R. David Lankes was not a bookworm as a child. He was a geek who discovered gradually that he could find a life purpose in helping redefine and re-equip librarians. Lankes is the author of "The Atlas of New Librarianship," which is about to be published by the MIT Press.
While Lankes is unable to join us at "Beyond Books," April 6-7 at MIT, he helps frame some of our potential convening questions in this 40-minute discussion with Journalism That Matters' Bill Densmore. Speaking on March 28 from his office at Syracuse University's Information Institute, which he directs, Lankes talks about his book, and about his vision of librarians as change agents -- radically positive, assertive, even subversive, but always focused on a mission, in the words he's written in his book: "To improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities."
Lankes talks about his faith in the relevance of libraries and librarians, and his intention to "bolster the defiant" with the profession. He speculates about ways the library may have common or divergent purpose with the institutions of journalism, the need to teach citizens to be more critical readers, and build systems oriented not around preserving artifacts (books) but around managing learning. He talks about why librarians should refer to their users and patrons not in those terms but as "members" in a collaborative process of knowledge formation.