KLA 2012: World Domination Through Librarianship

Keynote speaker: R. David Lankes | www.DavidLankes.org for screencast and slides | Thur., Apr. 12, 2012

So, I’m sitting in the back row because I needed electricity to live-blog and charge my phone.  Guess what, a lot of the NEKLS librarians are back here with me. We are such rebel-rebels…and no, I’m not wearing my I Geek Kansas Libraries t-shirt.

Book sub-title: World Domination Through Librarianship: Why Librarians Will Take Over the World and What to Expect from Your New Overlords (That blog post has the slides, audio and vimeo screen cast of the talk for your viewing/listening/reading enjoyment.)

We are NOT a panic-prone group. Now is not the time to panic, it’s the time to PUSH FORWARD.  Communities need us to think about how we can solve their larger problems.

A common reaction to declining budgets is to ‘hunker down’ – which means we would focus on books, reading, literature.  Yes, the one word most associated with libraries is “Books” – but he doesn’t like this!  Books usually lead to other words: learning, fun, knowledge, power, information.  What does “Book” mean?  We connect concepts – word associations and the network – and most of these are positive.  We need to see how deep the associations and network is – Borders = Books, but there is a shallow association.  Even when we copied the book store model in the ’90’s, it didn’t really help or hurt.

People have DEEP associations with libraries – we need to understand the connections to see who our competition and threats are: Google, Univ. of Phoenix, Amazon, etc.  We built the building for a reason – it’s not to keep publishers in money.  We’ve been here for 3,000 years and it wasn’t to keep popular fiction.  Library of Alexandria was a university with the first building was for the muses (art, music).  The Library was a dormitory full of great thinkers.  Content is for use and improvement.

Change that is big, quick and unanticipated…built around a Network (like IBM).  IBM > Microsoft > Google – innovate one part of the whole.  Publishing is there now.  They use to be gate-keepers.  It is fraying now.  Printing  is split out, copyediting next?  What functions of publishing will change and split apart?  Libraries are also being broken down – electronic document delivery, for example.  Look at the entire network or set yourself up to be divided and conquered.  Or, we can look at Apple.  Instead of splitting, they expanded.  iEverything.

Apple’s success comes from an Integrated Outlook and understanding of Their Network.  They see someone trying to do something, not hardware!  When we look at our associations and network, what does it look like?  Are we Integrated? (ebooks, books, 3D printing, DVDs, etc.)  Try and Fail – there’s a difference between failure and making a mistake.  Failing means you tried something new and it was slightly beyond your reach – do that on a regular basis.  PLAY.  Then integrate it back in.  Having people think, create, expand … better fit to our mission?

MISSION: The mission of librarians is to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities.  Mission for LIBRARIANS (us, not a building).  Our Web site, not the Library’s Web site.  Bring community together – we are in the ‘improve’ business and ‘knowledge creation’ business.  Fail if we just continue to do what we do and use new words to describe it!  Expect MORE.  Can’t do more with less – do more to get more.  Not Customers, or Consumers…but MEMBERS and PARTICIPANTS!  Users are for computer scientists and druggies.  We want a Relationship!  Enrich! Enhance! Interact!

Help Your Community Get Better.

Facilitating: Providing access OR Library as platform – a place to do more and do better.  Example: Polaris created a Community Portal – so you can catalog the community – they search materials AND organizations/people/services.  Joke: searching for vampires will get you the Red Cross 😉 MARC for books and People. Can the community enter their own information?  Why not?  Give this resource to the Community.

Academic reorganization from Tech / Public Services to Teaching / Research Services | eScience and embedded librarians in labs | Dallas Public Library embeds the community back in the library. 5th floor put in desks, whiteboards and co-working area.  Put admin staff up there in this crazy entrepreneurial environment.

Expect More:

  • Community is the Collection – focus on Connection Management – introduce folks doing the same thing?  Provide space or a librarian to help them.  We have ‘gifts of facilitations and organizations.’  We can bring IDEAS together.  We are in the idea business.  “Caretake the DREAMS of that community.”
  • Engage the Community in Conversation –
    • Shape and Be Shaped, Focus on Aspirations of the Community
    • We tend to focus on problems and problem solving.  We need to focus on transformation.  Losing your job can be a time for transformation!  Transform U program.  A Dream motivates!
    • A true conversation – the people in the conversations are both shaped by that and shape.
    • Integration – start with the dreams and find out how we can make it happen.  The power of libraries is to change people’s lives.
    • Give Respect
  • What is the Network of Meanings Around Your Library?

Take YOUR community to the World.  We have to expect more from ourselves and our community should expect more from us.  Avoid hunkering down – people need our help, they are struggling, but they also have dreams and WE can HELP them reach them.


3 thoughts on “KLA 2012: World Domination Through Librarianship

  1. Pingback: KLA Recap

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