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The Seven-Keynote MLS?

In my last post I wrote of Buffy Hamilton’s  Crowdsourcing Recommended Reads for Issues in School Librarianship.  Inspired by a request from her mentor and friend, Dr. Mary Ann Fitzgerald, of the University of Georgia, Buffy polled her PLN and compiled their impressive list of recommendations.

That post echoed a post I’ve left in draft form for months.  I so wanted to post, but I found myself sadly stumped.  And then Buffy reminded me that crowdsourcing might well be the solution for my troubling question, as well.

Here’s my question.  If you had to choose the very best video or video speech that either informs or inspires our profession, what would you choose?

I began this kind of thinking because I was provoked and inspired by Jonathan Fields’ post, The Seven-Keynote MBA.

Fields reflects on the value of his legal education and concludes:

It taught me how to analyze scenarios, options and organize thoughts and deal with tremendous amounts of stress. What it didn’t teach me a whole lot about, though, was the actual practice of being a lawyer.

And he adds:

Truth is, the great value in most MBA and JD programs can be boiled down to 5 to 10 talks, presentations, classes and conversations that changed the way you experienced the world. So, I figured, why go through 2 years of B-school, drop $100,000 (that’s $70k on school, $20k on booze and $10k on Red Bull) and give up two years of income, when you can experience your…7 extraordinary moments with 7 true visionaries…right here, right now…

Fields’ selections are powerful and inspiring well beyond the fields of business and law.  Each talk is well worth a visit.

And he got me wondering, are there talks would I select for our own field?  Which talks are most worthy of desert island packing for teacher librarians?  I don’t want to diminish the value of a professional degree, but I do know that I need that occasional shot of vision and that I need to continually rethink and retool in shifting landscapes.

As I reached back into my memory of speeches that inspired me, a few came immediately to mind.  But I was disappointed that not a single one was created by a teacher librarian.  (And I am hoping that’s where the crowdsourcing will come in handy!)

A few picks:

(Virtual) Dave Lankes presented a virtual keynote about the future of libraries, with an inspiring this I believe chorus: The Best Days of Libraries are Ahead of Us.  Dave offers several of his excellent presentations on this page, several overlap in their theme.  Among the many interesting ideas that continue to echo:  perhaps we should not be represented by a READ poster.  Wouldn’t  a QUESTION poster better represent us? And the notion that WE get to reinvent our own role in the universe.

Future of Libraries from R. David Lankes on Vimeo.

Slam poet Taylor Mali defends teachers in  What Teachers Make,  a powerful and poetic 3-minute response to the judgment:  Those who can’t do, teach.  Taylor’s poem inspired me to blog What Librarians Make.

In Schools Kill Creativity, Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.

David Weinberger presented Everything is Miscellaneous in 2007. (I saw him at NECC/ISTE.)  He skewers the DDC, praises tagging, and urges us to embrace complexity and “the newly miscellanized world.”

Lawrence Lessig: How Creativity is Being Strangled by the Law, was the first video that gave me permission to question the wisdom of our traditionally tight interpretation of copyright, forcing me to rethink my role as a gatekeeper, and better appreciate  the value of user-generated culture.

Seth Godin on The Tribes We Lead inspired a lot of my actions over the past year within the profession and back at school. You just need a few people who will look at the rules, realize the make no sense, connect and lead. Movements are just waiting for people to connect and lead them and make change.

Recently, I heard Mike Mike Eisenberg provocatively question some of our sacred cows, including collaboration, flexible schedules, collection building, books, and reading and writing. Mike asks directly, What are we doing to ensure that our learners are effective users and producers of ideas and information?

I searched for Marco Torres’ BLC 06 keynote in which he inspired us to encourage learners to express themselves creatively and personally in a variety of channels.  I don’t think it was archived.

Could it be that our TL visionaries are sharing their vision in books and articles rather than video?  Are our visions more quietly hiding out on Slideshare?

In any case, I know I am missing some real treasures.  So, please help!  What are your picks for most influential video viewing for the teacher librarian?  Are any of them by teacher librarians?

Please add your picks to this form and I will post a hit on the Seven (or so) Keynote MLS.

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. Judy Gressel says

    I think teacher librarians are in fact “quietly hanging out” on Slideshare or Prezi because of the ease of use; making video requires time that most of us don’t have. That said, perhaps we should crowdsource our work with short pieces mashed up to create an inspirational video showcasing best practices for teaching and learning in libraries.

  2. Could we do a TEDx style event during ISTE in Philly with the SIG-MS, and then at AASL in October? The video doesn’t need to be fancy, we just need to have the messages.

  3. I would add this TED talk from Diana Laufenberger (ignore the comment about libraries at the beginning!):
    She talks, amongst other things about learning and the value of school in an information-saturated world. I particularly agree with her philosophy of allowing students create for themselves, and, sometimes, to fail as a means of learning.

    Mike Eisenberg’s talk didn’t load for me. Can you post a link? Thanks.

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