Respected US professor says libraries are places of knowledge creation and librarians our educators

David Lankes CILIP Conference Keynote, Ant Clausen photography

In his exclusive UK appearance on his worldwide tour, distinguished US scholar R. David Lankes said librarians have the power to change the world by “promoting informed democracy” as he addressed delegates in a keynote speech at the opening of the CILIP Conference 2015 in Liverpool.

Speaking to nearly 600 members of the UK and international library and information professions gathered at St. George’s Hall, Lankes said:

“Libraries are not about books, and librarians are not about collections, nor are they about waiting to serve. Our libraries are mandated, mediated spaces owned by the community, and librarians are educators dedicated to knowledge creation who exist to unleash the expertise held within their community.”

Professor and Dean’s Scholar for the New Librarianship at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies, Lankes was the opening keynote ahead of human rights activist and Liberty Director Shami Chakrabarti, science fiction author, journalist and activist Cory Doctorow, and Guardian columnist Erwin James.

Focusing on future information opportunities and challenges, the conference brings together members of the skilled library, knowledge and information profession working across all sectors in the UK and overseas. The importance of information and the need for a skilled workforce to properly understand and manage information were highlighted by Merseyside-born President of CILIP, Jan Parry, who formed part of the Secretariat to the Hillsborough Independent Panel. Parry led and planned the Panel disclosure of information at Liverpool Cathedral.

The conference is an opportunity to explore the Ideas Box, a major new innovation designed to enable access to vital information and culture to help individuals and communities rebuild themselves in humanitarian crises. Pioneered by Bibliothèques Sans Frontières/Libraries Without Borders, the durable, portable library in a box is deployed to refugee camps and other remote or vulnerable populations in need anywhere in the world and set up in under an hour.

Organised by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, the CILIP conference 2015 is the largest UK gathering of national and international library, knowledge and information professionals.


Press contact:

Cat Cooper, Communications and Campaigns Manager CILIP
Tel: 020 7255 0653
Mobile: 07867 455070

Notes to editors

The CILIP Conference 2015 takes place at St. George's Hall Liverpool, July 2-3. The conference is based on four main themes reflecting top level trends which have been identified by the profession as playing a key role in shaping the future information environment: Information Management, Information Literacy and Digital Inclusion, Demonstrating Value and Digital Futures and Technology.

About R. David Lankes

R. David Lankes is a professor and Dean’s Scholar for the New Librarianship at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies and director of the Information Institute of Syracuse. Lankes has authored, co-authored or edited fifteen books, written over 30 book chapters and journal articles and numerous pieces for the professional audience. He has been a keynote speaker around the globe, and given over 187 presentations at national and international conferences. In 2012 his book, The Atlas of New Librarianship, won the 2012 ABC-CLIO/Greenwood Award for the Best Book in Library Literature.


CILIP is the leading professional body for librarians, information specialists and knowledge managers. CILIP’s vision is a fair and economically prosperous society underpinned by literacy, access to information and the transfer of knowledge. CILIP is a registered charity, no. 313014.

About Bibliothèques Sans Frontières/Libraries Without Borders

Libraries Without Borders, a French-American not for profit, founded in 2007 by the historian Patrick Weil, has pioneered new ways to bring culture and knowledge-based aid to vulnerable populations around the world. Working in partnership with Philipe Stark and the United Nations Refugee Agency, the Ideas Box represents a major innovation in terms of access to information and culture in humanitarian crises.