A Night of Curious Ideas at White Mountain Library



From Michelle Maser, Library & Branches Manager
White Mountain Library

Chuck Dittman speaking on knife making at “A Night of Curious Ideas.”

Circulation librarian Susan Allred used her love of TED Talks and some of her recent reads as the inspiration for her program “A Night of Curious Ideas” at White Mountain Library, part of the Sweetwater County Library System.

“I thought it would be great if we could do something similar to TED Talks in our community – something that was geared more to our small community,” Susan said. “I had been listening to Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why. Simon believes that if you are passionate about why you do something, you’ll have far better results. I had also been reading Amanda Palmer’s book The Art of Asking. Amanda is a performance artist who bucked the system when she asked her fans how they wanted to pay for her music. I melded these two ideas together and came up with ‘A Night of Curious Ideas.’”

Susan’s program asked community members to share their passion, product, or service in a fun and easy way. She recruited nine speakers to talk at her April 18 event. All of them spoke between five and 12 minutes on a topic of their choosing. The speakers and topics were:

  • Aaron Volner, the inspiration to write a book
  • Lori Longfellow, Inside Connection Pregnancy Resource Center
  • Denise Webster, new owner of Cole Train coffee shop
  • Molly Jensen, “MOPS” – Mothers of Preschoolers
  • Chuck Dittman, knife making
  • CarolAnn Larson, Sweetwater County Library Foundation
  • Phil Etier, Toastmasters
  • Kyla Magrath and Jenny Melvin, teen suicide prevention
  • Steven Davis, music

Susan said she found speakers by asking people she knew to come and speak. “Friends and co-workers that I knew who had talent to share, or were passionate about something that would benefit our community. Almost everyone I asked was more than willing to speak. The idea that they could speak about what they love, or a service they offered was very appealing. Especially because it was free advertising for them. My hope was that over time, and word of mouth, the community would start to understand this program, and people would call and ask if they could speak. This is happening slowly. I already have three people that are anxious to speak at the next program who reached out to me.”

This is the third time White Mountain Library has offered this type of a program. Susan is planning to host “A Night of Curious Ideas” twice a year – once in the fall and once in the spring. For more information contact Susan Allred or Michelle Maser at 307 362-2665.

Aaron Volner
Kyla Magrath and Jenny Melvin speaking on suicide prevention.
Susan Allred

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