Speaking at the Delaware Library Town Hall, Dover, in January 2011, R. David Lankes spoke about ‘The future of librarianship’. R. David Lankes challenges librarians, and library staff, not to be passive as change occurs in the profession. Librarians need to be “proactive” when they encounter changes which some in the profession fear will push library professionals out of libraries in favour of dumbed down services. Change will happen whether we like it or not, so can librarians see opportunities in the change to engage more fully with “members” of the library?
This is a really inspiring talk, worth listening to a few times if you think you understood it the first time. It is just under 20 minutes on Vimeo.com, (audio from R. David Lankes website). Lankes asks ‘Are you OK with that?’ when librarians see a future in which library services are delivered not by librarians but by computers. He wants librarians to see people, “YOU”, as the centre of activity for librarians, not buildings, statistic collection, technology, or the latest computer applications. Using this idea, he changes the usual question ‘What is the future of libraries?’ into ‘What should be the future of libraries and librarians in a democracy?’ He suggests ‘The mission of librarians is to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities.”