Posted by: bluesyemre | March 27, 2015

As libraries become cultural hubs, TEDx events bring the community in


When architect Joshua Prince-Ramus redesigned the Seattle Central Library, he and his team didn’t try to pinpoint the future of libraries or books. Instead, they rooted their blueprints in two foundational ideas: books are a form of technology, and the library is a social hub, as much as it is a house for media. Prince-Ramus didn’t know it then, but he had the right instinct. Eight years later, libraries around the world are adapting to a digital world by embracing their identity as a center for a community. One way they’re anchoring their new identity: by organizing TEDx events. 

There are three public libraries in Juneau, Alaska: a haven in the middle of a shopping center, an outpost housed with the local fire department, and a main branch atop a parking garage overlooking the Gastineau Channel. Robert Barr, the director for all three, was interested in organizing a TEDx event because the platform intersected with the library’s mission to foster a civically-engaged community. “Libraries are well-suited for the work of civic engagement because we’re one of those spaces in the community that value objectivity and neutrality,” he says. Barr saw the Juneau Public Library as the perfect space for community members to openly discuss, debate and absorb challenging and complex issues in society, brought up in TED Talks.

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