Percoset and Puppies

I spent the evening of my 19th wedding anniversary either in pain or cuddled up to my dog half stoned on Percoset while my wife looked on helpless as I ached. I tell you this because every time I post something about my treatment, or my progress through lymphoma, my Facebook page is met by comments about being brave or being in inspiring. I am neither. I am obedient, desperate to live, and have little choice but to bear the aches, shivers, tiredness, insomnia, constipation, hairlessness, muscle spasms, nausea, and randomness of chemo other than to die.

There is nothing noble about cancer. There is nothing ennobling about cancer. I think people seek to create some aura of sacrifice around it because unlike some diseases, it is random, and impossible to blame on the victim’s behavior. It is also scary, and we all hope that if we come down with cancer, we will act nobly.

Cancer does not make me noble. It makes me afraid and sick. It makes me every day make promises of redemption to my family, friends, and co-workers. “Next year, we’ll do our anniversary in Hawaii,” “next birthday we’ll have a big party,” “next time I teach I’ll pay more attention.” My life has increasingly become a promissory note; one conditioned upon survival.

In the past I wrote about using cancer not as an excuse, but as a motivation to engage, and live. What I know now is that excuse must be tempered by the realities of toxic chemicals and a race to kill the cancer before the treatment kills me. I have no doubt that I will live, and that I will make that trip to Hawaii, and that I will pay more attention, but that will not be the automatic result of cancer, or some ennobling trauma. That will be a choice, and that will be hard work.

I have been blessed in my career to come to a point where people I highly respect seek my advice. I have, over these months talked, and schemed, and commiserated with people in their own fights. They don’t fight out-of-control cell growth, or the side effects of drugs, but their own circumstances. A leader overrun by bureaucracy. A new employee discovering a work environment not living up to promises. A dear friend making decisions between jobs and family. A director faced with a staff unwilling to see the future. None of these are ennobling. None of these trials get the sympathy and unconditional sightings of bravery of a cancer diagnosis. Yet I have seen in all of these situations an opportunities to be noble, and brave.

Too often we look at the roles we choose in our work life as either necessities or reduce them to matters of salary. We forget that each activity we engage in, by choice, or by fate, is an opportunity to better ourselves, and be better than we thought we could be. Every encounter with out dated thinking or ignorance is an invitation to educate, not just walk away. Every bad situation is a call to either improve it, or leave it, and both options can be legitimate.

We too often reserve concepts of nobility for the few and the extraordinary. Yet there is nobility in the everyday, and in every task we take on. There is nobility in bureaucracy, there is nobility in the minimum wage, there is nobility in the entry level, and the home, and in play. It comes not from suffering, but in our ability to serve, and the cashing in of our IOU’s…sometimes waiting for a capabilities to return to do so.

Stop calling me brave. Come back in a year and see if my actions inspire, or ennoble. Until then, I will take your prayers and your food, and your well wishes. But mostly what I want is your stories of bravery. It is from those that I draw my strength.

Sale by Channel and Format

In Expect More I talk about eBooks and the dilemma not over the new format for libraries, but the new business model. Libraries have moved from owning collections, to renting them in digital resources (databases, ebooks, etc.). With ebooks in particular, there is huge demand amount community members, but libraries are struggling to meet the demand with tight budgets. More importantly, eBook models that license materials from publishers, rather than outright selling them, endangers the libraries mission to build shared collections for the good of the community. This is why I chose Smashwords as my preferred retailer of the book. You can buy the book in multiple formats, and libraries own it outright when they buy it.

In case you are wondering, here is the breakdown in formats and channels after a week and a half.

First the majority of books sold are print:

And here are the venues where folks bought the book:
Now the nook version just went on sale, so these proportions may change.

Expect More and Amazon Updates

Just a quick note to let folks know what is happening with Expect More on Amazon. The first change is that you can now use “Look Inside” to preview the print book:

Screen Shot 2012-06-26 At 6.29.24 Am

The second piece of news is that the Kindle version of the new book is available directly from the Kindle store on your device. However, it apparently takes a little time for the Amazon folks to link the print and Kindle edition. So you have to search for the Kindle version separately for now.
Screen Shot 2012-06-26 At 6.33.51 Am
Now, that said, my preference would be that you buy the book via Smashwords. It is DRM free, supports some competition in the ebook market, and frankly is more author friendly for royalties. Still, my overriding preference is that you read the book and share it throughout the community, so it is all good.

Hopefully more eBook stores will be coming online soon.

First Expect More Review

The first review of Expect More is in by Heather Braum on GoodReads:

This was a concise version of the ideas I found in Lankes’ Atlas of New Librarianship. It a book that all librarians who are too busy to read the entire Atlas need to read. Library boards need to read it. Superintendents, principals, other administrators, teachers, parents, need to read it. Provosts, deans, faculty, and students need to read it. Community members, mayors, city councils, county decisionmakers need to read it. Library school faculty need to read it. Library consultants and continuing ed and support staff need to read it. And anyone involved in strategic planning in libraries need to read it.

This book will provide a new way to look at how the library fits into the community more than ever before and speaks to many ways to expect more out of your library and why you should.

It’s short, simple, and to the point, yet has many practical examples. Coming from the innovative Kansas library community, myself, I see many of our libraries implementing the ideas found in this book, but they can do even more!

Contact R. David Lankes

R. David Lankes
Professor, School of Information Studies
Director, Information Institute of Syracuse
Syracuse University
213 Hinds Hall
Syracuse, New York 13244

Phone: (315)443-3640
Fax: (315)443-5448

E-Mail: [email protected]

Short Biography

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. Past projects include the ERIC Clearinghouse on Information and Technology, the Gateway to Education Materials, AskERIC and the Virtual Reference Desk. Lankes’ more recent work involves how participatory concepts can reshape libraries and credibility.

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. He has been a visiting fellow at the National Library of Canada, the Harvard School of Education, and the first fellow of ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy. His book, The Atlas of New Librarianship won the 2012 ABC-CLIO/Greenwood Award for the Best Book in Library Literature.