Lankes Named First Fellow by ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy

The American Library Association’s Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) named R. David Lankes a fellow through December 2008. Lankes will lead a collaborative research project with OITP on the evolving landscape of information technology and its implications for the education of the next generation of library and information science (LIS) professionals.

“Professor Lankes is the ideal candidate to serve as the first OITP Fellow,” says Alan Inouye, OITP director. “He is a leading LIS researcher as well as someone with ties to, knowledge of, and interests in the larger library community. Professor Lankes has the ability to cultivate stronger ties–for mutual benefit–between library practitioners and institutions and the LIS research community, and he’s also a future-oriented thinker.”

Lankes’ primary work will be to enhance the office’s outreach to the scholarly and educational library and information science communities. While he will be working with the office on a wide range of issues, his primary focus will be on further developing the concept of participatory librarianship first set out in the OITP technology brief Participatory Networks: The Library as Conversation.

“Libraries are in a great position to improve their services, and their positions with their communities,” says Lankes, associate professor at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies and director of its Information Institute of Syracuse. “OITP is really a think tank within ALA, and it is important that it teams with scholars as much as possible. I’m very happy to be part of that process. It is vital to the entire library and information science community that practitioners and scholars engage in a continuous conversation on how best to serve patrons.”

Lankes’ work on participatory librarianship has included presentations both domestically as well as in Australia, Italy, and Sweden. More information on participatory librarianship can be found at and on Lankes at

OITP advances ALA’s public policy activities by helping secure information technology policies that support and encourage efforts of libraries to ensure access to electronic information resources as a means of upholding the public’s right to a free and open information society. It works to ensure a library voice in information policy debates and to promote full and equitable intellectual participation by the public. It does this by:

  • Conducting research and analysis aimed at understanding the implications of information technology and policies for libraries and library users,
  • Educating the ALA community about the implications of information policy, law, and regulation for libraries and library users,
  • Advocating ALA’s information policy interests in non-legislative government policy forums, and
  • Engaging in strategic outlook to anticipate technological change, particularly as it presents policy challenges to libraries and library users.

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