Monday night was the first Listen and Connect at the Elkin Public Library. The multi-generational group viewed two Ted Talks videos then discussed their thoughts on the lessons presented.
Psychologist and writer Sherry Turkle presented “Connected, but Alone,” which focused on the way technology “is so psychologically powerful [it doesn’t] just change what we do but who we are,” where she encouraged viewers to become “more self-aware of our relationships with technology, with others, and with ourselves.”
In addition, the library also presented “The Art of Stillness” by Pico Iyer. Iyer is a travel writer who said he worked hard to get to the point where “my job and my joy could be one,” but through the business of all his travel, he has learned that “so much of our lives take place in our heads. Changing our lives starts with changing our minds.”
Iyer recommended, “Being still to sift through the slideshow of [a person’s] life,” as the best way to get the most out of an experience.
During the conversation periods, participants were able to share their own experiences as well as their thoughts. Although the same perspective did not apply to all present, the nods and expressions assured that everyone was listening and open to the points of view about which they were learning.
Caroline Beverley took pleasure in the discussion. “I think it’s fantastic,” Beverley said of the Listen and Connect program. “I really appreciate that it was comfortable enough for people to share their stories. [Librarian] Kasey [Nowalk] always does a good job creating an environment where people feel comfortable communicating.”
“I thought it was very interesting. There was a lot of listening and connecting,” said Roy Thomasson, obviously valuing the fact that he was able to meet his neighbor, Joe Thrift, in person for the first time that night.
Several of the participants were neighbors who were unaware the others would be in attendance, which may have contributed to the ease of conversation.
“I think about this stuff a lot,” revealed Thrift. “It was interesting to hear that other people do too, or not.”
“I think it’s a good program for the library to have,” declared Thomasson. “It’s good to get people out and interacting.”
The next Listen and Connect session will be at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 13 and will focus on relationships. “All kinds of relationships,” clarified Nowalk, who also pointed out that books by Iyer and Turkle were available through the Northwestern Regional Library system.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.