Lankes’ intro to the Follett Chair panel discussion on librarians in a post-factual world

The social responsibility of the library and the librarian in a post-factual world

This introduction to a panel discussion (which isn’t included in the recording – alas) left me pondering something once again. I have had this feeling since my very early days in librarianship. I have no evidence for it, I haven’t yet explored it through the literature though this is now on my list of jobs to do. I think that perhaps we are “raised” to see ourselves as of the library rather than of our clients/community/patrons (whatever words individual librarians prefer to use to help them understand their professional ontology) – as being part of the “Institution of the Library” first & foremost. I think that this leads to a level of separateness that sometimes leads to a worry that, if we really became part of our community/etc, our professional ontology may be challenged – that people might ask us to take on roles we don’t want for ourselves or can’t imagine for ourselves. I think that this separateness sometimes becomes a protective barrier for us.

In this presentation, Lankes outlines four goals of the Richland Public Library – goals that it established by truly connecting with the Richland community:

  1. Help create a strong and resilient economy
  2. Strengthen community cohesion
  3. Transform educational outcomes for youth
  4. Help break the cycle of poverty.

I see librarians creating goals such as these as courageous & (in a way) to be “truth telling”; to be a way of opening themselves & their library up to be what is wanted & needed of them; to be proactive & responsive & innovative & whatever else is required. For me, these librarians & other library staff are truly inspiring.

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One response to “Lankes’ intro to the Follett Chair panel discussion on librarians in a post-factual world

  1. Pingback: Previous post reflecting on Lankes’ presentation reflects my confirmation bias | A Librarian's Reflections

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