R. David Lankes ’92, G’99, director of the Library andInformation Science program at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool), will speak at the U.S. Embassy Rome’s spring event “Libraries in the 21st Century.” The event will be held Wednesday, April 21, 2010.

The day-long conference is being organized by the U.S. Embassy to Italy and the American University of Rome. The conference is an initiative to engage the Italian library community in a dialogue with American peers, with the aim of sharing the best and most innovative practices taking place at American libraries.

Speakers at the event will include professionals from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), NATO, Università degli Studi di Parma, Università di Roma “La Sapienza,” Università degli Studi di Cagliari, and Università del Salento. Topics covered will include libraries as participatory places, new librarianship, social media for libraries, catalog sharing, marketing libraries, and the future of books. Lankes’ presentation will focus on how to build a new librarianship.

In addition to speaking at the U.S. Embassy event in Rome, Lankes will also give a presentation on April 22 in Naples at the Palazzo Donn’Anna to approximately 70 local librarians.

Lankes is LIS program director at the Syracuse iSchool as well as associate professor and director of the Information Institute of Syracuse (IIS). The IIS houses several high-profile research efforts, including the Educator’s Reference Desk and projects related to the NSF’s National Science Digital Library.

Lankes co-founded the award-winning AskERIC project in 1992 and served as director of the ERIC Clearinghouse on Information & Technology from 1998 to 2003. He also founded the Virtual Reference Desk project responsible for building a national network of education expertise. In addition, he was also one of the architects of the Gateway to Education Materials, a standards-based system for describing and finding educational materials on the Internet.

Lankes has served on advisory boards and study teams in the fields of libraries, telecommunications, education, and transportation, including at the National Academies. He has been appointed as a visiting fellow at the National Library of Canada and the Harvard School of Education. He was also the first fellow of the American Library Association’s Office for Information Technology Policy.