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The Atlas of New Librarianship

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  249 ratings  ·  36 reviews
An essential guide to a librarianship based not on books and artifacts but on knowledge and learning.

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
Hardcover, 408 pages
Published April 4th 2011 by MIT Press
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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 ·  249 ratings  ·  36 reviews

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Apr 17, 2013 rated it liked it
This is one of those 3-star reviews where the stars mean nothing, because I'm just averaging highs and lows. Some was so good, like wanting to rejigger library education. Some was so nonsensical, like ditching artifacts. A lot was contradictory to reality, especially this insistence on demoting artifacts in a world where people ask me EVERY DAY where the books are. Some was thoughtful and insightful, like his deeply felt desire to improve conversations between and among librarians and patrons. T ...more
Jun 01, 2015 rated it liked it
This book is hard to rate because it had many good qualities and also many bad qualities. I did not care for the Atlas format. I think I would have rather read a narrative. I found the images tedious and ineffective; however the author made many great points throughout the text. I think this book serves as a great way to keep the collective dialog running among librarians and library professionals.
Leslie Nord
Sep 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
It is the textbook for librarians today - our collection is our community (not books) and the improvement of society is our goal.
Jeff Scott
Apr 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I have been reading many of Lankes posts and presentations and have really enjoyed them. I am very interested in Lankes voice and his talks and presentations always hold my attention. He seems to be right on the pulse of what libraries should be doing and where they are going.

When I saw that he was publishing a book called The Atlas of New Librarianship, I knew I had to get it. I was pleasantly surprised that the book takes a general approach that would put any library student or anyone interes
Lane Wilkinson
Apr 25, 2011 rated it did not like it
Though Lankes provides a lot of valuable insight into librarianship, his epistemological constructivism is simply incoherent, inconsistent, and untenable. I'll post a longer analysis on my blog (Sense and Reference), but the short version is that (1) we can adopt most of his recommendations without adopting his Conversation Theory, (2) his treatment of knowledge (the core of new librarianship) is incoherent, inconsistent, and based in fallacious reasoning, and (3) his theory of knowledge is more ...more
Melissa Powell
Nov 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
So far this book is amazing. Just like Lankes vlogs, talks, and blogs he sets out simple yet profound statements that make you think. I was joking with another librarian about how we practically transcribe everything he is saying! Lankes is a brilliant wordsmith--no extraneous verbage.

This book is really an atlas. After the short, pithy intro it is all atlas. I am currently learning how to use the atlas portion. I will update my review once I have done that and have a better idea of what they c
Mar 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
This tome will encourage all librarians to embrace a new era for libraries. Think community-learning-enrichment. Yes, all the things we usually think of, and though many of us know libraries are and have been more than books, this offers substantial guiding principles and inspiration. A must read.
Jul 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
While I confess to not reading the Atlas of Librarianship from cover to cover, I'm not sure author David Lankes intended it to be. It is better to dip in and out of it and give yourself room to digest and cogitate on each new discovery along the way. ...more
Jul 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
I don't think I will ever be fully "done" with this book - I am, however, done with the portions I had to read for the New Librarianship Master Class I took in July. I'm hoping to read some of the other sections at a later date, but from what I was able to read for class, I was very impressed. ...more
Jul 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Save for a school resource later!
I just finished reading Michael Gorman's "
Our enduring values revisited : librarianship in an ever-changing world" and wanted to return to Lanke's "Atlas" to compare the two. I had originally purchased this book back in 2013 in order to take his MOOC, which I couldn't finish as work was far too hectic. I have read a number of reviews, with particular interest in the mediocre ones. I believe that I tend to agree with Gorman (and the critical reviewers) that preserving artifacts, the human record,
Rev. Linda
Jul 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
As this is a somewhat difficult book (although an excellent read for librarians, new or seasoned!!) to describe, I am going to quote what is listed at “David Lankes “The Atlas of New Librarianship” 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-rel ...more
Jun 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
So far this book is living up to my hopes. I think it would be useful on any librarian's professional development shelf in their home library. It uses "soaring language" to help support and renew librarians spirits. I got it by mail from the Multnomah County library to see if I should buy it, and I think I will.

"This atlas is written for you. It seeks to bolster the defiant who stand bravely before the crushing weight of the status quo and seeks to give hope to those silenced by the chorus of th
Jul 17, 2013 rated it liked it
The author of this book recently taught a massive open online course with this book as the central textbook. I started the MOOC, but only made it about halfway through before busyness with life and work caused me to drop out since finishing it was at the bottom of my priority list. I did stay in the course long enough to complete the reading assignments in this book though. The book centers around Lankes idea that librarians need to evolve from dealing with many of the things that have been hist ...more
Apr 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
I always wondered what librarians study or do when they're not helping us find books. The Atlas of New Librarianship changes the way I think of libraries. Access to books (referred to as artifacts) are important to me, but lending books and maintaining collections are just part of librarians' many responsibilities. I also learned information science isn't the same thing as library science. The book is more of a mission statement and guide for library professionals on serving their communities. I ...more
Jun 29, 2013 rated it liked it
read the first few chapters and watched some online videos for the online course. Interesting concepts about the librarian as a knowledge creator -- responsible for creating and maintaining the knowledge of communities by working with others to setup the tools, environment, and training to make this happen. It sounds fun in theory, and would require more social skills on the part of the librarian. It reminds me a little bit of the participatory art movement, because this theory requires the libr ...more
Ad Astra
Jul 07, 2013 rated it liked it
I really enjoy Lankes, his vision, and thoughts of the profession. I am only giving this 3 stars because Lankes is a much better orator than a in book format. I think the book version doesn't do his lectures justice.
I think the content is pretty expansive and could use some editing. I enjoyed the read, and he has a really funny sense of humor.
Do check out his website. His lectures are also thought provoking and his passion comes across even more. So invigorating.
Carrie Kent
Jul 20, 2011 is currently reading it
So far, I'm puzzled. I'm a theoretical thinker, and have been in this field for 35 years, but I'm puzzled. It puts me in mind of a conversation I had with Eugene Garfield (founder of ISI) many years ago, after which I decided he was either brilliant, or insane.

But, I will reserve judgment until I finish it.
May 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Whew! A lot of very useful information and interesting discussion points. Hard to get through all at once. This is definitely one of those books where you get more out of it every time you read it.
Lee Staman
Jul 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was an effort but well worth it. It was slightly difficult to read and should be treated more like a reference book than anything else. Those not in the library trade might not find it as interesting but I think it's still pretty fascinating on a few levels. ...more
Liz De Coster
Dec 02, 2015 added it
Shelves: lis
Somehow both two stars and four stars. I found the reading quite dense by while I didn't agree with Lankes in everything I thought he presented a nicely broad range of ideas of how libraries can evolve their services and work with their communities. ...more
Nov 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
So far, this book is incredible. I regret that I have to read it too fast so that I can write a review by Dec. 20. UPDATE - finished the review Dec. 21. Great book, very inspiring for librarians!
Aug 23, 2012 is currently reading it
Based on a strict definition, I don't think I can "finish reading" this book, ever. ...more
Nov 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Decided to return this to the Library and buy a copy for my own.
Mark Robertson
Jan 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Thought provoking book that challenges us to think more broadly about the mission of librarianship. I'm with him most of the way. (But the complicated diagrams didn't help.) ...more
Kathy Labadorf
Apr 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Some very thought provoking writing on librarianship. As with all Lankes, can go over the top at times but in the end it always inspires further thought and new directions.
Jun 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, libraries
This was thought-provoking, but not the be-all, end-all I was hoping for. Still, there's a wealth of useful thought and theory here for future discussion. ...more
Jul 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I read this book as part of the New Librarianship MOOC! It is a definitive must-read for every librarian in opening up new horizons for librarianship in the future!
Samantha Hines
Aug 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! So much to think about. I'm thinking of buying a copy so that I can reflect further, and I don't buy books lightly. ...more
Feb 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfic, 2015reads
Lots of interesting material in this book (I read all the threads, but not all the accompanying material). I'm feeling a little left behind in my profession. ...more
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R. David Lankes is the director of the University of South Carolina’s School of Information Science, and recipient of the American Library Association’s 2016 Ken Haycock Award for Promoting Librarianship.

His book, The Atlas of New Librarianship, won the 2012 ABC-CLIO/Greenwood Award for the Best Book in Library Literature.

Lankes is a passionate advocate for librarians and their essential role in

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