Staff Name: Jennifer Spriggs
Workshop: General Session Paul Holdengraber - MLA 2009
Library System: Western Maryland Regional Library
Date: May 14, 2009
Summary: Paul Holdengraber of the New York Public Library opened the 2009 MLA conference with a bang by sharing his creation of and experiences with the "Live from the NYPL" event series. Hired by the NYPL to "oxygenate the library" with public programs, Holdengraber established the "Live" event series which now attracts sold-out audiences with the average age being 41. Referencing the two famous lions sitting at the entrance to the building, Holdengraber wanted to "make the lions roar" with his event series.
Instead of lecturing to the crowd, Holdengraber mimicked the cognitive theater model used in his programs and chatted with Elizabeth Cromwell and Darrell Batson in easy chairs at the front of the room. He shared his philosophy behind the live series and also some of the most memorable personalities and moments that have taken place. He wants to give the audience what they didn't know they wanted, noting the obvious challenges of creating a moment of focus, resonance and wonder in an age of distraction. He gave some practical tips to the audience, most notably to collect emails and to migrate printed stuff to email.
Aha! to share: Collect emails as much as possible - a free way to build a marketing list. Get 1 or 2 big name stars at beginning of event series. Be persistent - keep trying to get the speakers you want.
Questions to ask yourself: "How do you manage to be attentive in an age of distractions?"
Quotes that made an impression: "People need a place to learn from each other and meet each other." "If I know where imagination came from I would go there more often" "Give library staff the power to fail." "Give the license to do." "Having interests makes you interesting."
Websites to share:http://www.nypl.org/research/chss/pep/peplist.cfm
Rating: Five Star