The Atlas of New Librarianship is written exclusively for librarians. It has received a lot of good attention. However, one stream of feedback I have received was “it is great for librarians, but what about my board/faculty/provost/principal?” I have been often asked to help communicate the concepts of new librarianship to non-librarians (and frankly some resistant librarians who don’t go in for 400 page books with a map).
Since the Atlas has been published I have visited with friends groups, higher education administrators, public library boards, and school administrators talking about the possibilities of libraries and librarians. Over that time I have both honed the message to non-librarians, and extended my thinking. For example, the Atlas talked a lot about librarians, but not much about the institutions of libraries. That was deliberate. I wanted to see if we could define the profession outside of the building. In my new book Expect More: Demanding Better Libraries For Today’s Complex World, I explore the value of the institution (as well as librarians).
Expect More adds three new ideas to the new librarianship discussion: Library as Platform, The Grand Challenges of Librarianship, and Defining Librarians Beyond the MLIS. It does so in a “read and pass” approach. What I really hope happens is that librarians read the book, then pass it on to their members to have a conversation.
So is there stuff in there you already know as a librarian? Yup. If you’ve read the Atlas will this just be a repeat? No. Certainly some of the Atlas concepts are there, and in some ways Expect More is a sort of gateway to the Atlas: A gateway for librarians to get a sense of new librarianship before they tackle the Atlas; and a gateway for the ideas of the Atlas to the wider community. But there are also new ideas, and new directions. What I intended is to give progressive librarians a tool for community engagement. Elevate the discussion of libraries in communities from books, ebooks, and nostalgia to action, community aspirations, and improving society.
Loved the Atlas and want to energize your board or talk to your administration about moving beyond books? That’s where Expect More comes in. I wrote it to be a fast one-sitting read for the busy decision maker. I wrote it for paperback and ebook. I tried to make it affordable. It has a cute fish on the cover – everyone loves a cute fish!
One last note. I am fortunate to have an international readership. The Atlas came from a primarily North American perspective. Expect More is written with U.S. communities in mind. I use U.S. stats for example, and a lot of the roles of libraries in democracy have a distinctive U.S. flavor. However, as with the Atlas, the larger concepts I hope translate. If it doesn’t, I’d love to come over an ocean for a year and spend some time making the international edition.