Catch a great archived webinar!

Happy Friday! If you missed the live event yesterday, be sure to take some time and listen to the archive of Genesis Hansen’s webinar on TEDx for Libraries: Dynamic programming for FREE!. It was full of great information (Genesis actually put together a TEDx event). As Genesis says:

TEDx events give libraries a great way to provide top-notch programming to their communities, for free! Using free content from A-list TED conference speakers and a proven program model, you can tailor an event to your community’s needs, whether you’re planning for 15 or 100 people.

If you’ve never had a chance to listen to a TED talk, check out their website!

Stacey Aldrich, Libraries, and Planning for the Future

Acting State Librarian of the California State Library Stacey Aldrich will be helping current and prospective library leaders use current tools to explore the future in her Infopeople workshop, “Building Leadership Skills: Planning for the Future,” scheduled in libraries throughout California in June 2009.

“We’ll be looking at what kinds of sources you should be scanning for clues to the future and why; what kinds of triggers you should be looking for; and how you ask the right questions about the future,” she said during a conversation earlier this week. “The key here is that the more tools that you have for thinking about the future, the more proactive you can be about creating the future. This workshop is an opportunity to learn and practice some future-thinking tools and then spend some time thinking about the future so you can find opportunities.”

Included in the curriculum are explorations of scenario planning, a concept explored by futurist in his book The Art of the Long View: Planning for the Future in an Uncertain World; environmental scanning; and top trends which library leaders need to watch.

“We need to look outside of libraries for the forces and trends that are changing people’s expectations about information, technology, and community,” Aldrich says. “If we’re asking the right questions about our future, we can keep developing services that meet the needs of the people we serve.”

Among the sources she cites are the TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) conferences with talks which are archived at Ted.com; the Pop!Tech conferences with similarly archived materials at Pop!Tech.org; and trendwatching.com, which offers a variety of resources including free monthly “trend briefings.”

Using these tools will help library leaders engage in more effective environmental scanning and scenario thinking. Environmental scanning, she suggests, is “taking an interest in observing the world around you…reading and observing things you may never do,” and scenario building, “in its simplest terms, is creating stories about the future to help your library think about possible futures, and then build strategies that will help you thrive in each of them, and to help your library create its preferred future.”

The workshop is the latest offering in Infopeople’s multi-stage Eureka! Leadership Program with its “Building Leadership Skills” series, and it will remain available as a contract workshop through Infopeople for those who are not able to attend the currently scheduled sessions. Registration ($75 per person) for “Building Leadership Skills: Planning for the Future” and other “Building Leadership Skills” sessions is continuing on the Infopeople website; instructors for other sessions in the series include Marie Radford and Steve Albrecht.

Sessions of “Building Leadership Skills: Planning for the Future” are currently scheduled for Buena Park Library District (6/4/2009); San Diego County Library Headquarters (6/5/2009); San Francisco Public Library – Latino/Hispanic Community Meeting Room (6/11/2009); Belle Cooledge Library in Sacramento (6/12/2009); Fresno – Woodward Park (6/16/2009); and San Jose Martin Luther King, Jr. Library (6/23/2009).

TED@Palm Springs: Learning at the Speed of Light

I have always been amazed by the amount of learning which quickly occurs in a one-day Infopeople workshop, a four-session Infopeople online course, or even a one-hour Infopeople webinar. And I’ve been equally fascinated by how much can be absorbed through an 18-minute TED (Technology, Education, Design) talk. So to watch nearly 50 of those offerings and countless other brief (three-minute) sessions as they were being delivered in a four-day period during the 2009 TED Conference simulcast event in Palm Springs last week has left me nearly numb. Overwhelmed. Exhilarated. Exhausted. Inspired. And looking forward to discussing and digesting them with friends and colleagues in the weeks and months to come.
TED organizers, as mentioned in an earlier Infoblog posting, have already begun adding the 2009 talks to those previously available at TED.com. The talk by Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates was online even before any of us had left the Long Beach and Palm Springs sites, and Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert’s well received and moving “A Different Way to Think About Creative Genius,” in which she explores the theme of how a writer deals with unexpected and tremendous success and the realization that one’s greatest work might already have been produced, is also now available for those who missed the original—or simply want to see it again. And again. And again.
Other bloggers have done a great job of temporarily and copiously filling the TED gap by posting summaries and highlights of many of the sessions—Global Voices Co-Founder Ethan Zuckerman’s is one of the most detailed I’ve found; just when you think you’ve read everything on a page, you see that there are links to additional pages which cover earlier TED 2009 sessions. And one “TEDster” from the United Kingdom, in addition to providing glimpses of what she had attended, went so far as to write a complimentary piece about those of us who were working at the book-selling operation in Palm Springs—her point being that even the TED bookstores (“part literary haven, part neighbourhood hang-out” and organized by Neal Sofman of Bookshop West Portal in San Francisco) were a vital part of this community of learner-thinker-activists who gather to be inspired and then return to countries all over the world ready to be part of the process of creating positive change.
A community of learners at this level is an astonishing thing to see. It’s a gathering where neurological anthropologist Oliver Sacks starts off a day with a description of a sight-impaired woman’s visual hallucinations, and is later followed by Elizabeth Gilbert on the theme of the creative muse. Then architect Daniel Libeskind provides a whirlwind tour of his work, and later that afternoon polymorphic playwright Sarah Jones does variations on a presentation currently available for viewing on YouTube. That evening, astronomer Jill Tarter leads us through the stars and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, oceanographer Sylvia Earle takes us in the opposite direction to explore the depths beneath the surface of our oceans, and Venezuelan conductor Jose Antonio Abreu shows us how young musicians are made. We explore the world of molecular biology and innovations in the study of viruses; learn about high-rise (vertical) farming in cities rather than in more traditional agricultural settings; and spend part of another evening with Bonk author Mary Roach telling us “Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Orgasms” (and may not have wanted to know, when you get right down to it).
And before you know it, four very intense days in a community of learners are over. But, like any great learning experience, the pay-off is just beginning.

TED@Palm Springs: Ideas, Communities of Learning, and Dancing as Fast as We Can

To be working at the TED (Technology, Education, Design) Conference simulcast event in Palm Springs on a day when Infopeople announced Linda Demmers’ “Creating Learning Spaces in Your Library” webinar is yet another reminder of how wonderfully intertwined our various communities of learning have become in an onsite-online world.
Demmers, through her online Infopeople presentation, will be helping viewers explore how libraries can play larger educational roles in their communities. TED, in its 25th annual gathering of dynamic and innovative speakers, is bringing members of its worldwide learning community together in its new Long Beach home; those live Long Beach presentations (with approximately 1,300 attendees present), combined with the simulcast version here in Palm Springs (with an additional 400 people viewing and discussing the live large-screen presentations), is a trainer-teacher-learner’s dream come true.
The usual wide range of inspiring speakers on a variety of topics included futurist Juan Enriquez (author of As the Future Catches You); P.W. Singer (Wired for War); Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates talking about philanthropy and, in the second half of the talk, the importance of supporting great teachers; and, Seth Godin, drawing from his book Tribes to discuss how everyone has a leadership role in a Web 2.0 world.
Two talks with film previews were among the highlights of the late-afternoon/early evening session. Producer Jake Eberts provided a stunning nine-minute preview of Oceans, a beautifully moving underwater follow-up to Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud’s Winged Migration (scheduled for release in France this fall and a U.S. premiere on Earth Day—April 22—in 2010), and introduced Perrin to the audience. We didn’t even have a moment to catch our breath before Earth From Above photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand introduced his upcoming feature-length film Home, which will be released in its entirety online for free downloads in June 2009 and will also be distributed in a variety of other ways. Which raises an interesting question for libraries interested in creating learning spaces: might those with meeting rooms or more formal auditoriums plan ahead and access the free downloads so that library members and guests can gather to view the film and then engage in discussions immediately following the presentation? In an onsite-online world, the possibilities are increasing every day.
This being TED, surprises were the order of the day, and the Palm Springs version didn’t let us down: the first of the four days of TED talks ended with a brief and lively training session led by YouTube “Where in the Hell is Matt?” celebrity Matthew Harding, whose tongue-in-cheek videos show him dancing (intentionally) badly in visually stunning settings all over the world. Harding later confirmed, in a brief conversation, that his efforts to teach the nearly 1,700 audience members split between the two Southern California TED locations a few simple dance steps from India was his largest attempt to date. And even if we couldn’t dance to save our lives, we would have had to have been pretty curmudgeonly to not walk away from this “blended” joyful learning experience without large smiles and a sense of even better presentations waiting to be heard when everything reconvened this morning.
N.B.—To view TED talks, please visit the TED archives online; to participate in Linda Demmers February 18, 2009 “Creating Learning Spaces in Your Library” Infopeople webcast, please visit the Infopeople site.