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USF Library Students at TEDxTampaBay

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) touts itself as a conference for “Ideas worth spreading.”

“The annual conferences in Long Beach and Oxford bring together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes).”

This year TED will host about 50 speakers, including Bill Gates, David Byrne, Valerie Plame, and Stephen Wolfram. But the best talks are often from folks you’ve never heard of. (For example this year check out Jane McGonigal, Stewart Brand, and Ze Frank.)

In the interest of spreading the TED model around the world TED launched TEDx. A “program that enables local communities such as schools, businesses, libraries, neighborhoods or just groups of friends to organize, design and host their own independent, TED-like events.”

Arlen Bensen


This year is the first year for TEDxTampaBay and two three USF School of Library & Information Science students are involved.

Arlen Bensen is a co-host and has been instrumental in organizing, stage design, and bringing in speakers.

Arlen is currently doing his fieldwork student work at Safety Harbor Public Library and is a Graduate Assistant at USF School of Library and Information Science.

Helping with the event is David Davisson. Dave is assisting with the social media and will be tweeting, blogging, and streaming information to the Facebook fan page throughout the day.

Nancy Petty will also be on hand to help speakers monitor their speaking time and act as support staff for the event.

TEDxTampaBay is this Friday, February 12. Be sure to check out the event. Speakers this year include Jimmy Wales (Jimmy’s talk was canceled due to inclement weather), founder of Wikipedia, and James Tokley, first official Poet Laureate of the city of Tampa.

Click here for a slideshow from the event. Click here to see the talks on youtube.


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