For video of sessions see the PROGRAM page

Friday and Saturday, November 15 and 16, 2019
University of Illinois School of Information Sciences
Rooms 126 and 131, 501 E. Daniel, Champaign, IL
Free to all, and since the event ended, registration has closed

In recent years, individual Illinois faculty and colleagues across the country paused to study the future of librarianship and library education.  Linda Smith co-authored the #infofuture study on LIS education (Abels et al 2017), and our own students organized and videoarchived a 2015 Symposium on LIS Education. These items are part of a growing bibliography for this event.

During the same period our school has been transforming. Over the last decade the School of Information Sciences (a charter member of the iSchool initiative) changed its name from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, dropping the words library and graduate. Since 2007 it has retained 11 tenure stream faculty, 1 from computer science, engineering, or statistics, and added 23 more, 10 from those fields. It has added two degrees: a master’s in information management and a bachelor’s in information sciences. Other LIS schools have done similarly. The changes have been in part market driven, as expected in difficult economic times and an expanding digital environment. The changes aim at new professions and new constituencies.

This semester we have new leadership in place guiding the school and the MSLIS program. It is a great time for the school to get above the day-to-day work and strengthen our collective understanding of the current and future importance of librarianship and related work for which we prepare so many of our students. This will help our LIS education to prepare graduates to meet challenges and opportunities in the global library environment of the 21st century.

We began in 1897 as the Illinois State Library School; it’s time to reflect. So, this November the school will assemble faculty, alumni, staff, students and friends to consider:

  • What makes a library?
  • What makes a librarian?
  • How might library education adjust towards what is important in librarianship?

We hope to cover many sides of these questions—including taking a global view appropriate to the subject and to our school’s international reach—and put our conclusions on the record to orient our work building the LIS program at the school and helping lead our field.

An Indaba is a middle-sized group discussing large-size issues. The word comes from the Zulu. A livestream will facilitate distant audiences. An online tool will gather ideas. An archive of the event will help the school use the ideas generated. Evening and daytime food offerings will encourage everyone to engage these questions in and between sessions. The event is initiated by the Community Informatics Research Lab and the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs, and co-sponsored by the iSchool MSLIS program committee and the iSchool.  Join us!