Salzburg Curriculum Snippets and References

After the seminar in Salzburg, I included references to the curriculum and ideas on transformative social action in some of my presentations. I’ve compiled the snippets and links here:

Full Presentation: “Librarians as Change Agents” Video Webchat, U.S. Embassy in Rome, Rome, Italy.

Full Presentation: “Expect More: Service is Proactive” CARLI Virtual Meeting, Webcast.

Full Presentation: “Publisher of the Community: New Librarianship Unencumbered by Our Stacks” PLS President’s Program at the NYLA 2011 Annual Conference. Saratoga Springs, NY.

Posted in Ideas, Research | Comments Off

Salzburg Curriculum

This is a video walkthrough with some of my interpretations of the Salzburg curriculum for Librarians and Museum Professionals. More discussion and interpretation to come.

Posted in Ideas, Research | 1 Comment

Salzburg Curriculum for Library and Museum Studies

On October 19th, 2011 a group of innovators from over 20 countries gathered in Salzburg, Austria to discuss “Libraries and Museums in an Era of Participatory Culture.” Through plenary panels and intensive break out group, the seminar fellows developed a series of challenges and recommendations.

One of those groups was charged with developing recommendations and challenges around skills needed by librarians and museum professionals in today’s connected and participatory world. This group ended up developing a joint library/museum curriculum.

While there will be a full report out of the session, I have already been talking about the curriculum and thought it would be useful to share it and discuss it here (with the permission of the participants). Over the next few days I will comment and expand on the curriculum from my perspective, but this post is intended to simply “get it out there” with little personal commentary so others can refer to it and add their own perspectives.

It is my hope that this post, the session report, and following commentaries will form the basis of a much more complete piece (article, book, or something else).

The following curriculum is meant to be comprehensive, and apply equally to librarians and museum professionals. It is also intended to inform formal methods of education (masters programs) as well as continuing education.


The mission of librarians and museum professionals is to foster conversations that improve society through knowledge exchange & social action
Lifelong learning in & out of formal educational settings
These topics are equally applicable to librarians and museum professionals
These topics must be contextualized
The following values permeate these topics:

  • Openness & transparency
  • Self reflection
  • Collaboration
  • Service
  • Empathy & Respect
  • Continuous Learning/Striving for Excellence (which requires lifelong learning)
  • Creativity and imagination


  • Transformative Social Engagement
  • activism
  • social responsibility
  • critical social analysis
  • public programming – fitting to larger agenda
  • advocacy (organizing communities to action-political, policy)
  • sustainability of societal mission
  • conflict management
  • understanding community needs
  • Technology
    • crowdsourcing / outreach
    • ability to engage and evolve with technology
    • ability to impart tech to community across generation
    • creating and maintaining on effective virtual presence
  • Management for Participation (Professional Competencies)
    • institutional sustainability (funding, relevancy)
    • advocacy for institution
    • economics
    • ethics & values
    • sharing: benefits & barriers
    • collaborate within interdisciplinary teams
    • collaborate
    • assessment /analytics / impact
  • Asset management
    • preserve / safeguard
    • collect
    • organize
  • Cultural Skills
    • communication
    • intercultural: the ability to analyze and function in micro and macro cultures including age and gender
    • languages / terminology
    • support for multiple type of literacies
  • Knowledge / Learning / Innovation
    • constructed
    • improvisation or innovation
    • interpretation
    • dissemination
    • information seeking
    Posted in Ideas, Research | Comments Off

    Lankes Elected to ALISE Board

    I have just been elected the Director for Special Interest Groups for the Association for Library and Information Science Education. Thanks to all those who voted for me, and my fellow “electees.”

    Posted in News | Comments Off

    Circulating Ideas


    Steve Thomas has just posted an interview with me on Circulating Ideas:

    If you are tired of hearing from me, you should check out the podcast. Steve has done an outstanding job collecting interviews with some great folks.

    Posted in News | Comments Off

    Poster Session Pictures

    Here are the group shots from the IST511 Poster session.

    Img 0536
    Img 0537
    Img 0539
    Img 0540
    Img 0541
    Img 0542
    Img 0543
    Img 0544

    Posted in Teaching | Comments Off

    Beyond the Bullet Points: Political not Partisan

    Some folks have recently commented that in my presentations and writings I have a political agenda. They are right, but it is not what they think it is.

    I believe that librarians must be political. That is they must be aware of politics, aid their members in political pursuits, and actively participate in the political process. Now directors of libraries will see this as nothing new, but I believe that all librarians must be politically savvy. Why? Well, let’s start with my definition of politics: politics is the process by which a community allocates power and resources.

    Now the obvious link would be thinking about politics related directly to the library. That is funding, staffing, intellectual property, and the policies that shape how the library works. However, the political nature of librarians extends far beyond the library as an institution.

    If you seek to empower people, you are talking about how power is distributed throughout a community (the “power” has to come from somewhere). Take reading as an example: why do libraries care about reading? Is it because it entertains and distracts community members from how the community makes decision (i.e., reading is for consumption), or is it to enable the reader to participate within the community (i.e., reading as empowerment)? If you buy into the concept that libraries are enmeshed into the larger concept of democracy, then we are preparing people for democratic participation. That is preparing people to join the conversation of how they are governed…that is political. The same could be said of academic libraries educating students (we are preparing students to be part of a market, but also part of a society). While special libraries tend to focus on helping members participate in markets (industry), they are also preparing the corporation, or non-profit, or government to participate in governance (from lobbying, to shaping regulation).

    So libraries are political entities, and librarians are political creatures. This brings us to the real concern people raise about new librarianship -that I am somehow calling for librarians to pick sides. That is that I am either calling for librarians to rally against the tea party and begin a massive campaign of wealth redistribution. Or that I am calling for librarians to take over city hall and shape a community to our vision and definitions of good. The implication is that I am calling for librarian to declare themselves as democrats, or republicans – progressives or conservatives, etc. This leads to a very real concern that in doing so libraries and librarians would lose their status as honest brokers, and so lose their support by their communities. I actually agree.
    However, when I call for librarians to be political, I am not calling for them to partisan, that is picking winners and losers. If there is one thing that librarians understand, it is that the world is much more complex than that.

    Librarians see many sides of one issue. They may believe strongly in a given idea, but they are open to all ideas, and at least seek the merit in them (realizing they may find none). If librarians were to become partisan, they not only threaten their ability to serve and the communities trust, they would collapse ideas down to simple black and whites and not stay true to their professional ethos.

    Librarians need to engage in politics not to reinforce the divisions of us versus them and not to perpetuate all or nothing win or lose ideals. They must become engaged in politics to ease these divisions. Just as librarians facilitate knowledge creation with the individual, they must also facilitate conversations and knowledge across political ideology (I never said that would be easy). Just as we are trusted agents in the land of reading and job searches, so too must we be trusted agents in the land of power and political debate. Think of the Library of Congress’ Congressional Research Service, State Law Libraries, and agency libraries.

    Furthermore, rather than thinking of political involvement as some sort of debate at the national level, realize that political conversations occur at all levels of a community and society. From school boards, to governors, and from Wall Street to the kitchen table, librarians must bring their skills to democracy. Our job is not to win some partisan point, but to ensure the very conversation on how we govern ourselves (in the city, in the classroom, in the business) is fair, open, and informed. This conversation is the heart of democracy. Libraries need to be at the Occupy protests to ensure the power of the people, and the destruction of these libraries is either horrific ignorance, or the worst kind of cynical suppression.

    I have heard a lot of talk about the “American Dream” recently. On the radio, on TV, and throughout the political discourse there are questions being raised about is the American Dream dead. Certainly this is in part a reaction to the economic times and a lack of economic mobility. It is definitely due in large part of gridlock in Washington, and an increased polarization of the political debate in the media. However, I have heard all too often that politicians are to blame – when they are there at our behest. Just as a library is product of people (community, librarians, staff), so too is our government. It is the role of librarians to first remind our communities that every citizen is responsible for the performance of our government and that the best elected government is one that is elected in the light of knowledge. This is the difference between citizen and consumer. A citizen is a participant who does not simply vote and forget.

    The quest for dignity. the quest for prosperity, the quest for the American dream is neither kindled nor sustained in a mall. Freedom is not bought nor consumed. The quest for a better community and a better tomorrow requires the most fertile of grounds. Our dreams demand libraries and librarians. It is in the potent mix of ideas and reality – of the radical and the mundane – in the glow of both solitude and community – that we care take the dreams of a nation. Librarians are political because we all need to be political and join the debates of how power and resources are divided in this nation and indeed the world. Librarians, however, have a special responsibility to ensure that all participation is informed, nuanced, and ongoing.

    Posted in Beyond the Bullet Points, New/Participatory Librarianship | 14 Comments