The “Dutch guys” from the Delft Public Library in the Netherlands, a.k.a. the guys from the Shanachie Tour, returned to CIL with another great program. The initial interview on their first tour in 2006 was with Paul Holdengraber, Director of Public Programs at the New York Public Library (NYPL), and at CIL 2009, Paul and Erik Boekesteijn met again for the Tuesday keynote session, which thanks to fellow Shanachie tourer Jaap van de Geer was streamed live on the Internet.
Paul’s mission is to make the famous lions in front of the NYPL roar. He also wonders how much he library weighs because he wants to infuse it with so much energy that it levitates! Listening to him in person, it wasn’t too hard to imagine that if anybody can do that, Paul will. The Director of NYPL asked Paul to “oxygenate the library”, and he is well along on the job! He left an indyllic life in Santa Monica, CA and has become fascinated with the “friction of New York”.
Paul covered so much ground in this interview; how do you blog it? All I can do here is to give you a sampling of quotes. See Jane Dysart’s following post for a link to a video of the entire interview (thanks, Jaap!).
- “An editor is a mouse training to become a rat.”
- “We have two ears and one mouth, so listening is more important than speaking.”
- “The important thing in anything is to begin.”
- “I never ask for permission, only for forgiveness.”
- “We have to change things and make this library irresistable.”
- “I feel like I’m being Twittered, and it’s a new source of pleasure.”
- “I’m very interested in the afterlife of a conversation. What happens to all of this? How does it continue to have a life. Blogging is a marvelous use of continuing conversations. I deeply believe that the experience of being in a room together.”
- “We need humor more than ever in these days. I wake up energized and ready to confront the day. I am supposed to symbolically take those 52 million books off the shelf and deeply desire them. I believe that libraries are places of desire.”
- “All of us deeply believe in what we do and in communicating our experiences. I cannot imagine a world without books. Will we someday see Kindles laying around everywhere?”
- “I am fascinated by how libraries might be able to make us focus in an age of utter distraction, where we use the Web in a way that makes us focus on new discoveries.”
- “In these days, the library is a place of opportunity. It is also a haven. I am in the job of hospitality, making people feel at home. We have Facebooks, but I’m interested in the face to face encounter.”
- “We have home pages, I am interested in our home.”
- “Libraries have the one gift I would love to have–the gift of ubiquity.”
Columnist, Information Today and CIL 2009 Blog Coordinator