Tuesday, March 31, 2009

CIL2009: Library Without Walls: Meeting Place of and for People!

Part of the joy of Computers in Libraries is the networking, and often that occurs of coffee, drinks and meals. Last night, five of us headed to the restaurant at the Marriott Courtyard for dinner and an extended conversation. (We were indeed the noisy table.) We talked about sessions, about things we have learned elsewhere, about technology in our lives, and much more. While we kept saying we were going to Twitter different comments, we didn't, but the best Twitter post from dinner was "this web thing could be big." That attracted comments both in Twitter and Facebook. Context? Early on in the Internet era, some people saw the promise, while others were skeptical. Could it be a big thing? Yes. Has it been a big thing? For sure! And some of the people here at CIL helped to lay the library-Internet groundwork for the rest of us.

Onto this morning's keynote with Erik Boekesteijn and Paul Holdengraber.

Erik Boekesteijn -- Delft Public Library -- They have looked at different best practices in libraries. One of the people they came across in their work was Paul Holdengraber at the New York Public Library (Director of Public Programs). The video they shot at NYPL during their tour of of America is beautiful (2007)!

Paul was attracted to NYPL when we was asked "to come to New York to oxygenate the library." He wanted to create a library without walls. He wanted to create a library that was exciting and sexy.

Paul has a wonderful sense of humor! He has had a very international library. Born in the U.S., but lived in many countries.

Great quote: There are two types of PhDs - a brilliant PhD and a finished PhD! (Addendum - This was a quote from his father. He said afterward that his father would be happy to know that this quote was retweeted.)

Paul has been an academic, worked as a fellow at the Getty, and now at NYPL.

A museum is not a resting home for old masters.

BTW I had thought that Paul was going to interview Erik. Erik was a bit nervous beforehand, which I guess led me to that conclusion. Paul is so effervescent and verbose...and VERY interesting!

Al library is a public place where people engage in something that is extremely private (learning, self improvement).

People are hungry for substance. People want to be fed and nourished.

They showed a video of the variety of programs that Paul has hosted and OMG! He has hosted "the greats" at NYPL. (Live from New York Public Library) The email list for the series went from 500 to 25,000!

Paul said "the important thing is to begin." He believes in asking for forgiveness, not for permission. (A rule that many innovators live by.)

He wants to make NYPL irresistible. He wants to attract all ages through his programming. It is obvious that he understands the power of new technology.

How do conversations continue to have a life? Those conversations continue on blogs, Twitter, Flickr, etc. He thinks that this use of technology is marvelous.

Erik - Maybe a librarian needs to become a live-brarian/life-brarian.

The books on the shelf are there. What should we do about it? Need to make people desire them. Libraries are places of desire.

We believe in communicating/transmitting that experience of the book.

Paul - "All I really need is for my mouth to move." That is the technology he needs in order to do his job.

He is fascinating at how library might work to make us focus. Making our attention-span longer. A repository where we learn things. Focus out attention on new discoveries. Libraries are a great place for opportunities.

He is interested in the face-to-face encounters.

The library should be porous. It should be everywhere.

Paul closed with the story of how Barack Obama found his community organizing job in Chicago. How? Using books at the New York Public Library. (This story has been told in the New York Times this winter.)

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