Expect More: Our Most Important Conversation

“Expect More: Our Most Important Conversation” ALA Midwinter 2012 Presidents Program, Dallas, TX.

Abstract: Description from the program:

Empowering Voices, Transforming Communities: join these conversations and leave Midwinter with new tools to become a better advocate. Libraries rely on partners within the community to advocate on their behalf more than ever before. But how can libraries stay relevant to these stakeholders in an environment of ever-changing priorities? Join visionary professor David Lankes, author of “Atlas of New Librarianship” ( (http://www.newlibrarianship.org), in two afternoons of innovative and interactive conversations about harnessing the evolving role of libraries, and strengthening the librarian’s voice to help shape community perception.

Facilitators from the graphic recording company, Sunni Brown (http://sunnibrown.com/), will help create visual images of the plenary conversations that conclude each afternoon. The Saturday, January 21, 2012, session focuses on “Understanding Your Communities.” The Sunday, January 22, 2012, session focuses on “Transforming Librarianship.” Both run from 1:00-3:00 p.m.

Sessions are open to all Midwinter Meeting attendees; please add them to your Scheduler to indicate that you plan to attend. Attendees will also receive a coupon for 5% off the price of David Lankes’ galvanizing “Atlas of New Librarianship” (ACRL/MIT Press, 2011) at the ALA Conference Store.
Slides: http://quartz.syr.edu/rdlankes/Presentations/2012/Midwinter-Sat.pdf
Audio: http://quartz.syr.edu/rdlankes/pod/2012/MW-Sat.mp3


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A New Librarianship for a New Age

“A New Librarianship for a New Age” 57º Congresso nazionale AIB (57th National Congress of the Italian Library Association), Rome, Italy

Abstract (English): A new librarianship is emerging, taking the lessons learned over that nearly 3,000 year history to forge an approach based not on books and artifacts, but on knowledge and community. This librarianship is based upon how people learn, not how they browse. This new approach to librarianship will require a change in the skills and preparation of librarians, new types of services, and ultimately a new relationship with communities. The problems faced by our communities are too important to wait for people to come into our buildings. This presentation will examine the foundations of new services, and a new role for librarians as facilitators of knowledge creation. It will offer examples of librarians engaging their communities, and challenge each librarian to take responsibility for the future of the profession.
Abstract (Italian): Una nuova biblioteconomia sta emergendo, utilizzando quanto appreso in oltre 3.000 anni di storia per forgiare un approccio basato non su libri e manufatti, ma sulla conoscenza e sulla comunità.Questa biblioteconomia si basa su come le persone imparano, non su come navigano. Questo nuovo approccio alla biblioteconomia richiederà un cambiamento nelle competenze e nella preparazione dei bibliotecari, nuove tipologie di servizi, e infine un nuovo rapporto con le comunità. I problemi delle nostre comunità sono troppo importanti per aspettare che la gente venga nei nostri edifici. Questa presentazione prenderà in esame le basi dei nuovi servizi, e un nuovo ruolo per i bibliotecari come facilitatori della creazione di conoscenza. Offrirà esempi di bibliotecari che coinvolgono la propria comunità, e sfiderà ogni bibliotecario ad assumersi la responsabilità del futuro della professione.
Slides: http://quartz.syr.edu/rdlankes/Presentations/2011/Rome.pdf
Audio: http://quartz.syr.edu/rdlankes/pod/2011/Rome.mp3
Transcript (English): http://quartz.syr.edu/rdlankes/Presentations/2011/RomeEN.html
Transcript (Italian): http://quartz.syr.edu/rdlankes/Presentations/2011/RomeIT.htm


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Conversations on transforming libraries are highlights of ALA 2012 Midwinter Meeting

CHICAGO – Two afternoons of deep conversation about the evolving needs of our communities and how we can transform libraries and librarianship to meet their challenges will take place at the ALA 2012 Midwinter Meeting. Hosted by ALA President Molly Raphael, the conversations will be a highlight of the Meeting’s multiple themes of conversation, empowering voices and transforming libraries.

“Empowering Voices, Transforming Communities” features renowned Syracuse iSchool professor David Lankes leading small groups to address questions about transforming our communities and the profession. Facilitators from the graphic recording company, Sunni Brown, will help create visual images of the plenary conversations that conclude each afternoon. The Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012, session focuses on “Understanding Your Communities.” The Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012, session focuses on “Transforming Librarianship.” Both run from 1 -3 p.m. at the Dallas Convention Center, Room DCC-A1. Sessions are open to all Midwinter Meeting attendees; watch for sign-up information. Attendees will also receive a coupon for 5 percent off the price of David Lankes’ galvanizing “Atlas of New Librarianship” (ACRL/MIT Press, 2011) at the ALA Conference Store.

Lankes’ current focus is on reconceptualizing the library field through the lens of “New Librarianship.” He is a professor in Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies, director of the library science program for the school and director of the Information Institute of Syracuse.

Picking up and continuing the conversation as the featured speaker in President Raphael’s President’s Program is Rich Harwood, described as “one of the great thinkers in American public life.” Harwood has become a leading national authority on improving America’s communities, raising standards of political conduct and re-engaging citizens on today’s most complex and controversial public issues. He is the president and founder of The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation. The President’s Program is 3:30-5:30 p.m. on Sunday in the DCC Theater.

These Empowering Voices events are part of a range of programming under the Midwinter focus “The conversation starts here …” and begin with Friday’s Advocacy Institute Workshop, “Mobilizing Community Support for Your Library,” on Friday, Jan. 20, 2012 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Omni Hotel Dallas. For more information please visit the Advocacy Events page on the ALA website.

“Empowering Voices, Transforming Communities” is sponsored by ALA President Molly Raphael and her presidential committee, as well as the ALA Public Programs Office and the ALA member initiative group Libraries Fostering Civic Engagement. Special thanks to the ALA Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), co-publisher, with MIT Press, of “The Atlas of New Librarianship” by R. David Lankes.

ALA 2012 Midwinter Meeting is in Dallas, January 20-24. We encourage you to register now, so you don’t miss out on this chance to join the conversation as you enrich your career, your library, and your community. Early bird registration ends Dec. 2, 2011.

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Publisher of the Community: New Librarianship Unencumbered by Our Stacks

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

Abstract: Imagine libraries are places to learn and create, not consume and check out. Imagine the day when every book published is not only available digitally, but at a very low cost……imagine.
Slides: http://quartz.syr.edu/rdlankes/Presentations/2011/NYLA.pdf
Audio: http://quartz.syr.edu/rdlankes/pod/2011/NYLA.mp3

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Librarians: Closing Post

Thank you for your participation in the Librarianship thread.  Our thread aimed to highlight new directions and dilemmas that we as librarians will most likely face.  The results of this weeks discussion leave us with the following reflections:  In the future of libraries, resources beyond artifacts will become increasingly important.  While this will expand the capabilities of the library, it will also add new complexities to catalog design and organization of information.  With expanded information access, should all librarians focus on knowledge creation and reference, or will this expanse change the role of the librarian from being a source of information towards a motivator of members. Finally, given that a constant state of change is not beneficial for any industry or society, how will we as librarians adapt and assure that our field settles into a usable service for a diverse set of members.

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Librarians: Saturday’s Question

As new LIS students, many of us feel eager and excited to enter the career of Librarianship amidst great uncertainties and change for the profession.  Our lack of investment in traditional libraries may make it easier for us to adapt to the new environment than other long-term librarians, including bibliofundamentalist.  How do you feel about entering a profession in a time of rapid change with an ambiguous future job description?  Does this make it an ideal time to be receiving an LIS degree? What difficulties do you anticipate encountering in the long awaited “refreeze” period in library innovation? 

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Librarians: Friday’s Question

On page 159, Professor Lankes describes how a public library reached out to the local (Syracuse) community by interacting with a children’s hospital. In this way, they were reaching out to their community in a unique way. How does collections development affect community, but also how does the community affect collections development?

 This concept also ties in with the innovative ideas occurring in circulation. As librarians start thinking about the community and how to develop their collections, they need to figure what materials can be lent out. The idea that “…[y]ou can “check out” a lawyer, accountant, or librarian for… one-on-one attention…” (from page 169) is fantastic. How does this change in the communities around us? This is not a rhetorical question. Think about the community that you live in and other communities you have been a part of (your hometown, where you went to college, etc.). How would you like this unique process to affect libraries and the communities they serve and how they grow?

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Librarians: Thursday’s Question

David Lankes wrote, “Rather than cataloging artifacts and assuming they are self-contained, we need to build systems that focus on the relationships.”  This quote proposes the idea of building catalogs which are functionally different from what we see in libraries today.   Instead of basic inventory systems, which can be cumbersome or useless for members of the library, Professor Lankes proposes that future catalogs be structured to include information that is more contextual in nature.  This poses a few questions.  If we push for this new system of cataloging, who should contribute in the design and development of this new system? How much influence and involvement should members have in their design?  How should librarians address value of contextual information and judge its inclusion in the catalog?  Should contextual information value be differentiated based on categories of the materials within the catalog (ex. fiction vs. historical, etc)?

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Librarians: Wednesday’s Question

Also, in addressing the discourse of “Public Service,” Dr. Lankes illustrates the Reference Librarian as an active facilitator of the patron’s general knowledge and not simply an agent that “[provides] the member with a pointer” (pp. 155).  Specifically, he make the claim, “you must facilitate the knowledge from access, to knowledge, to environment, to motivation.”  The passage goes on to make some very interesting and provocative claims about user tracking; however, what I’m interested in is the role of the librarian as motivator.  (See also pp. 26-27 for a brief overview of Lankes’ more broad treatment of motivation).

If part of librarianship and knowledge facilitation is motivation, how must we rethink the relationship that the librarian has with his/her patron?  Does the motivation begin with user-initiated transactions and behave like a cycle or are librarians responsible for preemptive motivation (be it user-specific or broad)?  Can motivation (perhaps in excess) problematize the relationship between the librarian and the user?

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Librarians: Tuesday’s Question

In the Librarian thread, Dave talks about the role of new librarianship in relation to the notion of public service. He suggest that new librarianship is not about artifacts; its about facilitation. Artifacts are no longer the primary focus of librarians, but rather tools that aid the process of knowledge creation. If providing access to artifacts is no longer the primary public service function librarians, what capacity do reference librarians serve in the information age? Should reference transactions be a specialized area, or should every new librarian make reference work their primary function in order to facilitate knowledge creation? How can new librarians become socially active reference authors in order to meet the demand of the public?

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