Atlas of New Librarianship – The unbook unreview

14/06/2011 § 15 Comments

*note – I’ve deliberately decided to use the word ‘text’ herein because I truly believe this project must be absorbed and interacted with across its dual formats, printed book and web/digital presence. Hows that for meta? Cultural Studies, represent!! Lacon, Barthes, dying authors, and all that jazz.

The Atlas

Hope you don't mind Dr. Lankes - I ripped this from your site!

Let me be clear from the start – I have not (yet) read this text. It came across my radar back in early March, and I have been following developments surrounding the book, including the iPad app and companion website which are awesome, and thought it would be a useful and relevant read for library school students and librarians, thus my decision to write it up here now.

Doing research for this post, and thanks to a hot tip from Nicole, I discovered that Emma Montgomery, an LIS student at Syracuse, will be hosting a Twitter reading group to get through the Atlas in 6 weeks. I plan to join this reading group, and I hope those of you interested will also. It starts June 20th, and details can be found here. So, on to my unreview. « Read the rest of this entry »


22/02/2011 § 2 Comments

Please welcome Brian Leaf who is graduating with an MSLS from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May 2011. He writes at and tweets from @bdleaf. Brian’s interests include instructional design, library marketing/outreach, and emerging technologies. Someday, he hopes to take a leadership role in library administration and education policy. Read on for his take on how and why he decided to join up with HackLibSchool.

I’ve been watching HackLibSchool since the idea was proposed in a guest post at In the Library with a Lead Pipe last fall. I found myself intrigued but skeptical, only making minor contributions to the Wiki and Google Doc. I wondered how much energy should actually been poured into this effort when there are plenty of other opportunities to take advantage. There’s no shortage of projects to work on and skills to learn. There are also dozens of library and information blogs out there already, and I’m personally hundreds of posts behind on Google Reader–not to mention my master’s thesis, the job hunt, various committees, work projects, class projects, my own blog, and Thursday night salsa dancing. To be frank, I feel like I should be more concerned about looking out for Number 1.

As adopted buzz phrases like the “library echo chamber” or the “big tent of librarianship” have emerged, and observing the various campaigns being put forth throughout the library world, there’s no doubt in my mind that there are some fantastic and entrepreneurial information professionals out there. Then I remember something in “Information Architecture for the World Wide Web” about the world producing at least 1-2 exabytes (1 Exabyte= 1,000,000,000 Gigabytes) of data every year1. I also remember reading about how scholarly research also often goes unused or unnoticed for years before being uncovered or making a contribution2. With all the great ideas I imagine we all have, I start to understand that we are not as united as we could or should be, and that many of these ideas go the way of a lot of scholarly publications. But we’re the ones driving the future of the librarianship—not our LIS programs, and not our membership to professional organizations (which isn’t to say they’re not, just that we’re not all there yet).

It’s a tough environment. We want to change things and we want to know that we’ll have a job at the end of the day (or upon graduation), but the climate is far from stable. What’s the future of library and information services? What do we need to know or do to thrive in the modern world when it seems like we’re getting left in the dust? How can we be a positive force in the world when our profession is at odds with itself and others? Like in the show LOST, we’re kind of stuck on an island, and we don’t know where we’re going as a collective. But as Jack says at the beginning of the show: “If we can’t work together, we’re going to die alone.”

A decade ago, the Journal of Education for Library and Information Science (JELIS) published an article called “The Panda Syndrome: An Ecology of LIS Education3.” The authors examine the LIS profession and education from an evolutionary framework, and lead into their discussion with an interesting statement: “Individual organizations will be created, thrive or fail to thrive, and die and be replaced by organizations better suited to the changing niche” (House and Sutton 58). Information and information services has been the niche of librarians for centuries; but as it evolves, so must its stewards–or else we may be in danger of being expelled.

There are no superheroes to rescue us, and no magic bullet (or Cupid’s arrow) that will suddenly make us important and valued to everyone. However, I’m willing to bet that we’re going to get a lot farther together rather than alone, which is why I’m throwing in with HackLibSchool.

1Based on a follow-up study by Berkeley done in 2003, which claims 5 exabytes of information was produced in 2002.

2Halliday, L. (2001). Scholarly communication, scholarly publication and the status of emerging formats. Information research, 6(4):6-4.

3House, Nancy V., and Stuart A. Sutton “The Panda Syndrome: An Ecology of LIS Education.” Journal of Education for Library and Information Science 41.1 (2000): 52-68.

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