By: Diane Stirling
The American Library Association’s Midwinter Conference is the starting point this weekend for noted librarian, librarianship scholar, and School of Information Studies (iSchool) faculty member R. David Lankes as he begins his “Expect More” World Tour of speaking engagements about envisioning a more vibrant future for libraries and librarians, and their communities.
Lankes, Professor and Dean’s Scholar at the iSchool, and winner of the 2012 ABC-CLIO/Greenwood Award for the Best Book in Library Literature, begins his 2015 World Tour of speaking engagements with two events at ALA’s Midwinter Meeting. On Saturday, he is presenting on the topic of “People First” in his Tech Logic Expect More Interactive Speaker Series. Also involved in that panel are industry experts Lori Ayer and Cheryl Gould of Galecia Group; Juliane Morian of the Clinton-Macomb Public Library; and Gary Kirk, President of Tech Logic.
Lankes will present a second time at ALA on Monday, addressing the topic, “Radical Conversations on New Librarianship,” along with Kim Silk and Wendy Newman.
Both discussions will focus on a conversation that Lankes has been leading within the library community for the last several years – how libraries themselves, and those in the library profession, must take a leadership role in necessary change by becoming advocates in their communities. That objective necessitates that they shift their focus from collections and buildings to communities and civic empowerment. Accordingly, Lankes contends, it’s necessary for librarians as professionals to shift, by acquiring new visions and new skills, to go beyond bricks and mortar and beyond books and literature. “We need to expect more out of our libraries,” he has written. “They should be places of learning and advocates for our communities in terms of privacy, intellectual property, and economic development.”
The Midwinter event is the first of many regional, American, and global appearances Lankes plans in the coming year to expand on the message of his 2012 book, Expect More – Demanding Better Libraries For Today’s Complex World.
After his series’ launch this weekend, Lankes will be speaking around the world presenting the idea that “our communities should expect outstanding libraries, and we need to continue to prepare outstanding librarians to lead them.” It’s a concept that continues to evolve in 2015 as new technologies and new opportunities have become available, Lankes noted. “A lot of the work that was at one time experimental and seen as interesting, we’re now seeing in wide-scale implementation, and we’re looking at how libraries have a crucial role to play in these kinds of tasks.”
In conjunction with the start of Professor Lankes’ World Tour, the School of Information Studies has announced an “Expect More” Scholarship Program for library information science master’s degree students. It offers a 50% tuition discount, a paid internship working with a library professor in one’s field of interest, a travel stipend for conference attendance, and a unique mentor-pairing opportunity for students to work closely with one of the school’s expert professors over the course of their master’s program.
Lankes’ list of confirmed World Tour dates thus far includes:
February 2 in Chicago; later in February in South Florida; March 6 in Westchester, NY; March 10 and 11 in Toronto; a March date in California; and March 23-26 in Springfield, IL. Also, he’s scheduled to appear in April in Austin, TX; in May in Boston; then June 22-25 in Springfield, IL; July 2 in Liverpool, England; October 26-29 in Springfield, IL; and Nov. 7-11 in Wellington, New Zealand.