Four talks in eight days, four cities in three countries. (Tihany, Hungary; Barcelona, Spain; Camden, ME; Manchester, NH). I’ve come to two conclusions. One, I need to travel less. Two, I really love librarians.
I’ve had two chances recently to speak about homophily, xenophilia, bridge figures and disconnection to audiences of librarians, and the talks have been extremely good fun. The problems associated with creating serendipity are ones librarians are often well acquainted with. I finished the talk (very well reported at the NELA conference blog) and immediately fielded questions about how librarians could help patrons stumble onto serendipitious information about Nigeria or Niue. (A couple of ideas that came up: Leverage immigrant populations in your communities and ask people to suggest the best books to help neighbors understand their communities and home countries. Pick stories being featured in local or national newspapers and put up collections of resources associated with the countries or issues covered.)
I keep telling myself that I need to speak less and write more. Perhaps the answer is that I need to speak more to audiences that give me excellent and critical feedback, as I got yesterday. Good fun. Thanks to everyone at the New England Library Association for inviting me and for such a fun event.