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Events: Sherrer Lecture


Shannon Mattern

Professor of Media Studies, The New School 

Local Codes:  Forms of Spatial Knowledge

Friday, October 19, 2018
3:00 PM, Reception to Follow
Gregg Pavilion


How might a city come to know itself through its mediated representations -- through maps and models, data sets and network diagrams? How might communities join forces with public institutions to generate, steward, circulate, and activate those resources? And how might these collaborations help not only to generate protocols for the critical, responsible use of spatial data, but also to shape the design, maintenance, and administration of the spaces they represent and the values those spatial practices embody? In this talk, I'll address these questions though four case studies: (1) the Civic Switchboard project, which aims to connect libraries and community information networks into "civic data ecosystems"; (2) the Office for Creative Research's traveling Maps Rooms, which provide community spaces for collaborative experimental mapping; (3) the San Francisco Public Library and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's joint-Public Knowledge Project, which examines the media through which a rapidly evolving city can come to understand, and potentially redirect, its transformation; and (4) Peta Bencana, an open-source, community-led platform featuring data about floods and water infrastructure in Jakarta. 



Shannon Mattern is a Professor of Media Studies at The New School. Her writing and teaching focus on archives, libraries, and other media spaces; media infrastructures; spatial epistemologies; and mediated sensation and exhibition. She is the author of The New Downtown Library: Designing with Communities; Deep Mapping the Media City; and Code and Clay, Data and Dirt, all published by University of Minnesota Press. She contributes a regular long-form column about urban data and mediated infrastructures to Places, a journal focusing on architecture, urbanism, and landscape, and she collaborates on public design and interactive projects and exhibitions. You can find her at

About the Sherrer Lecture

The Johannah Sherrer Memorial Lecture in Library Service was established in 1999 by James J. Kopp to commemorate the contributions and legacies of a respected friend, colleague, and champion of service. Johannah was the Director of Lewis & Clark's Aubrey R. Watzek Library from July 1993 until her death in September 1998. 

Known for her warm smile, her boundless energy, vitality, and drive, her compassion and friendliness to all creatures great and small, and her devotion to service in all its connotations, Johannah Sherrer was a friend, a colleague, a mentor, a leader, and a champion of libraries.

Johannah came to Lewis & Clark in 1993 from Duke University where she served as Head of Reference.  She held positions as Coordinator of Reference Services and Collection Development and then Director of Public Services at the University of Northern Colorado.  She worked at the University of Dayton from 1970 to 1979, initially as Reference Librarian and then as Head of Reference.  She received her MSLS from the University of Kentucky, an MA in History from the University of Dayton, and her BA degree from the University of Portland.

Johannah authored and co-authored numerous articles and book chapters and was a frequent speaker and panelist at library conferences.  She chaired the ALA's Professional Ethics Committee and several other committees at the national, regional, and state levels.

Previous Sherrer Lectures

2017 -- "Library Values and the Call to Service in Academic Libraries"

Scott Walter, DePaul University


2016 -- "An Imperfect Effort to Build the Perfect Academic Press"

Bryn Geffert, Amherst College

2015 -- "Google Searching for Black Girls: Old Media Stereotypes in New Media Practices"

Safiya Umoja Noble, University of California, Los Angeles

2014 -- "Discovering Information:  Investigations into How Students Search"

Andrew Asher, Indiana University

2013 -- "What Librarians and Faculty Should Know about Today's Students and Their Research Practices"

Alison J. Head, Project Information Literacy

2012 -- "Coming Soon to Campus:  The New "Free Agent" Learner - Are You Ready?" 
Julie Evans, Project Tomorrow 

2011 -- "Forward Thinking: Aligning Library Services with Faculty Needs"
Roger C. Schonfeld, ITHAKA S+R

2010 -- "Think with Me: The Possibilities of Public Conversations in Cultural Institutions"
David Carr, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

2009 -- "Straws In the Wind: Emerging Models of Library Service"
Lizabeth (Betsy) A. Wilson, University of Washington

2008 -- "Aligning Academic Libraries with Real User Needs"
Susan Gibbons, University of Rochester

2007 -- "A Convergence of Pathways:  Re-imagining Image Collections for Tomorrow's Teachers and Learners"
Elisa Lanzi, Smith College

2006 -- "Peering Through the Net:  Student Perspectives on the Net Generation--A Panel Presentation"
Craig Beebe, Tyler Caffall, Charlotte Helmer, Mahria Lebow, Mindy Ross, Eric Valentine

2004 -- "On the Same Path:  Faculty, Librarians, and IT Collaboration"
Susan L. Perry, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Council on Library and Information Resources

2003 -- "The Changing Face of Service:  A Panel Presentation"
Patricia Cutright, Victoria Hanawalt, John Helmer, Elaine Heras, Scott Smith

2002 -- "Service in a Collaborative Way"
Joan K. Lippincott, Coalition for Networked Information

2001 -- "The Importance of Being Learned"
Elizabeth A. Dupuis, University of Texas

2000 -- "The Fate of Service in an Increasingly Digital and Commercial World"
Jerry D. Campbell, University of Southern California

1999 -- "Service in a Complex Future"
Walt Crawford, Research Libraries Group