The Atlas of New Librarianship
Libraries have existed for millennia, but today the library field is searching for solid footing in an increasingly fragmented (and increasingly digital) information environment. What is librarianship when it is unmoored from cataloging, books, buildings, and committees? In The Atlas of New Librarianship, R. David Lankes offers a guide to this new landscape for practitioners. He describes a new librarianship based not on books and artifacts but on knowledge and learning; and he suggests a new mission for librarians: to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities. The vision for a new librarianship must go beyond finding library-related uses for information technology and the Internet; it must provide a durable foundation for the field. Lankes recasts librarianship and library practice using the fundamental concept that knowledge is created though conversation. New librarians approach their work as facilitators of conversation; they seek to enrich, capture, store, and disseminate the conversations of their communities. To help librarians navigate this new terrain, Lankes offers a map, a visual representation of the field that can guide explorations of it; more than 140 Agreements, statements about librarianship that range from relevant theories to examples of practice; and Threads, arrangements of Agreements to explain key ideas, covering such topics as conceptual foundations and skills and values. Agreement Supplements at the end of the book offer expanded discussions. Although it touches on theory as well as practice, the Atlas is meant to be a tool: textbook, conversation guide, platform for social networking, and call to action.
Copublished with the Association of College & Research Libraries.
About the Author
R. David Lankes is Associate Professor in Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies and Director of the Library and Information Science Program there.
“[T]he text covers such a vast array of pertinent subjects that almost any reader…may find a few topics of personal interest.”—The Futurist
“Deep thinking, beyond brands, down to the core concepts and competencies that define librarianship. Lankes creates thoroughly described verbal and visual explanations of the relationships between the many disparate parts that make up our professional whole.”
—Jessamyn West, community technology librarian, blogger, and creator of librarian.net
“The Atlas is not a book; it is a manifesto, a set of principles and convictions aimed at shaking new life and belief into a field that too often fears for its own future. Read it and be prepared to act.”
—Andrew Dillon, Dean and Louis T. Yule Regents Professor of Information, School of Information, University of Texas at Austin
ABC-CLIO/Greenwood Award for the Best Book in Library Literature, 2012