Library as a TEDx Platform

The following is a guest post by Petar Lukačić and Maja Krulić Gačan from Public library “Fran Galović”, Koprivnica, Croatia.

Have you ever heard of an idea, or had one yourself, that you wanted the world to know?

TEDx event, what is it about?

If you have an idea, or would like to learn something new, then you should check out TED website. TED is a non-profit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today it covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages.

It might remind you of a public library since all the topics discussed at TED conferences can be found in a library’s books. But it takes a while to read a book, doesn’t it? So, why not organize a TED talk in a library?Due to the overwhelming interest in TED, 6 years ago TED organizers launched a subroutine called TEDx (in which x means independently organized event). The TEDx program is designed to help communities, organizations and individuals spark conversation and connection through local TED-like experiences.

The first TEDxLibrary conference was held at Westport Library in the USA in 2011, after that most of the TEDxLibrary conferences were held just in North America, and only two in Europe – in Turgenev Library (Moscow, Russia) and Koprivnica Library (Koprivnica, Croatia). The American Library Association has recognized this initiative and the former president of the Association, Barbara Stripling, has given her support to the initiative. The American Library Association also started organizing webinars for all interested in starting a TEDx in their library.

TEDx goes Koprivnica


In May 2013, librarians Maja Krulić Gačan and Petar Lukačić at Public library “Fran Galović” in Koprivnica applied for a license and started to organize TEDxKoprivnicaLibrary. So far TEDxKoprivnicaLibrary has been held 6 times, (as a test to see if people would be interested in TEDx, the first event screened only recordings from the TED website). The other five events were full conferences— a combination of talks and recordings from the TED website. After two years, TEDxKoprivnicaLibrary is recognized as a “must attend” event, and, as you can see in the pictures in the Photo Gallery, the library is starting to become too small. For the seventh event, we will have to issue tickets to attend since it is not an option to organize it in a different place— because then it wouldn’t be a TEDxLibrary event!

What were our talks about to name just few:

  • Vlatko Štampar – How he became an stand-up comedian / architect
  • Tinka Kalajžić – Involvement in refugee crisis
  • Ivana Bašić – Bibliotherapy
  • Mario Grobenski – Photography work
  • Miljenko Flajs – Importance of solitude
  • Korado Korlević – Youth education

At the beginning our events were mostly organized with library funds, but the last two have been supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, Koprivnica-Križevci Tourist office and Podravka.

Why should you organize a TEDxLibrary event in your library?

It is important that librarians start organizing TEDx conferences because it is a great way to actively participate in the life and development of the local community. Conference participants are exposed to topics that encourage contemplation and inclusion of newly acquired knowledge into their own lives. Creative people, people who have good ideas, people who have no place in the community where they can share these ideas, can recognize the library as a place where that is possible. TED is a brand that attracts attention. It has a good reputation all around the world and can and will attract the attention of your patrons.

Nuts and bolts of TED & TEDx

To organize a TEDx event it is necessary to seek a license through a simple online form.  TED provides general guidelines and rules for the TEDx events, but individual TEDx conferences, including TEDxKoprivnicaLibrary, are independently organized. If the event takes less than half a day, there is an obligation to present two TEDTalks from the TED website and if it lasts longer than that, then 25% of the  event has to consist of TEDTalks. TEDx is organized by volunteers from the local community and it should be noted that TED conference programs shouldn’t have any commercial, religious or political propaganda or pseudoscience. The aim of these events is to initiate conversations and fellowship between attendees. Speakers at TED and TEDx do not receive any payment, their participation is voluntary, which is great because often libraries have minimal budgets for events.

What is TED and TEDx: 70 seconds video

So, what are you waiting for? Find some volunteers and librarians that are interested in spreading ideas and “get on with the show!



Petar Lukačić graduated in Information Sciences/Library Science, History and Pedagogy at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb in 2009. Since 2009, he has been employed as a Head of Adult Department in the Public Library “Fran Galović” in Koprivnica, Croatia. Petar’s main area of interest is working with adult patrons, e-books and work on social networks and their application in the library. He actively participates in creating programs for adults in the library and is one of the organizers of TEDxKoprivnicaLibrary— the first TEDxLibrary event in the European Union.

Maja Krulić Gačan graduated in Information Sciences/Library Science and Croatian Language and Literature at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb in 2011. She graduated with a theme, “Digitization of newspapers with an example of digitization projects of Public Library ‘Fran Galovic’ in Koprivnica.” Since September 2012, she has worked as an information specialist in the Adult Department at the Public Library “Fran Galovic” in Koprivnica. Her main interests are digitization of cultural heritage, communication, and cultures of reading in digital environments.

5 thoughts on “Library as a TEDx Platform

  1. That first US TEDx in Westport, CT was designed and managed by teens. They played to a full audience of family, friends, and community and helped introduce the TED concept at its early stages. The each discuses great ideas that engendered community among their peers. The idea was initiated by our library cafe manager. Contact me for further information.

  2. […] Global Library as a TEDx Platform21 IFLA. The first TEDxLibrary conference was held at Westport Library in the USA in 2011, after that most of the TEDxLibrary conferences were held just in North America, and only two in Europe in Turgenev Library22 (Moscow, Russia) and Koprivnica Library23 (Koprivnica, Croatia). […]

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