schools as a means of strengthening the total education program. Its mission is to advocate excellence, facilitate change and develop leaders in the school library field.

Why I’m going to Harvard to argue that libraries are obsolete and why you should help me do it

You may have seen the announcement that I’m part of a debate at Harvard on the proposition that libraries are obsolete. The twist is (at least it was for me) is that I’m arguing for the proposition – that is that libraries are obsolete.

So why the hell am I doing it? Do I really think that libraries are obsolete? What’s more why should you help me?

First I do not believe that libraries are obsolete. I do, however, believe that it is very worth debating that point. Part of that is my scholarly training. I believe in the Socratic method where you assume opposing sides of an argument (even, as in this case, you don’t agree with the stance) and then argue to the truth. But there is a much more compelling reason I took this on.

We must inhabit the arguments of our detractors if we are to refute them. More than that, to be true to our professional ethos, we must enter this debate with intellectual honesty. If we are here to support conversations, we must support those we agree with and those with which we disagree. Also, if we are to remain relevant we must enter into conversations with the community as whole – whether they agree with us or not.

So that’s why I need your help. What arguments have you encountered against libraries. Why do folks want to eliminate funding, or your library altogether? I promise if you provide them, I’ll make a post (or twelve) doing my best to counter them after my Harvard debate.

Please use the comments below or email me

And in two weeks or so if you see a video of me arguing libraries are obsolete, realize I am doing it out of love.

The Future is Now! Creatively Reaching and Teaching in Academic Libraries

Academic Librarians 2012
The Future is Now! Creatively Reaching and Teaching in Academic Libraries

June 12 & 13, 2012, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY

Value. Learning. Technology. Librarianship.  As with all libraries and organizations, we must constantly demonstrate our value to our stakeholders amidst the changes brought on us at an increasing rate by the technology that we and our students use.  Technology shapes our interactions with others, our learning techniques and styles, and our pedagogy; it can affect the way our value is perceived. This year’s conference explores value, community, collaboration, social awareness, and applications that enhance learning. How do we demonstrate the value of the academic library in this changing information environment? How do we reach and teach our students? How is information literacy being transformed? Is it possible to game to learn or learn to game? What is the new librarianship? We invite you to explore these issues with us!

Academic Librarians 2012 is brought to you by the NY 3Rs Association and the Academic and Special Libraries Section of the New York Library Association; in cooperation with the New York State Higher Education Initiative.

Roy Tennant, a Senior Program Officer for OCLC Research. The Once and Future Academic Library. The academic library has for many years been considered the very heart of the university. Today that centrality is challenged by a new set of digital players and the rapidly changing needs of the organizations we serve. What are the challenges and opportunities we face today in remaining the heart of the university? How are some libraries reconfiguring their spaces, their services, and their staff to better serve the needs of the 21st century university?

Dr. David Lankes, Associate Professor, Syracuse University. The Bad, The Good, and The Great. Bad libraries build collections; good libraries build services (after all a collection is only one type of service); great libraries build communities. In a time of great change and challenges to the very model of higher education, libraries must move beyond a focus on collections to a focus on communities. As new models of instruction (flipped classrooms, inquiry based instruction, etc.) and research emerge (interdisciplinary, large scale, collaborative, data driven), libraries find themselves well positioned – but only if they see their strongest assets as the librarians, not the materials librarians have organized. This talk will look to a new librarianship that moves past artifacts to knowledge and sets a new path.

Demonstrating Value and Building Relationships.

Lisa Hinchliffe, Associate Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). On Providing and Documenting Value: Dual Imperatives for Academic Libraries. Academic librarians face a multitude of challenges in responding to user needs as well as economic, technological, and accountability demands. The dual imperatives of providing value to our users and then documenting that value can serve as touchstones we embrace today’s possibilities and create tomorrow’s realities.
Dr. Nancy Fried Foster, Anthropologist, Director of Anthropological Research, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester. Finding Information: A Relationship Thing. In studies of how undergraduates use the libraries at the University of Rochester (UR), we have come to see the central importance of relationships among students, their instructors, their friends and relatives, and librarians and other university staff. This talk will give a brief overview of the use of ethnographic methods at the UR libraries. It will then review results of recent projects on how students “learn the ropes” and what faculty expect of them, emphasizing changing relationships and the development of academic interests and competence.

21st Century Literacies.

Camille Andrews, Learning Technologies and Assessment Librarian, Cornell University. Integrating 21st Century Literacies into the Curriculum. Information literacy, digital literacy, media literacy, visual literacy-what does it all mean and how do they relate? Camille will examine the intersection of current theories of information and other literacies and emerging work in digital media and learning and present some current and possible examples of integration of these 21st century literacies into the curriculum and beyond.
Trudi Jacobson, Distinguished Librarian and Head of the Information Literacy Department at the University Libraries, University at Albany. How Metaliteracy Changed My Life, My Teaching, and My Students’ Experiences. It has never been easy to attempt to teach students core information literacy competencies, but in the past there seemed to be a fairly stable information environment to grapple with. Today’s information world is amorphous and changing at the speed of light. How do we even keep up, let alone teach students? Might we rely on our students themselves to help bridge the gap? Hear how a teaching method, changing technology, and a revised conception of what constitutes information literacy came together to address the evolving needs of today’s students.
Kaila Bussert, Visual Resources Outreach Librarian, Olin & Uris Libraries, Cornell University; co-author of ACRL’s Visual Literacy Standards. Visual Literacy in Higher Education: New Standards for 21st Century Learners. Visual literacy is essential for 21st century learners. While today’s college students live in a visually-rich, screen-based world, they are not necessarily prepared to critically engage and communicate with images and visual media in their academic work. To provide guidance for librarians and educators, ACRL developed Visual Literacy Competency Standards for a higher education and interdisciplinary environment. This presentation will describe the new standards, cover the connections between information and visual literacies, and provide examples of ways that the standards can be implemented in library instruction.

Gaming to Learn.

Chris Leeder, Doctoral Candidate in the School of Information at the University of Michigan. Game-based learning for information literacy. Game-based learning has been the subject of much research, however its application to learning information literacy skills has been barely addressed. The BiblioBouts project explores this possibility through an online information literacy game that engages students in learning research and evaluation skills by competing against their peers to earn points and badges to win the game, while at the same time participating in a learning community through collaborative rating and peer review of the quality of sources. BiblioBouts enlists social gaming to teach information literacy skills to undergraduates while making learning relevant, motivating and fun.
John Lester, Chief Learning Officer at ReactionGrid. Intersections of the Future: Gaming Technology, Virtual Worlds and the Web. John will share his experiences using gaming technology and virtual world platforms to augment education.  He will discuss future trends in specific gaming technologies such as Unity3d along with his work with ReactionGrid on web and mobile-based virtual world platforms. John will also explain common pitfalls when exploring virtual world technologies and highlight the unique affordances of virtual worlds when they are interwoven with existing social media and web-based educational content.
Dr. Jeremy N. Friedberg, Partner & Lead Developer, Spongelab Interactive. Educating through simulations, game-based learning and the gamification of education. Over the past 40 years we’ve seen the enormous potential game-based learning offers  in professional communities from pilots to surgeons – specifically the ability to teach and assess critical thinking and creativity.  But making them work in classrooms in the main-stream education system is a huge challenge.  Aside from issues with hardware, network security, curriculum, and available time, the effective use of these tools is bound by traditional assessment techniques and the appropriate motivation and rewards to inspire learners.  This talk will focus on the design challenges of building educational games, the gamification of simulation, rewards and drivers, and benefits of game-based learning.  We’ll also look at the Spongelab Platform as an example of community-driven design and collaborative learning approaches.
Syracuse University’s iSchool will host a late afternoon reception in Hinds Hall on  June 12th.  Refreshments and a Tech Sandbox will be available!

Registration packets will also be available for those of you not staying in the dorms.

Academic Librarians 2012 is being held consecutively with the New York State Higher Education Initiative (NYSHEI) annual meeting, In with the New. The first 30 people to register and attend the free NYSHEI annual meeting will receive a $20 rebate off the price of the Academic Librarians 2012 conference! Two Conferences, One Trip!
Rates (new, lower rates for this conference!):

Early Bird Registration (now through April 15):    $80   NYLA, NY3Rs,  or NYSHEI members*?Regular Registration  (April 16 and after):            $100  NYLA, NY 3Rs, or NYSHEI members*?Non-Members Rates:                                            $125?MLS/MLIS Students:                                              $25

*Most libraries in New York State are members of a NY 3Rs Council, either directly or through their library system. Your library need only be a member of one of the Councils for you to qualify for member rates. Contact any of the conference planners listed below or visit if you have any questions. To see if your library belongs to NYSHEI, visit

Visit (South Central Regional Library Council [NY 3Rs] is handling this year’s registration.)

Registration Deadline:  June 1, 2012 4:00 p.m.Website:
Twitter  @ ALConf2012
The Sheraton Inn has reserved a block of rooms at the rate of $125+ tax  per room/single or $135/double.  (Be sure to bring your tax-exempt form if this applies to you.) To register with the Sheraton, call 315-475-3000 or 800-395-2105 and reference “Academic Libraries 2012.”  Deadline for room reservations at this rate: May 13th.
Dorm Rooms: Dorm rooms are available at a cost of $48.75 for Tuesday night June 12th (price includes linens).

If you will be reserving a dorm room, please pay when you complete the conference registration form.  If you will be staying at the Sheraton, you will pay separately for the hotel room.

NOTE: All of the conference activities except for the reception and the tech sandbox on the 12th will be taking place in the Schine Student Center, which is a short walk from the iSchool.

Syracuse is easy to reach and beautiful in June!  The American Automobile Association of Western & Central New York features Syracuse in its Member Connection Spring 2012 issue. See the digital version at Syracuse can be reached by plane, train, bus, or car.

$10 per day for those staying on the dorms or commuting to campus; the Sheraton Inn charges $13 per night– $25 up front and they refund $15 upon checkout.

Thanks to our generous sponsors: EBSCO, Busca, EBL–Ebook Library, LYRASIS, NYLA’s Academic & Special Libraries Section, NY 3Rs Association, Inc.,  Spongelab, WALDO, and the Syracuse University’s iSchool! It is through their generous donations that we could reduce the cost of this year’s conference.
If you are interested in being a sponsor, it is not too late–please contact Mary-Carol Lindbloom @ (
Need more information? Contact any members of the planning team:  Mary-Carol Lindbloom, Debby Emerson (, Regan Brumagen (,  Marcy Strong (, or Justin Kani (

Conversations on transforming libraries are highlights of ALA 2012 Midwinter Meeting

CHICAGO – Two afternoons of deep conversation about the evolving needs of our communities and how we can transform libraries and librarianship to meet their challenges will take place at the ALA 2012 Midwinter Meeting. Hosted by ALA President Molly Raphael, the conversations will be a highlight of the Meeting’s multiple themes of conversation, empowering voices and transforming libraries.

“Empowering Voices, Transforming Communities” features renowned Syracuse iSchool professor David Lankes leading small groups to address questions about transforming our communities and the profession. Facilitators from the graphic recording company, Sunni Brown, will help create visual images of the plenary conversations that conclude each afternoon. The Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012, session focuses on “Understanding Your Communities.” The Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012, session focuses on “Transforming Librarianship.” Both run from 1 -3 p.m. at the Dallas Convention Center, Room DCC-A1. Sessions are open to all Midwinter Meeting attendees; watch for sign-up information. Attendees will also receive a coupon for 5 percent off the price of David Lankes’ galvanizing “Atlas of New Librarianship” (ACRL/MIT Press, 2011) at the ALA Conference Store.

Lankes’ current focus is on reconceptualizing the library field through the lens of “New Librarianship.” He is a professor in Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies, director of the library science program for the school and director of the Information Institute of Syracuse.

Picking up and continuing the conversation as the featured speaker in President Raphael’s President’s Program is Rich Harwood, described as “one of the great thinkers in American public life.” Harwood has become a leading national authority on improving America’s communities, raising standards of political conduct and re-engaging citizens on today’s most complex and controversial public issues. He is the president and founder of The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation. The President’s Program is 3:30-5:30 p.m. on Sunday in the DCC Theater.

These Empowering Voices events are part of a range of programming under the Midwinter focus “The conversation starts here …” and begin with Friday’s Advocacy Institute Workshop, “Mobilizing Community Support for Your Library,” on Friday, Jan. 20, 2012 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Omni Hotel Dallas. For more information please visit the Advocacy Events page on the ALA website.

“Empowering Voices, Transforming Communities” is sponsored by ALA President Molly Raphael and her presidential committee, as well as the ALA Public Programs Office and the ALA member initiative group Libraries Fostering Civic Engagement. Special thanks to the ALA Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), co-publisher, with MIT Press, of “The Atlas of New Librarianship” by R. David Lankes.

ALA 2012 Midwinter Meeting is in Dallas, January 20-24. We encourage you to register now, so you don’t miss out on this chance to join the conversation as you enrich your career, your library, and your community. Early bird registration ends Dec. 2, 2011.