Monthly Archives: June 2012

Expect More On Your Nook

You can now purchase Expect More directly from your Nook device! Buy it through the Barnes & Nobel store.

Screen Shot 2012-06-29 At 7.47.22 Am Copy


Updates to Amazon

Just a quick note to let folks know what is happening with Expect More on Amazon. The first change is that you can now use “Look Inside” to preview the print book:

Screen Shot 2012-06-26 At 6.29.24 Am

The second piece of news is that the Kindle version of the new book is available directly from the Kindle store on your device. However, it apparently takes a little time for the Amazon folks to link the print and Kindle edition. So you have to search for the Kindle version separately for now. Update:they are now linked.
Screen Shot 2012-06-26 At 6.33.51 Am
Now, that said, my preference would be that you buy the book via Smashwords. It is DRM free, supports some competition in the ebook market, and frankly is more author friendly for royalties. Still, my overriding preference is that you read the book and share it throughout the community, so it is all good.

Hopefully more eBook stores will be coming online soon.

New “Corrections” Category

In any book there are bound to be a few errors that make their way through. I’ll use this category to set the record straight.

Our first error comes on page 90 of the print edition with the line “For example, in 1863 Roger Bacon tout the world of ideas…” Seeing as Roger Bacon died in 1294, that was quite a feat. it should be 1263.

Second omission is that the Beta Testers listed in the acknowledgments should include Karen Steinberg who was a fantastic early reader with great feedback. I have added her name to the latest eBook version. Sorry Karen.

If you find an error, please let me know and I’ll post it here.

First Expect More Review

The first review of Expect More is in by Heather Braum on GoodReads:

This was a concise version of the ideas I found in Lankes’ Atlas of New Librarianship. It a book that all librarians who are too busy to read the entire Atlas need to read. Library boards need to read it. Superintendents, principals, other administrators, teachers, parents, need to read it. Provosts, deans, faculty, and students need to read it. Community members, mayors, city councils, county decisionmakers need to read it. Library school faculty need to read it. Library consultants and continuing ed and support staff need to read it. And anyone involved in strategic planning in libraries need to read it.

This book will provide a new way to look at how the library fits into the community more than ever before and speaks to many ways to expect more out of your library and why you should.

It’s short, simple, and to the point, yet has many practical examples. Coming from the innovative Kansas library community, myself, I see many of our libraries implementing the ideas found in this book, but they can do even more!

Behind the Scenes of Expect More

Some people have commented on how “prolific” I am with a new book coming out just a year after the Atlas of New Librarianship. What they don’t realize is that I actually finished writing the Atlas at the beginning of 2010. That also included doing all the illustrations and maps. It then went into a 13-month production cycle. Along the way there was printing out 1,300 pages of paper, stripping of all of Word’s automated indexing, and burning CD’s. It got me to thinking there must be another way.

So here is a behind the scenes in FAQ form of what lead up to the publishing of Expect More:

Who is the publisher of this book?

Short answer: I am. The paper book was created and is distributed by CreateSpace, a self-publishing platform. For that reason they assign the ISBN and show up as the publisher in places like Amazon. Same with the eBook and Smashwords.

What is Riland Publishers then?

It was useful to create a legal entity to process payments and do tax stuff, so Riland is a sole proprietorship that my wife and I run. That’s why the URL is


A combination of my sons’ names Riley and Andrew.

Why not use MIT Press and ACRL like you did with the Atlas?

Let me be VERY clear. I love ACRL and MIT Press as publishers. They do their work very well. The Atlas is a beautiful published piece, and I am still blown away they could make what is basically a coffee table book for $55 when every other library-oriented publisher I’ve worked with can’t seem to get the cost for a paperback under $75. Margy Avery and Katherine Deiss are brilliant, and absolutely committed to scholarly communication and forward thinking. They have also been very supporting of this effort and I could not be doing this without their ideas. I am also convinced that publishing with MIT Press and ACRL was instrumental in my promotion to full professor last year.

So why self-publish?

I was looking for more control over the process, a better return on investment, faster production, and to get an inside look at new possibilities in publishing (including the reality of selling ebooks). I also do a lot of talking about everyone being a producer and consumer, and I wanted to experiment more with the production side of publishing.

Why Smashwords for the eBook?

It is DRM free, and supports most eBook formats. I’m also hoping they will distribute it to other eBook stores like Barnes & Noble’s online store. Thanks Buffy Hamilton for the pointer.

Why CreateSpace for the Print Book?

I was intending to use for my on-demand printer, but CreateSpace has better tools and frankly better Royalty arrangements. They also have direct posting of my book into Amazon’s stores that I felt was important to reach the general audience.

Should we expect more books from Riland Publishing?

Anything is possible, but right now my intention is not to build yet another publisher. I look at this as a place for my self-publishing efforts. However, it would be great to use it to publish the work of promising students and librarians as well. We’ll see.

Why should librarians read Expect More?

My last book, The Atlas of New Librarianship was written exclusively for librarians. It has received a lot of good attention. However, one stream of feedback I have received was “it is great for librarians, but what about my board/faculty/provost/principal?” I have been often asked to help communicate the concepts of new librarianship to non-librarians (and frankly some resistant librarians who don’t go in for 400 page books with a map).

Since the Atlas has been published I have visited with friends groups, higher education administrators, public library boards, and school administrators talking about the possibilities of libraries and librarians. Over that time I have both honed the message to non-librarians, and extended my thinking. For example, the Atlas talked a lot about librarians, but not much about the institutions of libraries. That was deliberate. I wanted to see if we could define the profession outside of the building. In Expect More, I explore the value of the institution (as well as librarians).

Expect More adds three new ideas to the new librarianship discussion: Library as Platform, The Grand Challenges of Librarianship, and Defining Librarians Beyond the MLIS. It does so in a “read and pass” approach. What I really hope happens is that librarians read the book, then pass it on to their members to have a conversation.

So is there stuff in there you already know as a librarian? Yup. If you’ve read the Atlas will this just be a repeat? No. Certainly some of the Atlas concepts are there, and in some ways Expect More is a sort of gateway to the Atlas: A gateway for librarians to get a sense of new librarianship before they tackle the Atlas; and a gateway for the ideas of the Atlas to the wider community. But there is also new ideas, and new directions. What I intended was to give progressive librarians a tool for community engagement. Elevate the discussion of libraries in communities from books, ebooks, and nostalgia to action, community aspirations, and improving society.

Loved the Atlas and want to energize your board or talk to your administration about moving beyond books? That’s where Expect More comes in. I wrote it to be a fast one-sitting read for the busy decision maker. I wrote it for paper-back and ebook. I tried to make it affordable. It has a cute fish on the cover – everyone loves a cute fish!

One last note. I am fortunate to have an international readership. The Atlas came from a primarily North American perspective. Expect More is written with U.S. communities in mind. I use U.S. stats for example, and a lot of the roles of libraries in democracy have a distinctive U.S. flavor. However, as with the Atlas, the larger concepts I hope translate. If it doesn’t, I’d love to come over an ocean for a year and spend some time making the international edition.

iPad Edition Available

An iPad version of Expect More is now available directly from the iTunes Bookstore. This edition contains a few
More images (in color) plus easy clicking to referenced websites right from the footnotes.

Also, because iBooks use fixed pagination, an index is also included.

Expect More Sampler

Here is a sample chapter (Chapter 1) and the Table of Contents of Expect More. You can see a slightly larger sample if you go to the SmashWords site and use the HTML viewer to see the sample.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements iv
Introduction 1
A Special Note for Librarians 2
1. The Arab Spring: Expect the Exceptional 3
2. The Argument for Better Libraries: Expect Impact 9
Collective Buying Agent 10
Economic Stimulus 13
Center of Learning 16
Safety Net 17
Steward of Cultural Heritage 19
Cradle of Democracy 20
Symbol of Community Aspirations 24
3. The Mission of Libraries: Expect More Than Books 27
I Love Reading…No Really 33
Mission to Nowhere? 34
A Mission Based on Higher Expectations 39
4. Facilitating Knowledge Creation: Expect to Create 41
Library as Facilitator 42
What is Knowledge? 43
Expanding the Definition of Facilitation 47
Teacher, Librarian, Tinker, Spy 58
5. Improve Society: Expect Grander 59
Expecting More Than Pie and Prostitutes 61
Of the Community 62
Walled Gardens 66
Grand Challenges 67
Is My Library that Grand? 71
6. Communities: Expect a Platform 75
Library as Platform 76
Libraries as Place 83
7. Librarians: Expect Brilliance 87
Librarian by Hire 87
Librarian by Degree 88
Librarian by Spirit 92
Salzburg and a Few of My Favorite Things 93
The Facilitators 96
Adding Up a Librarian 98
8. Action Plan: Expect More 101
Action Plan for Great Libraries 101
Action Plan for Bad Libraries 103
Action Plan for Good Libraries 111
About the Author 113
Index—Expect More 115

Sample Chapter:  The Arab Spring: Expect the Exceptional

The Arab Spring had come to Egypt. In early 2011, on the heels of a successful revolution in Tunisia, Egyptians took to the streets to demand reforms from a government regime that had been in power for nearly 30 years. While much of the media fixated on protestors who occupied Tahrir Square in the Egyptian capital of Cairo, many protests started in the port city of Alexandria. In Alexandria, as in Cairo, people from across generations and the socio-economic scale rioted to demand liberty, justice, and social equity. In an attempt to restore the constitution, what was seen primarily as a peaceful uprising lead to the deaths of at least 846 people, and an additional 6,000 injured[1] across Egypt. On January 28 at 6 pm, after the prisons had opened, releasing murderers and rapists onto the street, all security withdrew from the streets of Alexandria. Roving gangs of looters took to the streets to take advantage of the chaos.

In Egypt’s port city, the violence and looting devastated government buildings. Where offices once stood, only burned-out rubble remained. Protestors went from building to building pulling down the symbols of corrupt power. Some looters and protestors then began to eye the Library of Alexandria.

President Mubarak, the focus of the uprising, had opened the modern library in 2002 at a cost of about $220 million. According to the library’s website, Mubarak built it to “recapture the spirit of openness and scholarship of the original,”[2] the famous ancient Library of Alexandria—one of the wonders of the ancient world.

As it became apparent that the library might be in danger, protestors joined hands and surrounded the Library of Alexandria. Their goal was not to attack it or raid it, but to protect it. Throughout the protests and looting, the protestors—women, men and children—stood firm and protected the library. In essence, they were retaking the library for the people. After the uprising had subsided, when President Mubarak had stepped down and the protestors were celebrating their victory around the country, not a window of the library had been broken, not a rock thrown against its walls. Why, in the midst of tearing down the regime, did the people of the nation protect the library?


Why are stories like this, while maybe not quite so dramatic, repeated across the U.K. and the United States? As cities faced with a devastating financial crisis sought to close library branches, citizens rallied. Protestors disrupted town halls and city council meetings. Citizens picketed, and in Philadelphia, the City Council went so far as to sue the Mayor over the closing of libraries.

In Kenya, the government is building public libraries throughout the country, in rural and urban areas alike. Where the communities are too remote, they have built book carts—5,000 books in a wooden cart pulled by donkeys. In the even more remote northern sections of the country, they strap carts and tents to camels. Inside the villages, the carts are opened and the tents erected to allow parents and children an opportunity to learn. In these villages, camels provide transportation, labor, milk, and meat; even their dung is dried to power stoves. Now this essential animal is seen as providing another critical service: bringing knowledge to the people.

In the countryside along the coast of Colombia, Luis Soriano urges along his two donkeys, Alfa and Beto. On the backs of the donkeys are crates of books. Luis, a primary school teacher by trade, carries a sign reading “Biblioburro.” He is bringing books to small villages and spreading literacy throughout the countryside to children who have seen too much violence and conflict for their years. He began with 70 books. Through donations he has grown the collection to over 4,800 volumes, far past the capacity of his four-legged friends. He now houses the collection in a half-built room that has become an official satellite to the Santa Maria Community Library, some 180 miles away[3].

We find libraries in the finest castles of Europe and in the midst of the Occupy Wall Street populist protests in the States. Libraries are embraced by the elite and the commoner alike. We find librarianship in jungles and deserts, in schools, corporations, and in government agencies.

When we try to discover why, we find that there is power in libraries and steel in librarians. It goes deeper than tradition, buildings, and books. The reason for the protests and protectiveness over libraries is not found in collections of materials or columns and architecture. To find the answer to this riddle, one must look past the buildings and the books to the professionals who, throughout history, have served humanity’s highest calling—to learn.

Libraries and librarians stood at the center of a growing Egyptian empire in the third century BC and the expansion of mathematics in Arabia in the fourteenth century.[4] Libraries helped bring Europe out of the Dark Ages and into the Renaissance, and helped democracy thrive in a post-colonial United States of America. Now, with the advent of the Internet and a new digital age, librarians are once again pointing the way towards a better society, founded in knowledge and giving respect to diverse views. This book is about what libraries and librarians can tell us about creating a brighter future and what kind of libraries and librarians we are going to need to make that future a reality.

Today’s librarians are using the lessons learned over that nearly 3,000-year history to forge a new librarianship based not on books and artifacts but on knowledge and community. They are taking advantage of the technological leaps of today to empower our communities to improve. The librarians of today are radical positive change agents in our classrooms, boardrooms, and legislative chambers. They built the web before we called it the web. They were crowdsourcing knowledge and searching through mountains of information before Google, before Facebook, and even before indoor plumbing. Today’s new librarians are not threatened or made obsolete by the Net. They are pushing the Net forward and shaping the world around you—often without your notice.

The field of librarianship represents an investment of nearly $7 billion in the U.S. and $31 billion worldwide.[5] In an age when traditional institutions are declining, library usage has grown steadily over the past twenty years. Did you know that there are more public libraries than McDonald’s restaurants in the U.S. and that Americans go to libraries nearly three times more often than they go to the movies?[6] By understanding librarians and libraries we can understand how to build credibility and trust in a community overwhelmed with change and choices. We can discover how to create an environment to disagree and maintain a civil discourse. Ultimately, by understanding new librarianship, we can even understand something as grand as the role of a citizen in society.

Perhaps the biggest “why” question you can ask, and the one at the center of this book, is why do so many people see librarianship as antiquated, conservative, and less-than-inspiring? Why is it that while folks love the idea of libraries and librarians, they are quick to limit them to books or children, or simply think of them as historical holdovers? The answer is not that these people are wrong, but that they need to expect more. Too many libraries are about books. Too many librarians are reliving history and are stuck in a sort of professional conservatism that favors what they do over why they do it. Too many librarians see their collections, not the community, as their jobs. Too many libraries are seeking to survive instead of innovate, and promote the love of reading over the empowerment of the populations they serve. I am not claiming that these librarians are the majority, but they are too numerous and their communities (you) expect too little of them.

This book is written not for those librarians but for the people who either support or oversee libraries. This includes college provosts, students, parents, board members, volunteers, and, well, just about everyone who has ever gone to school or pays local taxes. You need to know what libraries are capable of, and you need to raise the bar on your expectations.

Throughout this book you are going to find examples of amazing libraries and librarians. Today, many in the field would call them exceptional, just as you might call the librarians in Egypt and Kenya exceptional. This is the root of the problem. These libraries may have been in exceptional circumstances, but their dedication to service and their connection to their communities should not be seen as exceptions to the norm. They should be the norm to which all libraries aspire.

In this book, you are going to read about a public library that has created a Fab Lab—a space where the community can work with 3D printers and make new inventions. You are going to read about a school library where the librarian is too busy helping teachers raise their performance to shelve books. You are going to read about librarians creating new companies in rural Illinois and transforming lives in Dallas. These are brilliant libraries and librarians, but if you see them as exceptional—as above and beyond the norm—you expect too little of your library.

Here is the key to a successful library: you. In a city or a Fortune 500 company, the library must shape itself around you and the goals of your community. If your community strives for greatness, the library should be great. If you are concerned about the future, or the economy, or the future of democratic discourse in this country, your library should be concerned as well. If you make these expectations known, if you arm yourself with what is possible and not what is, then the library and librarians can meet those expectations and goals. Of course, this is a two-way street. Great libraries expect a lot of their communities as well. Yes, great libraries require financial support, but even more than that they require open communication about your needs, your challenges, and your dreams.

This book will not be a love letter to libraries. I am not trying to turn you into a librarian. Instead, this is meant to begin an honest and realistic dialog about the place of libraries and librarians in your communities. Join me now as we explore the true potential of libraries and librarians.

[1]—Yes, a librarian and university professor just cited Wikipedia. I do it a lot throughout the book. There is nothing inherently wrong or non-credible in Wikipedia. In fact, it is more transparent in the construction of information than most published encyclopedias. I cite it because it is easy for the reader to get to, it is a great jumping-off point through references to other works, and I have verified the information in other sources…like we all should do.

[6] American Library Association (2010). Quotable facts about America’s libraries. Retrieved from

Announcing Expect More: Demanding Better Libraries For Today’s Complex World

Announcing Expect More: Demanding Better Libraries For Today’s Complex World
Book Cover
Now available at

Libraries have existed for millennia, but today many question their necessity. In an ever more digital and connected world, do we still need places of books in our towns, colleges, or schools? If libraries aren’t about books, what are they about?

In Expect More, David Lankes, winner of the 2012 ABC-CLIO/Greenwood Award for the Best Book in Library Literature, walks you through what to expect out of your library. Lankes argues that, to thrive, communities need libraries that go beyond bricks and mortar, and beyond books and literature. We need to expect more out of our libraries. They should be places of learning and advocates for our communities in terms of privacy, intellectual property, and economic development.

This book is written for the people who support and oversee libraries. This includes college provosts, students, parents, board members, volunteers, and, well, just about everyone who has ever gone to school or pays taxes. You need to know what libraries are capable of, and you need to raise the bar on your expectations. Expect More is a rallying call to communities to increase their expectations for great libraries.

Buy the book in print at CreateSpace (the preferred retailer) and Amazon. It is also available as an eBook from Smashwords for all major platforms.

For more information on the book, to order a copy, or to join the conversation about improving libraries, go to the book’s website

For a high resolution copy of the cover click here.

People at the Center

Another from a series of short videos on rethinking libraries…this one about what do you put at the center of the library: