There is Nothing New Under the Sun?: “New Librarianship” and the Theological Library
The entirety of R. David Lankes’s model of “New Librarianship” rests on his expression of its mission: “The mission of librarians is to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities.” The present essay defines and expand upon the facets of “facilitating,” “knowledge creation,” and “communities,” and explores the shapes these may take in theological libraries in particular. Regarding “community”, the essay considers the challenge of serving both academics and ministers and how it might be possible to foster a less disjointed community. The question of what “knowledge creation” looks like in the fields of religious studies and pastoral training, and what this uniqueness means for the library are also considered. Finally, the author offers some preliminary ideas of what facilitating this knowledge creation might look like in the context of a theological library. Current shifts within academe and its libraries require a shift in the way librarians (particularly theological librarians) think about service, resources, and their role in the education process as a whole.