The Heart of Librarianship

The Heart of Librarianship: Attentive, Positive, and Purposeful Change

by Michael Stephens

While full of tales of innovation, ideas that challenge our practice, and a regular dose of critical thinking, these pages are likewise full of humanism and heart.  (from the foreword by Brian Kenney, Director at White Plains (NY) Public Library)


For me, the heart of librarianship is learning. It’s a cyclical process of support, engagement, and discovery with deep roots in the concepts of service, access, and freedom to pursue interests of all kinds. No matter what type of institution, someone is gaining knowledge, finding information, or creating something new based on our facilitation. And in my opinion, the role of facilitator and guide is best delivered with humanity and heart. (Fom the Preface)

Adaptation to change that’s based on thoughtful planning and grounded in the mission of libraries: it’s a model that respected LIS thinker and educator Michael Stephens terms “hyperlinked librarianship.” And the result, for librarians in leadership positions as well as those working on the front lines, is flexible librarianship that’s able to stay closely aligned with the needs and wants of library users. In this collection of essays from his “Office Hours” columns in Library Journal, Stephens explores the issues and emerging trends that are transforming the profession. Among the topics he discusses are

  • the importance of accessible, welcoming, and responsive library environments that invite open and equitable participation, and which factors are preventing many libraries from ramping up community engagement and user-focused services;
  • challenges, developments, and emerging opportunities in the field, including new ways to reach users and harness curiosity;
  • considerations for prospective librarians, from knowing what you want out of the profession to learning how to aim for it;
  • why LIS curriculum and teaching styles need to evolve;
  • mentoring and collaboration; and
  • the concept of the library as classroom, a participatory space to experiment with new professional roles, new technologies, and new ways of interacting with patrons.

Bringing together ideas for practice, supporting evidence from recent research, and insights into what lies ahead, this book will inform and inspire librarians of all types.

Sample sections courtesy of ALA.

Chapters include:

  • The Hyperlinked Librarian
  • Scanning the Horizon
  • Considerations for Prospective Librarians
  • Communities of Practice
  • A Curriculum for Librarianship
  • Infinite Learning



  • 176 pages
  • 6″ x 9″
  • Softcover
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-8389-1454-0


Saturday June 25th – ALA Orlando

AC16 author signs.indd