Stand for Those We Miss and Love

When my father died there were no testimonials at the funeral service. Aside from a few remarks of the priest, no one stood and spoke for my father. When I asked the priest about this later, he pointed out that there would be plenty of opportunity to talk about my dad at the wake and in the weeks to come, but the service was a time to think about God’s words. It is an argument that I understand, but it I think that’s God’s words could only be enhanced by the memories of a man that we knew and loved.

So today I stand up for JoAnn Gunter. I never met JoAnn, but came to know her through her amazing daughter Buffy Hamilton. With Buffy as our intermediary JoAnna and I cheered each other on through our trials with cancer. This weekend JoAnn died of pancreatic cancer.

Today I stand for Joanne Silverstein, my dearest friend and closest colleague who died of breast cancer. I stand for Jeffry Katzer, a mentor through my Ph.D. program who died of prostate cancer. I stand for Jill Abdo, mother to my son’s best friend who succumbed to colon cancer. I stand for Grandmother Anne Goodman who died of colon cancer, and my Grandmother Dottie who died of leukemia.

I stand as someone who has fought with cancer and as someone who will remember you. Someone who says your life was important. I stand to remind those who remain that life can be hard. I stand to remind everyone that cancer takes and takes and takes. I stand to remind everyone that no matter how much we are loved, or how much good we seek to do, we all can be taken too soon.

Yet I also stand to remind all of us to be brave. That while darkness has taken these beautiful people, it is because of the light they added to our lives that we remember them. To remind all of us that to mourn is natural, but so is celebration. Take time today to stand and celebrate those in your life who you have lost, who you will miss, those who made your life better. Stand today; stand still if just for a moment, and celebrate those people in your life who are gone, but remain a part of you.

Posted in Cancer | 15 Comments

IMLS Grant Funding Program to Boost Library Workers’ Online Teaching Skills

A press release on a new IMLS grant we’re doing with the fantastic folks at South Central Regional Library Council

Original story at

IMLS Grant Funding Program to Boost Library Workers’ Online Teaching Skills

By: Diane Stirling
(315) 443-8975

3logosThe School of Information Studies (iSchool), as a partner with the South Central Regional Library Council of Ithaca and The 3Rs Association, Inc., will be developing a program to strengthen the teaching and learning skills of library workers who provide outreach education using online learning environments.

A grant of $336,665 has just been awarded to support the three-year project by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) via its Laura Bush 21st Century Librarians Program. The monies will enable development of a program to guide transfer of in-person teaching skills and pedagogy to the online environment; help librarian-trainers evaluate and gain experience with various online delivery platforms; and teach library workers how people learn effectively in online education situations.

Project principal investigator is Mary-Carol Lindbloom, executive director of the South Central Regional Library Council. She conceived the skill-building program and invited the iSchool to participate. iSchool Professor R. David Lankes is Syracuse University’s liaison to the project. He will provide input into course development and delivery and oversee graduate assistant and hourly students who will be hired to help implement the program. iSchool faculty members Marilyn Plavovos Arnone and Jill Hurst-Wahl, plus WISE distance-education coordinator Alison Miller, also will help formulate program content.

The group plans to develop “train the trainer” materials for 120 librarians who are responsible for providing continuing education through their libraries. They also will develop an online learning segment, to deliver to 240 librarians from throughout New York State that illustrates best practices to support online learning.

Finding What Works

As more teaching changes from in-person classrooms to online platforms, there is a need for clear guidelines on what works and what doesn’t in terms of the pedagogy, technologies, and devices used in the online environment, according to Professor Lankes. “What’s happening is that people are saying, ‘I’ve taught this in person for 10 years; I’ll teach it online.’ Yet, it’s not like ‘shazam’, and you can teach it online. What we’ve learned at Syracuse since we began doing online education in 1993 is that there is no ‘shazam’ to this; there is a lot to think about when you make the transition to online teaching and learning. There are a lot of good instructors who do very interactive things when everyone’s seated around the table. The question then is, how do you do something like that in the online environment?”

Transferring Skills

Professor Arnone said that librarians are experiencing situations where the outreach and education they do increasingly involves online elements. The program will help develop skills for online teaching and unique aspects of learning via an online environment. The goal is to boost presentation and technology skills which library workers can use to conduct effective online sessions. “This is about being able to teach effectively and transfer what you know into an online environment, and understanding the differences in online learning, since not everyone likes it,” Arnone noted.

Those who teach online need to understand how to gain attention, make content relevant and interesting, and build learners’ confidence, while also setting clear expectations for the experience, she added. In addition to addressing those aspects, workers will learn how to offer “multiple means of representation–opportunities to present information in ways that learners can feel good about–so it’s coming to them in the way that they prefer. Addressing disability issues and accessibility for online learners, and the adjustments that can be made for online learning, also will be incorporated, Professor Arnone said.

Materials and presentations created for the program’s 10 informational modules will be available to the worldwide library community through the project’s LibGuides website, via WebJunction, and as disseminated through library conferences and publications.

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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