Beyond the Bullet Points: Stand Up and Act

I write this as a parent, as a teacher, and as a librarian. There is a conversation this country must have. A conversation about guns. A conversation about mental health. A conversation about how we protect our children, a conversation about civil rights, and a conversation about the role of government in all of this.

This is a conversation that librarians must be a part of, and in some cases lead. I don’t say this because it provides librarians an opportunity for visibility. I don’t say this because of a sense of politics. I say this because there are few if any forums outside our libraries, particularly our public libraries, where we can have this conversation.

Certainly in Congress and our statehouses politicians will talk. Certainly in social media quotes, statistics and positions will be broadcast. But this is not what is needed. What is needed is a community by community conversation about who we want to be as a town and as a nation. A conversation that must happen in a civic and civil space. A conversation that must be informed, grounded, and vetted. It is a conversation that too many librarians back away from because it is too emotional, too political, too divisive.

We cannot shy away from this one. The massacre of Sandy Hook is only the latest call to the conversation. It is tragic, but more tragic would not be to hear it as just the latest sorrowful call to action. In Newtown, and every community our communities are hurting, and scared, and confused, and angry. In our communities people call for understanding, to make sense, or at least to cope with the mindless and inexplicable.

This is the time for librarians to stand up and not say we have the answers, but to say we can help forward this conversation. I have already seen librarians put together guides to resources. I have seen libraries provide gathering places. Let us not stop there. We must not simply inform the debate, but truly facilitate it. We must actively seek conversation, consensus, and action. Reach out to the politicians and offer a forum. Reach out to PTG’s, parents groups, school administrators, hunting clubs, media organizations, and offer yourself as a forum and facilitator. No more lib guides or pages of links, but calls for action. No more waiting for the conversation to support, start the conversation.

Posted in Beyond the Bullet Points | 7 Comments

Expect More

“Expect More” Changing Times, Inspiring Libraries Summit. Vancouver, BC (via teleconference).



Expect More from R. David Lankes on Vimeo.

Posted in 2012, Expect More, Presentation | 3 Comments

A Note About my Health

Normally I don’t use this blog for personal news and announcements. However, recently my medical life has come crashing into my professional life and I wanted to let you know what is going on.

For the past three months I have not been feeling well. This has lead to courses of antibiotics, a ton of blood tests, and several stays in the hospital. I seem to be on the mend, but I still am not allowed to drive or travel and I sleep a lot. Also, we have not discovered the root cause of all of this (if there even is one).

Due to my illness I have canceled my trips and speaking engagements through the end of 2012 or switched them to virtual presentations where possible. Thank you again conference and event organizers for your understanding and patience. I owe you a debt (and my son a trip to England).

Right now I am concentrating on catching up. I owe many of you emails, some papers, and many more responses. I’m working on it. Please be patient with me, but also feel free to send me a poke or a prod if you need something soon.

To my class I apologize for being behind in grading. I’m fixing that over turkey I hope.

For all who have sent me good wishes, thank you. I hope to be up, around, and a pain in the ass real soon. I still have some fun projects on tap for 2013 so stay tuned.

Posted in News | 15 Comments

Mid York Quick Talk

I put this video together for the Mid Work library system trustees. THought it might be useful (and it is short):

MidYork from R. David Lankes on Vimeo.

Posted in Expect More, New/Participatory Librarianship, Presentations News | 3 Comments

The New Librarianship Worldview

“The New Librarianship Worldview” Library 2.012. Web.

Abstract: Your worldview dictates what is possible and often without even knowing it. This presentation to the 2.012 Conference looks at the importance of worldview and describes the rising view within librarianship focused on knowledge and community.



The New Librarianship Worldview from R. David Lankes on Vimeo.

Posted in 2012, New/Participatory Librarianship, Presentation | 2 Comments

What We Do and Why We Do It …But Mostly Why We Do It

“What We Do and Why We Do It …But Mostly Why We Do It” New Zealand Atlas Reading Group. Web.

Abstract: You may never be a part of marching in the streets. I hope you never have to face a mob of looters, but you will be part of a revolution. Librarians are radical positive change agents in their community. In the academy, in schools, in the public, government, and business, librarians are storming the barricades of ignorance and fighting for knowledge and community improvement.

You cannot fight this fight from the safety of the stacks, nor behind the security of the reference desk. Librarianship has helped shape and guide the world for millennia, and now it is your turn to take up that charge.




What We Do and Why We Do It …But Mostly Why We Do It from R. David Lankes on Vimeo.

Posted in 2012, New/Participatory Librarianship, Presentation | 4 Comments

3rd Printing of the Atlas in 18 Months

In case you are having some trouble getting a hold of the Atlas, more are on the way. MIT Press has just done a rush print order. Seeing as I know my mom only bought the first printing, I owe you all a debt of gratitude.

Posted in New/Participatory Librarianship, Publications News | Comments Off