Thursday, April 27, 2006

Paul Theroux was at Central Lending Library (or, Why I love working for the library)

"Tell the truth."

That's how Paul Theroux ended his hour-long talk. And prior to that, he also quipped:
"If you tell the truth and you live long enough, you will be vindicated"

"If you want to be a writer, leave home. Don't stay with your parents"

Paul Theroux could sure give a talk. I saw how the 170 strong audience lapped up his words. No fancy-schmancy powerpoint slides. He was basically a good storyteller. But I have to admit I wasn't paying much attention to what he was saying (hence I only picked up those lines). In truth, I was paying greater attention to how the audience was reacting, and how the supporting staff & librarians on duty were holding up.

This post isn't about Paul Theroux's talk. I apologise for misleading you. What I really wanted to blog was the great teamwork and support that when into making this programme happen.

First, it was made possible with the active support of partners like subTEXT and Penguin Books Singapore.

Then the other unsung heroes (or heroines, rather) were the librarians who worked behind the scenes to make this programme happen (of 'cos there were others who contributed but this post is about the colleagues in my team). Without naming names, there was ST (picture-taker/ usher), JL (videographer/ extra courteous lift attendant) and WL (programme co-host/ networker/ overall in-charged).

I wish I could take pictures and blog in details about the days and hours leading to the event -- how the librarians reacted to maximise on the given opportunity (the library visit wasn't in Theroux's initial itinerary); the ideas and last minute discussions; last minute upgrade of venue because of overwhelming response; preparations for publicity; working beyond typical hours to see the programme through... Well I can't blog in details, but you get the picture I think.

This committment to the job is not unique to just that programme only. More often than not, it's repeated across the many programmes and events held at the other public libraries. It does not matter if the events were high-profile ones like Paul Theroux's (most programmes aren't).

Tonight, someone I knew (from working on a collaborative event previously) remarked on how impressed she was on the professionalism and passion demonstrated by the librarians who provided supported for her activities across the branches involved. Her compliments was a reminder to me, of why I love working for the library (it's the people whom you work with, isn't it?)

BTW, my role in making the programme happen was negligible. Mostly I tried to stay out of my colleague's way, heh : )

I shall end this post with a badly taken shot of the audience and Paul Theroux. You just have to take my word for it that Paul is the guy with the red shirt, centre of picture. Better pictures would be posted at High Browse Online soon.
Paul Theroux 270406


1 comment:

  1. "... Mostly I tried to stay out of my colleague's way, heh : )"

    Good of you to realize that often this IS the best way to help!

    Thank you for sharing the experience.


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