The Atlas of New Librarianship: Mission

“The Mission of Librarians is to Improve Society through Facilitating Knowledge Creation in their Communities”

-David Lankes

This is a jam-packed sentence.  At the beginning of my week-long gateway residency in Syracuse  I gave it little thought.  There was so much to do.  There was work, packing, preparations for my house, introductions, projects, activities, more work, things to do with new friends.  So I chugged along, clicking off tasks at a brisk pace and soaking up the steady flow of information that was coming my way.

Now that I’ve returned home and unpacked my suitcases, I want to take the time to unpack this mission so that I will be ready to take ownership.  How does this apply to me?  We library students are told to keep our minds open to the many options available in this expansive field, but I know I want to be an educator.  So where is my place in the mission of new librarianship?

/Improve Society/  I am entering education to improve society.  I don’t mean a top-down, authoritarian, ivory tower, Improve Society with a capital I and a capital S.  I want to improve society by helping people make connections.  Connections to their talents and interests, followed by connections to the people and things that will help them explore those talents and interests.

/Facilitating Knowledge Creation/ Helping people improve their lives and empower themselves with information.  It is importent to let people take ownership of their own learning but be there to give them a nudge over the occasional bump in the road.  People of all ages, but especially children, need to be given the space to explore their interests and learn new things just for the sake of learning.

/in their Communities/  Our Raison d’être.  To build and serve a healthy and vibrant community.  Service includes anticipating needs, fulfilling needs, and sometimes making the community aware of needs they didn’t even know they had.

There are a surprising number of parallels between my previous career in restaurant service and my future career in library service.  Patience, people skills, anticipation of needs.  And the kids in my school library will have a good excuse for acting like children.

I am ready to embrace my new mission in all its applications, from grand to mundane!

For my gateway class at Syracuse University I was assigned to read and blog about my professor David Lankes’ most recent book, The Atlas of New Librarianship.


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