Announcing the New Librarianship Master Class Online

Some of you may remember me mentioning the idea of a New Librarianship MOOC last year. Well, a year’s worth of work later, and it is time for the announcement. Come and join us in July for fun or credit! More info at


About the Class

Libraries have existed for millennia, but today the library field is searching for solid footing in an increasingly fragmented (and increasingly digital) information environment. What is librarianship when it is unmoored from cataloging, books, buildings, and committees?

The vision for a new librarianship must go beyond finding library-related uses for information technology and the Internet; it must provide a durable foundation for the field. New Librarianship recasts librarianship and library practice using the fundamental concept that knowledge is created though conversation. New librarians approach their work as facilitators of conversation; they seek to enrich, capture, store, and disseminate the conversations of their communities.

Join iSchool faculty for this online course that provides a foundation for practicing librarians and library science students in new librarianship. It builds on The Atlas of New Librarianship, the 2012 ABC CLIO/Greenwood Award for the Best Book in Library Literature and seeks to generate discussion about the future direction of the profession.

The class will be taught and moderated by core faculty at the iSchool with international reputations: R. David Lankes, Jill Hurst-Wahl, Megan Oakleaf and Jian Qin.

For Fun or Credit
The Course is offered for free online. However, participation in the course can also lead to Continuing Education Units (CEU’s) for an additional fee, or graduate academic credit with additional work and tuition. More information to follow.

Coming in July
The course will be offered in a guided mode from July 8 to August 4. After that month the class will be opened online, but CEU or academic credit options will no longer be available.

Benefits of Participation
MIT Press will provide participants in the course with a 20% discount on The Atlas of New Librarianship.

To sign up for the course or to receive more information go to

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Nerd Absurd

I had a great time talking about the future of libraries and general issues of open access and the importance of librarians with the Nerd Absurd podcasting crew. It is a long conversation, but pretty free wheeling, have a listen:

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Success Through Collaboration

“Success Through Collaboration” HELIN Annual Conference. Smithfield RI. (pre-recorded)

Abstract: If you want a future for libraries, it is within you, the librarians. If you want a healthy community that seeks out knowledge, and seeks informed conversation, then advocate for it beyond your walls. If you want your library to thrive, the community must thrive. To be a librarian is not to be neutral, or passive, or waiting for a question. It is to be a radical positive change agent within your community.




Success Through Collaboration from R. David Lankes on Vimeo.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Master Class on New Librarianship Amsterdam

Here is the short version of this post: I did a masterclass at the Amsterdam Public Library for de Library School. You can see watch the screencast or listen to an MP3 at the end of this post. It is long (2 hours and 33 minutes).

Now the long version. I had the BEST time yesterday in Amsterdam. I was invited to do a Master Class on New Librarianship for de Library School that operates out of the Public Library of Amsterdam. It is a very neat project where they are working over three years to define what a library school should teach and do, and to do that, they are trying to define what a librarian and library are.

I have never done a master class before, and had no idea what to expect. Good news, they had never hosted one, and had no expectations. So I decided to give a brief introduction about what New Librarianship is, and then offer up a menu of ideas (in Atlas talk, agreements) that we could go through in what ever order the class wanted.

One of the common misperception about new or participatory librarianship is that it a simple idea that boils down to listen to your community. Putting this together and working with the class, it is clear that it is a very deep way of looking at librarians, libraries, and communities that all of us working and talking in the area have come up with. We were there for about 3 hours, and we could have kept going for about 10 more. THose who have read the Atlas will not be surprised.

I talked a little more than I would have liked to, but ewe had great conversations in the breaks and afterwards. As an aside I am so impressed with the Amsterdam Public Library. Besides an impressive facility, they have two cafes and a radio station. I had a chance to talk to the director, Hans van Velzen, and was blown away. What he has accomplished there is simply outstanding.

Oh man, I hope I get the chance to do another kinds of classes. I enjoy keynoting, but the time and interaction to dig deep is simply exhilarating. In fact it was in preparation for this session that I floated the idea of a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) in New Librarianship. I can see it working, but need to figure out a way to capture the conversation and dynamic.

In any case…let me know if you want to put on a master class, and enjoy the class if you would like.

“New Librarianship Master Class” Master Class, de Library School, Amsterdam, Netherlands.



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New Librarianship and the Library as Platform

“New Librarianship and the Library as Platform” Ticer 15th International Summer School on Digital Libraries 2012, Tillburg, Netherlands.

Abstract: Change in academic libraries is nothing new. From digitization of materials, to the move of scholarly communications from journals to online venues, librarians are becoming accustomed to constant reinvention. Now, however, libraries must become platforms for innovation throughout the entire academy. Librarians should be active in online education, new models of student learning, and helping the faculty adjust to disruptive change. Rather than being the heart of the university centered on a collection, libraries must become hubs that spread new practice throughout the organization.


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Announcing Expect More

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.

Visit the Expect More site and order your copy…available via Amazon, Smashwords in a DRM-free ebook for most readers, and for iPad.

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New Librarianship: From Sharing to Lending and Back Again

“New Librarianship: From Sharing to Lending and Back Again” Tennessee Library Association Brown Bag Series, Webinar.

Abstract: This talk examines a bright future for libraries that can build strong connections with communities. This includes co-owning the library space, returning to a sharing model of libraries, and focusing on the aspirations of the community. Several examples of libraries acting as platforms for community advancement will be discussed.


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