Killing Librarianship

“Killing Librarianship” Keynote New England Library Association Annual Conference, Burlington, VT.

Abstract: What might kill our profession is not ebooks, Amazon or Google, but a lack of imagination. We must envision a bright future for librarians and the communities they serve, then fight to make that vision a reality. We need a new activist librarianship focused on solving the grand challenges of our communities. Without action we will kill librarianship.


Don’t have an hour? Watch the 25 minute condensed version here.

18 Replies to “Killing Librarianship”

  1. Hello…this was a fantastic presentation and reminded me of why I became a librarian in the first place. Thank you!!

    One question though–is the screencast solely audio or is there a video of the talk as well? Perhaps it’s the conference internet connection but when I view the screencast either on this page or on your vimeo page, I only get the audio.

    Many thanks again–looking forward to reading Atlas!

    1. You should be seeing the slides (video) synced up with the audio (so no video of me, just the slides in motion). If you are having problems, go to the Vimeo page ( ) and scroll down. Below the thumbnails of the videos you’ll see “About this video” and can “Download this video.” YOu can also try the “Switch to Flash player on the Vimeo page.

  2. Hi Prof. Lankes;

    Great presentation. Brought back all of the best memories of “library boot camp” that first week at Syracuse for distance students. Thank you for bringing back all of that energy and focus that libraries are much much more than a collection of resources.

  3. Many thanks! Hoping I can continue the high from one of the best conferences I’ve been to in a while. And it started off with a bang with your keynote! Thank you again~

  4. Thank you for inspiring me in my Library role in an South Australian southern suburbs K-12 college- renewed purpose in face of budget constraints and amalgamation. You articulated what I have been searching for, the ‘big idea’ around knowledge, information, dialogue and critical thinking! It has enormous validity in this age of electronic formats and digital devices.

  5. Dave, thanks for re-igniting the flame that set me on the path to becoming a librarian! As always, the summary statement of innovation+democracy+participation=librarianship will act as a helpful guide.

  6. Posting some comments from Zachary M. Schrag;

    “Thank you for your talk in Burlington on Sunday.

    I thought you should know that there is no record of Jefferson having stated that “A democratic society depends upon an informed and educated citizenry.”


    As for, “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent,” this seems to be a variation on a statement sometimes attributed to Edmund Burke but dating to the 1920s:


    Zachary M. Schrag
    Associate Professor | Department of History and Art History | George Mason University”

Comments are closed.