Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Turning the Page to Better Libraries | Guest Speaker Advises Librarians to Work Alongside Patrons

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Turning the Page to Better Libraries | Guest Speaker Advises Librarians to Work Alongside Patrons

Article excerpt

SARASOTA COUNTY

SARASOTA -- To best serve their communities, librarians have to stand beside their patrons and learn with them rather than simply teach, R. David Lankes, the director of the University of South Carolina's School of Library and Information Science, said Friday.

Lankes was the keynote speaker in a full day of development events for the staff of Sarasota County's library system. The remaining sessions were held at Selby Library and included talks on journalism and information services. Lankes framed his lecture around recent events and controversies, such as the presidential election, fake news and alternative facts, to show how the current climate has made this an important time to be a librarian.

"It's a different environment and how we respond to it and what we do about it and how we connect to it ... these things are really important," Lankes said at the Asolo Repertory Theatre. "This desire for accountability

takes us to a really fundamental level of why are we doing this, how do we play this, and what do we do back and forth."

Lankes urged the librarians to rethink the way they view classic request scenarios, such as at the reference desk. When a patron approaches, Lankes suggested replacing the phrase "How may I help you? …

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