Wednesday, June 22, 2011

TEDxLibrariansTO - This Saturday, June 25

A few weeks ago, I was floored and honored to receive an invitation to speak at TEDx LibrariansTO, an independently organized TED event put together by two Toronto-based public librarians (Shelley Archibald and Fiacre O’Duinn) under the theme "Librarians as Thought Leaders." I accepted, of course, and am very happy to be listed among the amazing line-up of speakers the event will showcase - including my brilliant and lovely colleagues Siobhan Stevenson (Faculty of Information, University of Toronto) and Melanie McBride (Ryerson University, EDGE Lab), as well as John Miedema (author of Slow Reading, & Open Reading blog), Amy Buckland (McGill University Library,, Eric Boyd (Sense and Mita Williams (University of Windsor Library, New Jack Librarian). Here's the description from the event site:
Who inspires you?
We live in a time that is in need of inspiration. The aspirations of both individuals and society have always had a home within libraries and have traditionally found a voice through librarians.
The theme for TEDx LibrariansTO is Librarians as Thought Leaders. Come to the event and experience this incredible opportunity to hear librarians speak to the differences we make in the world and how we have, can and do lead and transform society.
The organizers of the event also launched a video challenge (which runs until Saturday), inviting anyone who wants to participate to submit a video that examines/explores/challenges the theme "Librarians as Thought Leaders." The submissions are collected/displayed on the TEDxLibrarians Youtube Channel - and they are absolutely worth checking out... the ones I've seen so far have been fascinating, thoughtful and inspirational.

My own presentation will highlight the narrative and storytelling dimensions of digital games, and consider how games present new challenges and opportunities (but especially opportunities) for librarians as curators, cultivators and advocates of children's culture and cultural autonomy. But really I want to provide an entry point for more librarians to start seeing games as potential forums for stories and storytelling, and to take on a more prominent role in digital game curation, the protection of intellectual freedoms (especially when children and youth are involved), and other areas that librarians are particularly excellent at.

One of the challenges of preparing a presentation that will be filmed and broadcast for this type of event is negotiating a new set of copyright requirements. I usually benefit enormously from the fact that my work is academic--educational and critical--and my presentations normally fall under fair dealing/fair use exceptions. But even though this event is also educational, critical and non-profit, the TEDx guidelines require that any images (or clips, music, etc.) used are used with permission or appropriate license. Which meant spending some time hunting down images licensed under creative commons attribution license. But I also took this as an opportunity to reach out to some of the creators of my favorite "examples" - the games and blogs that I most love referencing in my teaching and research. Which also happen to be largely independently owned and, as it turns out, amazingly supportive and enthusiastic people who not only gave me the permissions required, but also words of encouragement, advice and access to all sorts of high-def materials. So a very special thank-you-in-advance to Superbrothers, Tale of Tales, and Rule of Rose Mysteries.

TEDxLibrarians is a day-long event that will take place this coming Saturday, June 25th, from 8am to 4:30pm, here at the University of Toronto (St. George campus). Tickets are available here, and of course the talks will be filmed and posted online at some point in the future (eep).

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