By: Diane Stirling
(315) 443-8975

The popular video lecture series of School of Information Studies (iSchool) Professor R. David Lankes on the topic of “new librarianship” is being made available to library professionals and other interested individuals and organizations around the world through an innovative partnership with Kanopy, a leading distributor of online educational videos.

Lankes, known nationally and internationally for his unique way of looking at and talking about the current and future states of the library profession and librarianship practice, made his series of videotaped lectures available free of charge when contacted by the company about the possibility of distributing them through Kanopy’s worldwide educational network. His Master Class librarianship series has been offered free via the School as a MOOC, as well. 

Kanopy is making its 60,000 worldwide library field customers aware of the availability of the video series. The videos are available at no charge to Kanopy customers, since Lankes has donated the works and Kanopy is covering associated delivery and marketing costs.

“Librarians from all over the world continue to request videos on the art of librarianship and there was really nothing available,” noted Olivia Humphrey, chief executive officer at Kanopy. She said that when she heard about Lankes’ work, she approached him regarding the possibility of the company’s distributing his content.

“David Lankes is a passionate advocate for librarians and their essential role in today’s society. The overwhelming response Kanopy has received from librarians all over the world who have watched his “New Librarianship Master Class” on Kanopy is testament to this,” Humphrey said.

“I am of the firm belief that the future of librarianship is founded on open conversations, collaboration and connections, not only among each other, but among the communities [librarians] serve. Kanopy is playing a small role to facilitate this conversation by offering any academic library worldwide free access to David Lankes' “New Librarianship Master Class,” she continued.

Librarians Worldwide

The company’s data indicates that the videos have been accessed about 2,500 times, and that more than 1,000 librarians in a range of countries have viewed the ‘Master Class’ series, Humphrey said. That audience includes library professionals in the U.S.A., Australia, Canada, Ghana, United Arab Emirates, Austria, Netherlands, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Hong Kong (in that order). A high degree of usage among academic institutions also has occurred, she noted, with library professionals from RMIT (an Australian university of technology),Florida State University, Monash University, Cleveland State University, Université du Québec à Montréal, California State University Fullerton, and Princeton University accessing the series, she said.

A Recognized Name

Humphrey explained how the idea to work with Lankes came about. The firm deals with libraries as customers regularly in distributing educational videos. One day, some of the firm’s library customers asked the company why there were no videos available regarding their own profession or the many issues the field is currently facing. That’s when the Humphrey began to look for sources of good information, she said, and Lankes’ name continually came up. “Everyone recognized him from all corners of the earth; Hong Kong, Canada, Austrialia…so we are very excited to think that we will get a lot of viewers,” she added.

Lankes’ New Librarianship Master Class consists of four videos. The first is an introduction and overview about the changing field of library science and the way people use libraries today; the second presents a world view of the topic and poses questions about the overarching mission of libraries. The third in the series is a compilation of a number of videos on specific topics; the fourth addresses the issue of creating community.

Vehicle For Content

Lankes said when Kanopy approached him about the possibility of using the Master Class videos, he thought it was a great idea. “I’ve always done a lot of video and the concept of making it as widely available as possible, and at no cost, was appealing. [At the iSchool], we did that with the Master Class via a MOOC, and with many of the keynotes I’ve done. Kanopy provided another vehicle to get that content out into the world.”

Lankes said the opportunity also was in line with the iSchool’s library program mission. “One of the things I think the Syracuse library science program is well known for, now and over time, is trying to make a real change in libraries all over the world, so the more we can get the message out about how libraries can ensure their future, the better,” he explained.

The company also seemed to make a good partner for Lankes and the iSchool library program, the professor said. “There are lots of opportunities to partner, and I like to partner with folks who are trying not only to do well, but also to do good,” Lankes added. “I definitely got that sense from the Kanopy folks, and they were a dream to work with,” he said. 

Kanopy is in discussions now with Professor Lankes on how to take the educational partnership another step, including ideas for creating additional content, and how the firm might also be able to enrich the video viewing experience by connecting librarians together so they can discuss and debate their issues, according to Humphrey.

For details on how to access the series, contact Kanopy at You can learn more about the series here