New Librarianship on Kanopy

I’m thrilled to team up with Kanopy to make the New Librarianship videos from last summer’s MOOC widely available to their customers. Kanopy, from their website, “is a leading distributor of online educational videos, offering colleges, schools, hospitals, corporates and other educational institutions a comprehensive, one-stop shop for all their streaming video needs.”

Here is the press release.


To celebrate National Library Week, Kanopy is offering a complimentary subscription to R. David Lankes’ New Librarianship Master Class Collection to all Kanopy customers. Lankes is a professor and Dean’s Scholar for the New Librarianship at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies and Director of the Information Institute of Syracuse. 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 librarians and their essential role in today’s society.

Featuring 41 videos, the collection provides a foundation for practicing librarians and library science students in new librarianship. The collection seeks to generate discussion about the future direction of the profession. It is available to you courtesy of David Lankes and Kanopy in the spirit of creating a collaborative platform for librarians from around the world to debate and share in the key challenges and issues facing librarians today and into the future.
Topics include:

Overview and Introduction

• Introduction to the Series
• Introduction to New Librarianship


• The Mission of Librarians: The Importance of Worldview
• Knowledge Creation: Introduction to Knowledge
• Facilitating: Access
• Communities: Environment
• Improve Society: Values of Librarianship


• The Mission of Libraries: Expect More Than Books
• Video Mission Statements
• Why Libraries? Collective Buying Agent
• Library as Platform
• The Grand Challenges of Library and Information Science


• Moving from Sharing to Lending and Back Again
• Kill the User
• The Deficit Model

To access the video collection, simply visit your Kanopy video portal and search for “New Librarianship”. If you are not a Kanopy customer, we would be happy to provide this resource at no charge to you. Please contact Shannon Spurlock to arrange this:

Posted in New/Participatory Librarianship, Publications News, Teaching | Leave a comment

The Community is Your Collection

“The Community is Your Collection” Closing Keynote for ILEADU March Session. Springfield, IL (via pre-recorded video).

Abstract: Librarians build tools to enhance their true collection – the communities they serve.



The Community Is Your Collection from R. David Lankes on Vimeo.

Posted in 2014, New/Participatory Librarianship, Presentation | 4 Comments


Today, barring unforeseen circumstances, I’ll be going home. This doesn’t mean the transplant process is over though. For the next few weeks I’ll be making nearly daily trips back to the hospital for blood tests and, as needed, transfusions. I’ll still be very immune compromised for a few weeks (so mostly housebound). However, I’ll be able to sleep in my own bed, be with my kids, and take real showers.

Over the next 3 months I’ll be getting back my immunity, and ensuring there are no problems with the transplant itself. In 100 days I’ll have a PET scan to see if the cancer is still gone. In a year I’ll get re-vaccinated.

I’m still planning on doing very little traveling for the next year. I’m focusing on teaching and recovery for the next few months.

My doctors and nurses tell me that my passage through this phase was “excellent” and I came through it on the minimal side of agony/side effects. For this (and for them) I am very thankful. In case you are wondering what the visual effects of the transplant process are I’ve attached the result of a daily “face” journal I’ve been keeping (a picture a day) since November 23rd.

Transplant Toll from R. David Lankes on Vimeo.

Thanks to everyone for your support, thoughts, prayers, and gifts. I hope to keep thanking you for many many years.

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

The Loss of Hope

The topic of todays sermon is “hope.”

The audience for said sermon is me.

You see I woke up this morning with good news. My white blood count had climbed from 0.1 to 0.3. This is the first concrete sign that my stem cell transplant is working. My sores should start to heal, my pains subside. Good news. My wife was ecstatic, my kids did a happy dance video. I, on other hand, got depressed.

You see my life for the past two years have been full of false starts and promising milestones. I am declared seizure free, and two weeks later I am in the hospital with dangerously low platelets. This, in turn, lead to a cancer diagnosis, so into chemotherapy I went -a chemo with a nearly 90% cure rate. As July rolled around we all celebrated the end of chemo, and a seemingly clean PET Scan. Three months later after another PET scan, another biopsy showing that the lymphoma had not gone.

And so I now sit here, in the bone marrow transplant wing of the hospital, at the end of 3 months of lethal chemotherapy and stem cell collection, after 16 days of the systematic destruction of my digestive system, and there is hope? How can I hope again? How can I convince myself one more time, that THIS time, THIS treatment, THIS procedure will be the one? When does optimism simply dissolve into deliberate ignorance?

Many have called me brave, or inspirational in my fight with cancer. There is nothing brave about battling cancer. The alternative to the battle takes the decision away. Chemo or death? Easy choice. Chance to live 5 to 40 more years…yes how brave of me to chose that.

Then I think about my new life, the one we celebrate the day the stem cell are injected into my chest, February 24th. What will this life be? Should I return to my former ways? Grants, speeches, projects, advisees? Should I recommit to changing the world? This work involves more than me. It involves commitments of others, others that I have, over the past two years, let down…a missed meeting, a failed project, dropping of commitments. Can I change the world and avoid that? Is it time to become the tenured full professor who teaches his class, writes his book, and disappears into the ivory tower?

Haven’t I earned that? Don’t I deserved to be selfish and live every day just for itself, with my only effort to change the world through my wife and kids? Isn’t that enough.


Who among us is promised a full day on this earth? Who among us is free from the threats of disease, or violence, or stress or poverty? How many people do I know that every day fight to pay the bills, who may go hungry? How many of the “lucky people” I walk by without cancer are fighting their own demons of drugs, or discrimination? Retreat to the Ivory Tower?!? Talk about a privilege problem. How many people would be happy with any job? How many people would long for a roof over their head? It must have been tough going through this medical procedure….with health care!

I had cancer and it might come back, and you may lose your job, and he may have a heart attack, and she may lose her child. We cannot live life cataloging potential disasters and saying “at least that didn’t happen to me” ignoring that it happened to others. That is not living, that is hiding, and the only greater sin is believing that you have no part to play in the alleviation of other people’s pain.

You see, that’s the thing about hope – it is not a guarantee or a promise. It is a prayer, and desire, and it lies at the core of making this world a better place. We fight inequity, poverty, corruption because we hope for a better day. We teach because we hope we can impart some idea that will blossom into a better world for all. We raise children in hopes of a better future. We marry because we hope we can live up to the promise of our spouses. We work either out of the hope that our efforts will improve the world, or at least the wages of our labor can provide a better world for us.

I have made a career of calling people to service. In the classroom, on the web, on stages around the world I have tried to equip an army of the hopeful to improve society. I never made a promise to that legion that our cause was guaranteed, or easy, or simple. But I did try and give hope. That hope continues with or without my cancer, or my very life. But while I have the ability to put towards to it, I will do so with hope.

Today my white blood count went from 0.1 to 0.3. The doctors and nurses are hopeful that my levels will continue to rise to the point I can go home next week. They can’t promise it, but they can hope for it. I hope they’re right, because I have a lot of work to do.

Posted in Cancer | 22 Comments

Free copies of Lankes book now available to ALA Members, Library Trustees and Friends of Libraries

Thanks to ALA for getting out the word and all of their support:

For Immediate Release
Tue, 02/18/2014


Mary Ghikas
Senior Associate Executive Director
CHICAGO — The American Library Association has consciously and vigorously embraced the position that libraries of all types are the locus of community engagement. As the facilitator of the first round of Midwinter Conversations, R. David Lankes, professor at Syracuse iSchool, knows first-hand ALA’s commitment to community engagement and to turning outward.

Through Lankes’ generosity, ALA members and United for Libraries members are being given the opportunity to access for free Lankes’ book “Expect More: Demanding Better Libraries for Today’s Complex World.” Download this book for free or read it through Medium by going to the following webpage: Also included are brief videos explaining specific concepts and providing practical examples.

R. David Lankes is a professor and Dean’s Scholar for the New Librarianship at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies and director of the Information Institute of Syracuse. 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,” co-published by the Association of College & Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association, and MIT Press, won the 2012 ABC-CLIO/Greenwood Award for the Best Book in Library Literature.

For further information, contact Mary W. Ghikas, Senior Associate Executive Director, ALA, 312-280-2518 or

Posted in Expect More, New/Participatory Librarianship, Publications News | 1 Comment

Mundane Miracles

For the past three days I’ve lay in a bed as my blood flows from my chest into a machine that separates out my stem cells and then back into my chest. The stem cells are pumped throughout the day into a collection bag. This bag is literally my life as next week I will go into a hospital and voluntarily take a lethal dose of chemicals. Chemicals that will kill off any remaining cancer (hopefully). Chemicals so potent that they will wipe out my bone marrow. Chemicals so toxic they will also rip away at my entire digestive track leaving blisters and sores in their wake. Without that bag of stem cells to regrow my bone marrow I will die. No way to heal, no way to stop bleeding, no way to feed my body the oxygen it needs to live.

I was marveling at this sci-fi like procedure when I saw that bag of stem cells (i.e., my life) was put into a Ziploc bag and transported to a lab in an Igloo cooler. That’s right, the inventory of crucial pieces of equipment to keep me alive include the same equipment used to safe guard cheese sandwiches, and transport six-packs of beer to the beach.

Now I’ve been trying to write up some inspiring sermon-esque post on this transplant process. I’ve tried to figure out soaring rhetoric on faith, medicine, science, and such. After all, this is a big deal. An organ transplant…poisons…epic drama kind of stuff. But then I keep coming back to the Igloo cooler and the Ziploc bag. When you think about it, this whole thing is pretty absurd.

I mean I had to sign a consent form that said:

  1. I can pull out of this procedure at any time, and
  2. If I pull out of this procedure I will face “certain death.”

I actually signed a document that had the phrase certain death in it. I mean, seriously?! Who sits through a lethal dose of chemo and says “you know what? I’m good.”

“But sir, if you leave now you will face CERTAIN DEATH!”

“Yeah, I’m OK with that, I got Tylenol at home.”

And seriously, an Igloo cooler? Who will be the first lab tech to mistake that for their lunch. “Ah, man? Stem cells again?”

I mean when I get a PET scan they give me a shot from a syringe encased in friken titanium. When I get a chest X-Ray, they wheel an armature with a full color display into my room – an X-Ray that can only take black and white images mind you. I’ve had my brain scanned with magnetic beams, and my gut outlined with protons and gamma rays…but the fluid that will save me from CERTAIN DEATH? Igloo and Ziploc.

How insane is this? I’m sitting all day as my blood is processed by a set piece from the original Star Trek series watching the Olympics where the Curling team uses high tech granite pucks with embedded hand sensors. Meanwhile, my stem cells will be injected into an IV line over the course of about 15 minutes…that’s the transplant. No lasers. No high-tech imaging device. Just a doctor and the same medical instrument that Sherlock Holmes used to shoot up over a century ago. How do they prepare the stem cells for transplant? They thaw them out in a warm water bath. Water! I hope they at least play some dramatic music on a Zune (yes I went there Microsoft).

It gets more absurd still. A year after I have this transplant, I have to go back to the hospital to get my childhood vaccinations. In a year I will have to stare down the Jenny McCarthys of the world on the risks of diphtheria and MMR vaccination. After this miracle of science transplant my biggest fear is polio…POLIO!! The way this is going I’ll probably end up sitting in the well kid waiting room of my kid’s pediatrician working on a puzzle out of a 1973 issue of Highlights magazine.

So, is there some lesson in this; some larger take away? I suppose it would be this: when the extraordinary becomes the mundane, it is no less important. Those who deliver the essential, but expected, are doing something important. When my doctor delivers my stem cell in a routine infusion from an Igloo cooler, she will still be saving my life. When an optometrist fits you with optical technology (glasses) that has been around for centuries, you still can see. The world around is filled with the extraordinary that we have become so used to as to make it seem mundane…but it is spectacular.

I pray you don’t have to fight cancer to see the extraordinary. Sure, we see it in toys and gadgets every day. We have become enamored with iPhones and smart watches and marvel at how fast/small/stylish they are. But try and recognize how incredible the everyday is. Next time you wash your hands, remember that indoor plumbing has saved more lives than any miracle drug.

See the spectacular every day in the love of friends and family. When you wish your son would just be quiet, remember the wonder and thrill of his first word. Make the next peck on your wife’s cheek rekindle the passion of your first kiss. And laugh – every day – laugh. The world we live in is a wondrous mundane miracle. Rejoice in it.

Posted in Cancer | 22 Comments

Cancer Category/Post

I’ve created a new WordPress category for my cancer related posts. I’ve also added a sub-menu for the cancer posts under the “About R. David Lankes” menu.

Posted in Biography, Cancer | 1 Comment