The Atlas of New Librarianship

MIT. 2011. c.1077p. illus. ISBN 9780262015097. $55. PRO MEDIA
Lankes asserts, "The mission of librarians is to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities," initiating a vital conversation about librarianship and its future. He builds this conversation using an atlas, or topical mapping, to engage librarians in exploring their profession, their mission, and their future. Encouraging an understanding of why we do things and not just how, he expands on the theoretical framework of 20th-century librarianship (e.g., theories of information and user-centered design), combining those perspectives with theoretical frameworks being applied in other disciplines, e.g., education and the social sciences. Grounding the atlas in the why of librarianship, Lankes argues that libraries serve not only as repositories providing access to information but as fertile ground for actively using collections, resources, and information to create knowledge and foster learning via ongoing conversations with our communities. He invites librarians to expand librarianship beyond the support of information seeking, access, and literacy and toward participation in and co-ownership of a community's knowledge-creation processes. Exploring outside the boundaries of limiting functional definitions of librarianship, Lankes argues that the "very definition of our field, its perception, and its ultimate effect are in…our hands."
VERDICT Essential for all librarians wanting to evolve and continue to serve their communities.
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