My brain is full or Tuesday at TOC

WOW, what a day! I can’t hope to summarize everything, but I do have a few choice phrases from some of the presentations that I can share, to help give you all a sense about what’s being talked about here.

The Tools of Change key note sessions kicked off with a video of the hilarious Jimmy Fallon rock star interpretation of the Reading Rainbow song.

Then, we heard from the man himself, the inspiring LeVar Burton. For lots of people, he is the guy from Star Trek, but for me he is the guy from Reading Rainbow, which for all your Brits who might not know, is a PBS TV show all about books. I LOVED him as a young girl and now as a publishing professional, seeing his passion for stories, I love him still.

Levar encourages all of us in the publishing industry to: “Use your imagination in the service of storytelling.” And at the end of all this technology, he concludes: “It is still and always will be about storytelling.”

And I know I’m going on and on about the same thing here but again, today has been a reinforcement of my very first impression. People here are positively evangelical about how it is NOT doom and gloom.

Tim Carmody from WIRED showed how technological disruption is not new to the storytelling business. Hollywood thought movies were dead when TV came around. With the invention of newspapers, of advertisements (even changing from cloth-based paper to wood-pulp paper) people were overwhelmed with text. It was everywhere. JUST LIKE NOW. And still, story-telling survives.

Joe Karagan is studying the prevalence of piracy (lots), effectiveness of enforcement (not so much) and how people view regulation and privacy in terms of their own use.

My favourite part, which I wish someone would explore more, is that there is a convergence of citizenship spurred on from being online. All of the protests and outcry about recent government attempts to regulate the internet had people taking to the streets and website “going black”. There really is a sense of community online, and people are prepared to take action to protect it.

The core of Joe’s message was about setting a positive agenda. What do we want as the solution to piracy? How can we balance copyright and author compensation? It’s a good question to think about. (For me, it would be that people would choose not to steal!)

Barbara Genco, from the Library Journal, made a strong case for libraries as discovery centres. Publishers need places for people to find their authors and books and her stats show that a library is a very strong place for that to happen.

That was just the first set of keynotes! I’ll write up the individual presentations this evening.

Phew! My brain is full!