This Monday we will be starting a new Atlas reading group using a new forum, and with a new twist. The first year library students of Syracuse University will be moderating a weekly discussion of the Atlas on the blog of the companion website http://www.newlibrarianship.org/wordpress/?page_id=20. Each week a team of students will start off the conversation with a blog post, followed by discussion in the comments of that post powered by Disqus.
So grab your copy of the Atlas and join us Monday and start the conversation. Here is the schedule for the different threads:
Mission: September 19 – 25
Knowledge: September 26 – October 2
Facilitating: October 3 – 9
Communities: October 10 – 16
Improve Society: October 17 – 23
Librarians: October 24-31
I just wanted to let folks know that I will be greatly limiting my travel and speaking schedule for the winter and spring (don’t worry librarians of Kansas and Rome, you can’t get away from me that easily). My wife is having some foot surgery and will be pretty immobile for a couple of months. This will also give me a chance to focus on some new projects like a new book (think Atlas for provosts, principals, and public – much more on that later).
That said if you are looking for a speaker via the Internet (Skype, Adobe Connect, FaceTime, iChat) I’m your man (and at greatly reduced honoraria). I appreciate your patience.
So I had this idea for doing little videos in the places I visit on themes from the Atlas of New Librarianship. However, it just didn’t pan out. Still I thought I’d share the two videos I put together (and good news, they are both under 2 minutes each).
The first one is on the changing nature of libraries as places:
The next is on the role of the library in relation to the aspirations of the community:
Aside from some seemingly obligatory swipes at social media, there is a lot to think about there. Has society become so immersed in information we have lost our desire/ability to think deep thoughts? In an area of abundance, are we so overfed with information we loose our ability to seek more depth? This is not The Shallows argument of us becoming stupid, instead it is a cultural question.
Part of the reason I wrote the Atlas of New Librarianship was because of a perceived lack of big ideas in librarianship. As a profession I worry that we have become so enmeshed in processes and functions, we have begun to loose the centrality of why we do things. Librarianship is at its heart a big idea – that knowledge is the path to improving society, and that the knowledge process needs to be facilitated.
People think the Internet is the enemy of libraries. It is in fact a great boon. Not only can librarians do their jobs better, the abundant information on the web makes people curious – a prime motivator of library use.
No the enemies of libraries is the twin dilemma posed by anti-intellectuals on one hand, and the small thinking hipster on the other. One hates big ideas and the other dismisses them if they cannot be easily monetized. We need information to make good decisions sure, but we need big ideas to know what questions to ask.