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:

Posted in Expeditions, New/Participatory Librarianship | Comments Off


Lankes, R. David (2011). Forward. In Fontichiaro, K. and Hamilton, B. (Eds.), School libraries ebook project. Available: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1SaWhOId9ZqywMuJaKfMIQjgyNl8f-SPEaQYF1TTnTLQ/edit?hl=en_US


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Fulfilling the Potential: Digital Libraries and The Future

“Fulfilling the Potential: Digital Libraries and The Future” Visiting Lecture, Digital Library Learning (DILL) International Masters Program, Florence, Italy.

Abstract: The following screencast is a pretty long (2 hours and 45 minutes) lecture on ideas from the Atlas of New Librarianship and how they relate to digital libraries.
Slides: http://quartz.syr.edu/rdlankes/Presentations/2011/Florence-DLL.pdf
Audio: http://quartz.syr.edu/rdlankes/pod/2011/Florence.mp3


Posted in 2011, New/Participatory Librarianship, Presentation | Comments Off

The End of Big Ideas?

Neal Gabler has a great opinion piece in the New York Times on living in a post-idea world:


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.

Posted in Links | 4 Comments

Lankes Appointed as Dean’s Scholar for the New Librarianship

From Dean Liz Liddy, Syracuse University iSchool:

“I am pleased to announce that in recognition of Dave Lankes’ outstanding contributions to the evolving field of Library Science, I have appointed him to the well-deserved position of Dean’s Scholar for the New Librarianship. Through his writing and speaking about what it means to be a librarian in this day & age, Dave has increased the scope and potential of the field, and has even further improved our very positive reputation in ways that are difficult to measure. Please join me in congratulating Dave for this well-deserved honor.”

Posted in News | 6 Comments

Lankes to Address the 57th National Conference of the Italian Library Association

R. David Lankes will present “A New Librarianship for a New Age” to the 57th National Conference of the Italian Library Association Congress on November 18th in Rome. The theme of the meeting is “Il futuro in biblioteca, la biblioteca in futuro” (The future in libraries. Libraries in the future”).


Here is the announcement (in Italian obviously)

A partire dalla pagina sono disponibili tutte le informazioni sul 57. congresso nazionale dell’AIB “Il futuro in biblioteca, la biblioteca in futuro”, che si terrà a Roma, Complesso di San Michele a Ripa Grande, il 17 e 18 novembre 2011.
Come tradizione in contemporanea si terrà Bibliocom, rassegna di prodotti e servizi per le biblioteche

Il comitato scientifico ha reso disponibile anche il programma provvisorio che mette insieme interventi sul rapporto tra biblioteche, servizi e nuove tecnologie, anticipando prospettive future, senza dimenticare il ruolo degli altri partner della filiera del libro (editori, librai, lettori).
Tra i relatori annoveriamo i massimi esperti sulle tematiche, sia teorici sia pratici; guest speaker dagli Stati Uniti sarà David Lankes, guru della biblioteconomia del futuro (

Le iscrizioni al congresso si apriranno nel mese di settembre.

Un saluto cordiale,
Giovanna Frigimelica

Segretario generale
Associazione Italiana Biblioteche tel. 06/4463532 fax 06/4441139 cell. 333/7644084 Skype: aib.frigimelica Posta elettronica certificata: aib@legalmail.it

Posted in Presentations News | 1 Comment

Remembering Joe Ryan

I learned yesterday that a close friend during my Ph.D. program had passed away. Joe Ryan and I were doctoral students back in the nineties and I owe him so much. He took a kid fresh out of an undergraduate program, and taught me how to survive in a Ph.D. program. He taught me how to write (he published my first vita hit – a book review in Internet Research), how to be edited (“I edit the words, not the person), he even gave me fantastic travel advice (“All you will ever see of the world is the inside of hotel rooms, taxis, and airports if you don’t force yourself to walk around”). He even helped me buy my first suit for a gig in DC. He was always there with advice. He always had something useful to say.
He also did a fair bit of inspiring my passion in libraries as a former librarian himself. He would tell the stories of packing books into the car of his trunk to circulate to the local neighborhoods.

Some of you may remember Joe and his work on Internet policy, the NREN (National Research and Education Network – true story we co-coached a school wide softball team for the School of Information Studies called the NRUNs), and his close work with Chuck McClure on library evaluation and broadband adoption.

After I started my job as a faculty member Joe and I didn’t talk much, and for the past few years not at all. It is unfortunate that only with his death do the “what’s going on with…” and the “I should call…” lines take on real urgency in the form of regret. I will miss Joe, and now I will always miss the opportunity to re-engage with him. I owe Joe a lot, and his passing is a very sad day.

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