PLA Notes: Keynote by John Wood – “Dale Carnegie With a Yak”

(note: photo coming soon! Sorry to have taken so long!)

The auditorium for this year’s PLA keynote speaker was lit up like a Van Halen concert. Between the video screens, the blue and green roof lighting, and the lack of house lights, I felt like Diamond Dave was going to emerge from the curtain and start doing jump kicks on stage. Leaving Microsoft to Change the World author John Wood didn’t quite display the same level of physical acrobatics, but he commanded a groupie’s level of admiration by the time his keynote was over.

“World change starts with educated children.”

This quote, which Wood used to kick off his presentation, has been so patently obvious that we’ve all but overlooked it. What’s admirable about Wood is his effort to actually do something about it. By taking the GTD philosophy (or “GSD,” as voiced through his slightly bluer adjustment) and applying it to this sentiment, Wood has turned his organization Room to Read into one of the most efficient charities on the planet. It’s got me thinking about how much we can do to apply GTD to library work, and using the Room to Read principles to our interactions with the community. Is it possible to get things accomplished without the succumbing to the urge to hold one committee meeting after another? Can we trust our community stakeholders enough to use our resources to meet their goals on their terms? It’s a lot to think about, and really makes me wonder how we can strike up a balance between serving as a useful community partner while trusting our stakeholders with the autonomy to succeed. Thanks, John. I look forward to hearing more about your continued success.

  • rich

    you forgot to mention that john wood looked like clive owen from a mile away, which is where we were sitting.

    i’d love to see more of a gtd (i like gsd better) ethic at the library. meetings aren’t inherently bad if they’re productive, are they? :)

    the thing i keep thinking about it how he gets the parents and community involved…the sweat equity concept.

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