Just five minutes

Library to host Bull City Lightning Talks
Jan. 18, 2013 @ 06:40 PM

The Durham County Library wants to hear your ideas and thoughts on the theme “create.” If you have some thoughts on this topic, the library is offering you a chance to make a five-minute presentation for the library’s first Bull City Lightning Talks event next Saturday.

Lightning talks, sometimes used at conferences and similar events, allow numerous speakers to give short presentations on a common topic. While there are no absolute rules, some lightning talks limit the time of the event to an hour and a half. Some speakers use slide presentations and other visual aids, but they are not required.

Members of the library’s Board of Trustees first proposed the idea for the lightning talks as a way to expose residents to what is happening in Durham’s creative and tech communities, said Joanne Abel, humanities coordinator for the Durham County Library. Some trustees put the library in touch with the Durham organization Splat Space, which bills itself as “Durham’s hacker space.” The organization is a non-profit work, play and hobby space, where people with common interests, usually in technology, can meet, according to the Splat Space website. The library has been meeting with Splat Space members to develop the lightning talks event, Abel said.

Alan Dipert, president and founder of Splat Space, said library board member Crystal Dreisbach approached him about having an event at the library. Splat Space has had several lightning talks, Dipert said.

He compares the short talks to “a slightly more organized brainstorming session. They’re usually fairly high energy events because the speakers are alternated pretty quickly,” Dipert said. “Because there are so many opportunities for people to speak, they usually contain a wide, broad variety of ideas.” The structure of lightning talks also allows listeners to learn a lot in a small slot of time, he said.

Several speakers already have signed up to make presentations. Daniel Bagnell of The Scrap Exchange will give a lightning talk. The Scrap Exchange held a Smashfest last year on Black Friday, an event that allowed guests to throw discarded, breakable items against a wall as a way to protest consumerism.

After the Smashfest, Bagnell made a rock tumbler to smooth out some of rough edges of the glass left over from the event. He plans to use that device “as a focus for what we do here,” he said. He is still refining his presentation, which will be his first lightning talk.

Other presenters will include librarian and aerialist Amy Godfrey and Brianne Villano of Pantsuits and Parakeets.

Times are still open, and those wanting to discuss the topic may sign up at  bullcitylightningtalks.org or call 919-560-0268. The theme “create” is intentionally open to interpretation. “As long as you can relate [your talk] to ‘create,’ we want you to come,” Abel said. “It’s going to be fun.”


Go and Do

WHAT: Bull City Lightning Talks

WHERE: Durham County Main Library, 300 N. Roxboro St.

WHEN: Saturday, Jan. 26, from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

ADMISSION: Free and open to the public. To sign up to present a talk, visit bullcitylightningtalks.org or call 919-560-0268.