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A Call for New Librarianship


It’s not about the future of libraries. It’s about the future of librarians.  We get to decide what the future looks like. And it is possible that the
brightest day (for our communities) is yet to come.

Somedays you need a little inspiration.  Dave Lankes’, speech at the HMCPL Staff Development Day in Huntsville, Alabama, reaffirms the importance of professional mission, NOT the mission of place.  Spend 38 minutes and rethink your own direction. 

(Virtual) Dave, Director of the Library and Information Science Program at Syracuse University, is a long-time friend of school librarians.  I know him from the early days of LM_NET, AskERIC, KidsConnect, Gateway to Educational Materials (GEM), and from serving on a variety of ALA committees.

Among the big ideas Dave shares with his public librarian audience, and the rest of us:

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  • It’s not about stuff. 
  • Stuff, and the counting of stuff, are increasingly unimportant as we witness the disaggregation of content (digital files removed from the things they came from), the disintegration of traditional publishing models, the shift from ownership to rental models (iPods, Kindles, Overdrive, databases).
  • Collection development is no longer about how to pick the right things in a series.
  • If we all have free access to stuff, what we really need is guidance
  • We need to stop being defined by where we work.  Instead, we need to define ourselves by what we do.
  • We are about knowledge creation.
  • The best days of librarianship are ahead of us.
  • We are in the right profession, uniquely positioned to lead in the knowledge age.
  • We won’t get there following current trends, or with a focus on recorded knowledge.
  • As we move forward, we need to consider how we and our members/patrons/learners are going to make this world a better place.
  • Some of us have been hiding our lights behind the stacks. Humans should be more prominent on our Web pages than catalogs.
  • Our role is unique in its value and important. We stand between our communities’ best interests and ignorance.
  • The call for new librarianship is for a focus on knowledge and conversation, a dedication to leadership and innovation, for making positive change, unencumbered by artifact centrality
  • We are the future of libraries, not the book or whatever form it is yet to take.
  • The mission of librarians is to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities.
  • The real job is to change people’s lives.
  • Stripped of stuff, librarians will stand naked but noble in front of our communites, asking how can I help?
  • We get to decide the direction. The future of libraries/librarians is YOU.

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Blog:  http://quartz.syr.edu/rdlankes/blog/
Slides: http://quartz.syr.edu/rdlankes/Presentations/2010/TexasAdobe.pdf
Audio: http://quartz.syr.edu/rdlankes/pod/2010/TexasHMCPL.mp3

 


 

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Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is the teacher-librarian at Springfield Township High School, a technology writer, and a blogger. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza

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