February 17, 2018

John D. Shank | Movers & Shakers 2005

The Blended Librarian


Early in his library career, John Shank realized that not only were students choosing Internet resources over library resources, but faculty members were, too. This may well be our own fault, Shank says. “For the most part, academic libraries have been absent in the design, development, and implementation of courseware.”

Shank is now widely recognized as a librarian who’s likely to change that. In his current positions as instructional design librarian at Penn State Berks – Lehigh Valley College and director of the college’s Center for Learning Technologies, he has an unusual platform for building faculty-library partnerships. He directs the college’s Technology Grant Curriculum program, in which 30 faculty have participated; manages its technology-enhanced curriculum initiative grants; and assists more than 80 faculty in adopting the course management system, through workshops and instruction.

His supervisor, Deena Morganti, says Shank is successful “because he is very personable and enthusiastic, but also because he can explain technology in clear terms, making it less intimidating.”

Steven Bell, Philadelphia University’s library director and a 2002 Mover & Shaker, teamed up with Shank to explore a concept they call the Blended Librarian: someone “who combines traditional library and information technology skills with instructional design and technology skills as well as knowledge of collections of instructional resources and current trends in developing and distributing instructional resources.”

Together they built a national community of librarians, instructional designers, and faculty “to develop strategies, techniques, skills, and tools to permit all academic librarians to advance their integration into the teaching and learning process” (http://blendedlibrarian.org).

It may be a long journey, convincing courseware producers and faculty to integrate resources and services into web-enhanced courses. But Shank has drawn the road map for the trip.



Current Position Instructional Design Librarian and Director for the Center for Learning Technologies, Penn State Berks – Lehigh Valley College

Degree MLS, Drexel University, 2000

Physical Therapy Dancing with his one-year-old daughter, Katie, to her favorite tune, Barry Manilow’s “It’s a Miracle”