I was very fortunate to attend TEDxLibrariansTO on Saturday. It was a wonderful success; congratulations to the organizers, Shelley Archibald and Fiacre O’Duinn, and to all the amazing presenters.

I was challenged, thrilled, annoyed, confused, and transformed. Exactly what you want a good conference to do.

So what did we talk about?

Revolution, libraryland, games, gamers, learning, choice, transhumanism, maker culture, rediscovering the self, neoliberalism, labour theory, change, community engagement, becoming leaders, making a different, social activism, reading, slow reading, discovery. We talked about librarians as thought leaders. We talked.

The highlight reel is too long, so let me recall one moment. At the end, when summarizing the day, Fiacre told about growing up poor in Ireland and how libraries and reading quite literally saved his life. Not a dry eye in the house. And a visceral and concrete reminder that what we do really does matter.

The audience was quite diverse; librarians from many different sectors and backgrounds; lots of grad students or recent grads. Not many senior library administrators, and this was very unfortunate. My peers missed an opportunity to engage in a vibrant discussion and to experience the dynamism that characterizes the profession at the moment.

Many thanks to the Ontario Library Association and the iSchool at UofT for their financial support and encouragement. It took vision to back this idea; they took a risk and it was richly rewarded.

I’m sure this isn’t uppermost on the mind of the organizers at the moment but we should start thinking about doing this again. It was too much fun and too important.



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1 Response to TEDxLibrariansTO

  1. Cintia Anselmo says:

    Hello Mike,
    As a new library-school grad (’10), I was so glad to engage in Saturday’s event and meet so many wonderful folks with so much to say! I echo your sentiments at how unfortunate the lack of senior library admin. was. It was a great event nonetheless. Thanks for being a part of it!

    Ps: I have also already started pestering Fiacre and Shelley to begin planning the next installment of this hopefully-annual “living room” event! 🙂

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