Associate Professor R. David Lankes, director of the Library and Information Science Program at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool), was the keynote speaker at the ILEAD U meeting in Illinois. ILEAD U is the Illinois State Library’s new nine-month initiative to help library staff develop stronger technology tools.

Lankes spoke on February 23 at the Public Affairs Center at the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS). His address presented innovative ways for libraries, the media, and others to deliver information to citizens.

Lankes is a passionate advocate for libraries and their essential role in today’s society. He seeks to understand how information approaches and technologies can be used to transform industries. In this capacity he 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 a visiting fellow at the National Library of Canada and the Harvard School of Education, and he was the first fellow of the American Library Association’s Office for Information Technology Policy.

ILEAD U (Illinois Libraries Lead, Apply and Discover) is funded by a Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program Grant awarded to the Illinois State Library by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The institute encourages both the experimentation with and building of participatory Web services and programs. Librarians and library staff at ILEAD U explored new forms of participatory Web 2.0 technology, hone their skills, and use the newly acquired skills to address the needs of their users.